Dingdong Dantes: It’s not our decision on what timeslot to put our show Cain at Abel; it’s management’s decision. All we were told was to do our best na buhayin ang aming characters.
Photos by Ver Paulino
Not here to compete
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2018 - 12:00am

Sorry, folks, this is not a “sexy talk” so Conversations didn’t task Dingdong Dantes and Dennis Trillo to answer such ticklish questions about how they define sexy, when they feel sexy and how they lost their innocence and to whom. They are not the “kiss-and-tell” types, although it’s public knowledge that they are great lovers of women.

The topic on hand is their new action-adventure series on GMA, Cain at Abel, which is set to premiere tomorrow (Nov. 19) night after 24 Oras, pitted against the Coco Martin starrer FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (FPJAP) which started in 2015 and has been thrice extended to next year.

Co-directed by Don Michael Perez and Mark Reyes (with Probinsyano co-director Toto Natividad listed as co-director), Cain at Abel is inspired by the Biblical story about a searing sibling rivalry, with Cain driven by jealously into killing Abel whom he suspected of being favored by God. It’s not the first rehash of the story. In 1957, National Artist Gerry de Leon directed Kamay ni Kain for Premiere Productions with Fernando Poe Jr. and Zaldy Zshornack in the titular roles. In 1982, Lino Brocka helmed another Cain at Abel movie starring Christopher de Leon and Phillip Salvador.

Dennis Trillo: We don’t allow ourselves to be pressured. Alam naman namin na ang katapat (Ang Probinsyano) ay tatlong taon na at talagang matibay ang foundation. Let’s wait and see what will happen.

The Dingdong-Dennis tandem is the 11th Kapuso show to “challenge” Probinsyano. The nine others were (at random) Marimar (with Megan Young), Little Nanay (Kris Bernal), Mulawin vs. Ravena, Poor Señorita (Regine Velasquez), Alyas Robin Hood (Dingdong), Encantadia, Super Ma’am (Marian Rivera), Sherlock Jr. (Ruru Madrid), The Cure and Victor Magtanggol (with Alden Richards, which ended last Friday).

Cain at Abel’s powerhouse cast includes Eddie Gutierrez, Chanda Romero, Dina Bonnevie, Ronnie Henares, Tommy Abuel, Bing Pimentel, Renz Fernandez, Carlo Gonzales, Boy 2 Quizon, Yasmien Kurdi, Diana Zubiri and Gio Alvarez. The series is Dingdong and Dennis’s fourth project together, following Twin Hearts (2003), Etheria (2005) and Endless Love (2010).

This latest re-creation of the Biblical story is about brothers Daniel and Miguel/Elias who were separated when they were small, with Daniel (Dingdong) raised by the father in the city and Miguel (renamed Elias) brought to a fishing village by the mother. The plot revolves around how fate makes the brothers cross paths.

Who plays Cain (the “bad” brother) and who plays Abel (the “good” brother)?

Dingdong: That’s what the viewers should watch for…when the brothers meet again nang lumaki na sila. Magpapalit sila ng landas and that’s when you will have an idea who is bad and who is good.

Dennis: Actually, wala talagang taong ubod ng sama. However bad a person is, mayroon ding kabutihan sa kanyang puso kahit papaano.

So your show is scheduled against Probinsyano…

Dingdong: It was not our decision how to schedule the airing of our show; it was management’s decision. Regardless kung saan kami ilagay, all we were told was to do our best, pagbutihing buhayin ang aming mga character. We don’t think of competing with anybody.

Dennis: We don’t allow ourselves to be pressured by the competition. Alam naman namin na ang katapat namin ay tatlong taon na at talagang may matibay na foundation. What we can say is that we are offering something new. Ngayong katapat namin ‘yung kabila, let’s wait and see what will happen.

Dingdong and wife Marian Rivera with daughter Zia who is turning four years old on Nov. 23: Family is top priority over politics.

What training/preparation did you do that you didn’t do for your previous shows (Alyas Robin Hood, etc.)?

Dingdong (Trying to be secretive, smiling widely): Well, konting stretching here, stretching there. Habul-habol at buhat-buhat kay Zia (his daughter with wife Marian Rivera) who is now heavier…30 pounds na.

Dennis: I trained because as a snatcher, I do a lot of running…takbo habang hinahabol ng mga pulis, hahaha!!!

(To Dennis) I heard that in one scene, you agreed to jump into the murky Pasig River (from Jones Bridge) while being chased by the cops. How was it?

Dennis: I didn’t want a “double.” At first, parang nakakakaba. But then, I was assured that lahat ng stunts na ginawa namin ay siniguro ang safety.

(Still to Dennis) You are noted for being daring. You did macho dancing for a TV drama and you kissed another actor (Tom Rodriguez) in My Husband’s Lover…

Dennis: Kung ano ang hinihingi ng role ginagawa ko…for art’s sake, hehehe!!!

(To Dingdong): Can you be as daring as Dennis?

Dingdong: Hmmm, why not?

(Still to Dingdong) Given a choice, sinong actor ang gusto mong kahalikan?

Dingdong: (Just blushed, no answer)

Dennis with 11-year-old son Calix (with ex-girlfriend Carlene Aguilar): No plan yet of having another child. (Dennis’ current girlfriend is Jennylyn Mercado)

Do you watch shows on the rival network?

Dingdong: Of course, I do. When you are browsing and you come upon an interesting show, kahit sa anong channel, you can’t help but watch it. Maliit ang industriya natin so you also want to see what the others are doing, not exactly to criticize and compare the shows but to appreciate each other’s effort.

Dennis: It’s important to monitor so you will know what’s happening on the other side of the world.

On a lighter note, how different are your fathering style? (Dennis’ son Calix with former girlfriend Carlene Aguilar is 11 years old.)

Dennis: Since lalaki ang anak ko, mas okey pabayaan ng konti, bigyan ng freedom kasi ‘yon ang magpapatibay ng kanyang character.

(To Dingdong) I have a feeling that your next child is a boy. Marian is giving birth in March next year, right?

Dingdong (not commenting on the gender of the baby or on the date of Marian’s delivery): Taking care of a boy will be different from taking care of a girl. But for sure, we won’t forget to secure the baby with the seat belt while in the car. (He did say that Marian’s date with the stork is “lampas ng March.”)

(To Dingdong) People were praising you for putting family over politics (when he said no to running for senator in the 2019 mid-terms, making Marian shed happy tears).

Dingdong: I posted in my social media account the reason why…May darating na baby and the baby is priority over anything else.

(To Dennis) How soon do you plan to have another baby?

Dennis (whose current girlfriend is Jennylyn Mercado): No such plan. Huwag na muna.

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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