Jen has mixed emotions after landing ‘Descendants’ role

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    SHARON Cuneta sports a short hairdo that truly becomes her at the second press con of “Iconic”, her concert with Regine Velasquez, held last Thursday at Novotel. It’s obvious she has lost some more weight and she says she’s not really feeling well but she still proceeded with her shows in the US. Some bashers chided her because of this, saying it’s an excuse and she’s preparing those who’d watch “Iconic” in case she won’t be performing as well as Regine during the show that’s slated on October 18 and 19. The haters even added she always says she gets sick each time she has a forthcoming concert.

    “But it’s true,” she agrees. “May history talaga akong nagkakasakit tuwing magko-concert ako. Siguro dahil sa combination of stress, pagod sa rehearsals at bumababa kasi ang immune system ko. Matapang lang talaga kaya kahit may lagnat ako, tinutuloy ko ang concert ko. But to suggest na I’m using it as an excuse kung sasapawan ako ni Regine, I think that’s very mean, very unfair. Ano ‘yun, sine-set up ko? Wala naman sigurong taong gustong magkasakit siya, right?”

    She says her show with Regine is not a contest. “I’ve always said naman that Regine is the better singer. We have two different styles, but we’re coming together in this show for different reasons and they are all valid. We should not be compared kasi it’s like comparing apples and oranges. To suggest bad things is so disrespectful sa itinagal-tagal ko dito sa industry. Hindi naman ako starlet lang na who came from nowhere at wala pang narating.

    It’s like putting a dark cloud on something full of sunshine and rainbows. I have so much respect and admiration for Regine and huwag naman sana nilang sirain ang unang pagsasama naming ito. Our show is a collaboration of two different voices, two different personalities and I hope they will respect that.”

    Sharon is asked about her eldest daughter KC who’s unattached again after breaking up with her French boyfriend. “I’m so proud of her kasi KC knows how to work, that we don’t really need a man para mabuhay happily. She listens to my advice at nakakapag-ipon siya, nai-invest niya nang tama ang earnings niya. I pray for her happiness whether she’s alone or with someone, pero sana, mabigyan na rin niya ako ng apo.”

    ***

    Alden Richards has two leading ladies in “The Gift”. One is Mikee Quintos as Amor, his vendor friend in the market who has secret romantic feelings for him. Then there’s Thia Thomalia as Faith, the dazzlingly beautiful daughter of a rich textile owner with whom he harbors a crush and who he now avoids because of his blindnesss. Thia finds a new suitor in Martin del Rosario as Jared, the corrupt young politician that Alden doesn’t know is his half brother as they have the same mom, Jean Garcia as Nadia.

    The show’s regular viewers are now divided as to who should eventually get Alden’s heart as Sep. But the show’s director, L.A. Madridejos, says it will all eventually depend on the viewers themselves.

    “Ganyan ang nangyari noon sa ‘My Special Tatay’,” he says. “Ken Chan has two leading ladies also, Arra San Agustin and Rita Daniela. Eventually, mas pinaboran ng viewers are tambalan nina Ken and Rita, so doon napunta ang kuwento sa kanila. Sa ‘The Gift’, mahaba pa ang itatakbo ng kuwento kaya hindi pa natin alam where it will be going.”

    He’s very pleased, though, that the show is always getting empowering feedback from the audience. “We’re really so glad sa very positive response ng viewers. Trending kami every night sa social media. The feedback on Alden’s acting is truly encouraging. Gustong-gusto nila na mata pa lang daw ni Alden, umaarte na. They easily get carried away by his acting, lalo sa scenes after mabulag na siya. Iyak daw sila nang iyak.”

    Viewers say they like the positive messages the show impart about not losing hope and having stronger faith.

    ***

    Epy Quizon is the second son of the late Comedy King Dolphy with former actress Pamela Ponti to join showbiz as an actor. The first is his more famous elder brother, Eric, who is now also an established director. Through the years, Epy has made many films where he managed to shine, like the comedy “Nasaan si Francis” where he played the title role, “Markova, Comfort Gay” where he won a best supporting actor award as the young Markova, and “Lastikman” where he played villain to Vic Sotto.

    But Epi is best remembered for playing the role of the Sublime Paralytic, Apolinario Mabini, in “Heneral Luna” and “Heneral Goyo”. He now gets to play a lead romantic role in “The Art of Ligaw,” produced by CoreMinds of Davao and written and directed by Jourdan Sebastian.

    He plays Jake Esguerra, who stars in his own webseries called “The Jake Chronicles”, which shows his mastery of the art of “landian” or seduction where his character is an expert practitioner through the years.

    But as the movie starts, Jake is shown to be having a mid-life crisis and feeling the emptiness of his life. He then decides to have a long-term and meaningful relationship by practising the Art of Ligaw, which seems out of place now for young people for whom it is so easy to get into a relatrionship through dating sites on the internet where having a date is readily availabe with just one swipe of your finger. This is where he meets Carisse, a call center agent played by singer KZ Tandingan in her first acting role. He makes advances to her but she is just repulsed by his over confidence.

    How would he rate KZ Tandingan’s acting considering she’s better known as a singer?

    “She was really a big surprise for all of us,” he says. “She reminds us of Ate Guy, maniwala kayo’t hindi. Kasi pareho silang petite, but both great singers, nagsimula sa pagkanta, and they both have expressive eyes. Si KZ, hindi mo iisiping first time niya lang at wala siyang previous experience sa pag-arte kasi nakuha niya agad ang nuances ng role niya. Pinaiiyak siya ni Direk, pero kailangan, sa isang mata lang, nakuha niya agad!”

    ***

    Jennylyn Mercado is now definitely the leading lady of DIngdong Dantes in “Descendants of the Sun”. It was already reported before that she’ll be Dong’s partner but they denied it repeatedly since Jen still had an existing show with Gabby Concepcion, but now that the series has ended, they’re free to announce what we’ve known all along, that she will play the role of Dr. Kang or Beauty in the original Korean series, but now renamed as Dr. Maxine de la Cruz. Dingdong will play Big Boss, who’s now renamed as Captain Lucas Manalo.

    Dingdong and the other male stars of the show have previously taken military training with the Armed Forces to prepare for their respective roles in the series. Now, it’s the turn of Jennylyn to prepare for his role as a doctor, a cardio-thoracic specialist, to be exact, with the AFP Health Service Command.

    “This is a big blessing for me,” says Jen. “I felt overwhelmed with gratitude when I learned ako talaga ang napili nila. I felt pressured also kasi I know how big a flagship project this is for GMA. So I promise I will do everything and give my 100 percent best to give justice to the role and nang hindi naman ako mapahiya sa mga nagtiwala sa akin. I promise not to let them down. Pinag-aralan ko talagang mabuti ang character ni Dr. Kang at ayokong malayo sa kanya. She is a skilled sugreon who can be headstrong and principled and always willing to do everything in her power for the sake of her patients, even if she’s putting herself at risk. I’m also excited to work with Dong. Right after I won sa first ‘Starstruck’ 15 years ago, where he was the host, napasama agad ako sa very first and original ‘Encantadia’ series, but hindi kami magkapareha. Parang support lang ako. Ngayon lang talaga kami magkakasama na kami ang magkatambal so it’s really exciting for me to finally get to work with him like this.”