Laurice Guillen: Now is the time

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Laurice Guillen does a first — wearing the director’s hat for a TV series — via the new GMA 7 primetime soap Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas, which is set to replace the exiting top-rater Mundo Mo’y Akin starting tomorrow, Sept. 9.

In an interview with The STAR on the sidelines of the show’s recent press launch, the award-winning director-actress said that in her debut teleserye, viewers can expect the same directorial approach and quality of work she employed in her most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films.

“You know, when I work on it, ginagawa ko lang ang klase ng show that I also want to watch. I need to enjoy it as well,” said direk Laurice, who as a film director has more than two dozens of titles to her credit.

Because her reputation precedes her, she was asked on what she thinks of audiences who already have great expectations from her first series. “It’s okay as I’ve always had that relationship with the audience, even in my films,” she said, adding, “Alam na nila kung ano ang product dahil may napanood na sila na nagawa ko na nag-enjoy sila… That’s my approach here, beauty, great takes, yung glamorous yet relevant. Kasi yun nga, it’s a brand that they expect to see all the more on TV. On film, you have a subject matter that is not really commercial, but on TV, no.”

Direk Laurice is particularly proud of the cast assembled for this series, from the industry veterans to some of the network’s brightest young things like Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino.

 â€œYung mga pelikula ko na talagang pinanood ng masa like Kapag Langit ang Humatol (1990), Una Kang Naging Akin (1991), Kung Mahawi Man Ang Lupa (1984) — (not to mention the 2000 blockbuster Tanging Yaman, we volunteered) — ganyan ang klase, yung mga drama talaga, which has young and senior (cast) na magagaling,” she said.

The series also reunites Laurice with her former stars such as Gloria Romero, who copped every possible Best Actress award for Tanging Yaman; Gary Estrada whose first director in film was Laurice in Apoy sa Puso when he was 17; Cesar Montano, with whom Laurice worked in 1989’s Ang Bukas Ay Akin, which gave Cesar his first Best Supporting Actor recognition; and Lovi, whom she directed in a Magpakailanman episode. Other cast members are Liza Lorena, Charee Pineda, Ina Feleo, Freddie Webb, Solenn Heussaff and many more.

“I’m so happy that this cast was given to me. This is the best cast possible in terms of talent and professionalism,” she said.

Talking further about the younger cast, she said of Lovi, who plays the female lead: “Lovi is hard-working. When (the media) asked me to compare her with the actresses I’ve worked with like Hilda Koronel, Sharon Cuneta, Dawn Zulueta, Gretchen Barretto, etc., Lovi is unique and different in her own way.... She’s tahimik but if you ask something from her, you just tell her and she will deliver.”

Of Rocco, who plays one of the love interests (along with Cesar) of Lovi, she said, “He’s very open with his acting, very inventive, he gives and takes. Magaling!”

Direk Laurice had a lot to say in the casting. “They suggested names because I asked if they could give me names since I may know something about the actor that they don’t. For example, baka alam ko na maging problema yung (actor) kasi ayoko ng artista na magkakaproblema ako because that’s a teleserye and you’re together for the longest time.”

Another interesting tidbit about direk Laurice’s style: She doesn’t want to handle real-life sweethearts on the set, explaining that couple conflicts always affect the work of even the most professional of actors. (Is that why very much rumored couple Lovi and Rocco are denying they’re an item?)

Nevertheless, when asked what ultimately made her accept a TV series after her reluctance for many, many years, she admitted that the “offer was good, plus more.” The network, for one, accommodated certain requests pertaining to shooting schedules given her aversion to taping long hours or till the wee hours of the morning. She’s also very happy with the story, with the writers and creative team, and the network support.

Apart from that are her more personal reasons for saying yes. “I’m already a senior but I’m not saying I’m old (laughs). You know, you reach that time in your life when you don’t have much time to say, ‘Sometime, I’ll do this.’ That sometime is now. For a long time, I avoided it but I enjoy it (watching TV series). I watch Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, mga ganun na sinusubaybayan ko talaga.

“And I thought, now is the time to do it when I’m still strong enough to do it. Kailan mo pa gagawin ang gusto mong gawin, na parang you don’t want to risk kasi ang ganda na ng takbo ng career mo. But when will you take a risk? You will run out of time.

“Plus, I’m a widow now,” added Laurice, who still sorely misses her husband, the late Johnny Delgado that “pag naiisip ko siya, naiiyak na lang ako… (So I treat my work as) my husband now.”

After this soap opera, she’s open to doing more TV series — possibly an epic or a historical drama.










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