Elijah Alejo takes a breather from Prima Donnas, joins I Can See You

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Elijah Alejo takes a breather from Prima Donnas, joins I Can See You
Elijah with co-stars Paul Salas, Barbie Forteza, Christopher de Leon and Ella Cristofani on the set of the crime-thriller offering.
STAR / File

Elijah Alejo plays the quirky sister of Marius Penuliar (played by Paul Salas) on GMA 7’s I Can See You: The Lookout. Her Christine Penuliar role is a breather from the teen star’s Brianna, essentially a kontrabida (but became bida at some point of the story) in Prima Donnas. When she got wind of the drama series assignment, Elijah realized that she had limited time to let go of Brianna and to become Christine.

“I learned about it a month before (the shoot),” said Elijah in a recent media call to drumbeat the latest I Can See You offering, which airs until tomorrow night, after First Yaya. “I focused on how I would shift from my character Brianna na napaka-sama (a very bad character) to Christine na napakabait (a very kind one). Both are poles apart, they are total opposites. I worked on (the details of my character like) Christine’s manner of speaking. I totally got Brianna out of my system (while doing this project).”

The transition from Brianna to Christine was an acting challenge for Elijah. “Masyado pong nakakapit sa akin si Brianna (I portrayed the Prima Donnas character for months),” said the Kapuso young star. “One month (to prepare for a new role) was not enough.” The then Afternoon Prime series, Prima Donnas, aired in 2019 and was interrupted in March the following year due to the pandemic. The lock-in taping began in September and the show resumed airing in November. The series had its finale last February and season two is coming soon. “I will revisit and return to my character once the (taping for) book two (is set to begin),” said Elijah of Brianna. Again, while taking a respite from portraying her Prima Donnas character, Elijah will keep her hands full by taking on new roles such as Christine of I Can See You: The Lookout.

Asked about her experience working with actors like Christopher de Leon, Adrian Alandy, Benjie Paras, Barbie Forteza, Paul Salas, Marina Benipayo and Arthur Solinap, Elijah had this to say: “I was really nervous, especially during the first day of taping. Tita Marina knows about it.” With the help of the actress, the teen star was finally able to say “hi” to everybody and feel comfortable with them.

“Thankfully, ang babait po nilang lahat (they were all kind),” recalled Elijah. “They were very professional on-cam at lahat ay magkakaibigan lang (we were friends) off-cam.” The young star added that she never felt that she’s the youngest or the newbie of the group in the presence of these established actors. She was at home on set of I Can See You: The Lookout, which according to director Jules Katanyag, was “written within the home invasion genre.” The drama series episode also explores how gadgets intrude on a person’s life and privacy. The motifs of home invasion and technology-security issues are being merged, he added. Having reliable actors as collaborators is always a blessing to directors like Jules, especially now that film processes are done on TV, he added. His actors are on point and intense.

Given today’s plight, the I Can See You: The Lookout team used technologies and social media apps such as Facebook and Zoom to initially meet the stars and give them briefings.

Also in the cast are Luis Hontiveros, Ella Cristofani and Jana Trias.

“What I noticed during the rehearsals was talagang kinilala nila yung characters nila (they really studied their characters well),” said Elijah of lessons gained from being surrounded by showbiz veterans (either through her conversations with them or by mere observations on how they worked), “lahat sila ay nag-research sa mga characters nila (All of them did research on their characters), kinilala nila maigi, nakapag-(bigay) sila ng input sa mga gagawin po ng mga character nila at hindi (With that, they were able to give inputs on what their characters would do and would not do). Dahil dun po, mas na-inspire po ako na before ako mag-shoot (lalo) kong pag-aaralan yung mga gagawin ko pong characters (They have inspired me to study well my future characters and come more prepared on the set).”

(For viewers abroad, they can also watch the series via GMA Pinoy TV. For the program guide, visit www.gmapinoytv.com.)


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