Francine explores acting outside of a loveteam

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star
Francine explores acting outside of a loveteam
Francine gets three leading men in Bola Bola — KD Estrada, Akira Morishita and Ashton Salvador.
STAR / File

Francine Diaz is set to make the audience laugh, cry and fall in love with her when iWantTFC begins streaming today, March 26, its latest Kapamilya original digital series titled Bola Bola, produced by Dreamscape Entertainment, iWantTFC and KreativDen. Topbilling with Francine are KD Estrada, Ashton Salvador and BGYO member Akira Morishita as her leading men.

The six-episode series is adapted from the best-selling romance novel by Anna Geronga. Basing on the trailer, Bola Bola tells the story of Thea (Francine), a chubby high school student whose greatest love is food. Ever since she was a child, Thea has been shamed by strangers due to her weight. The harsh comments affect her emotionally and yet she always tries to put up a brave face.

Thea even musters the courage to overcome her insecurities by asking her puppy love Lucas (Akira) to be her date for the ball. In hopes of getting Lucas to like her, she cooks the most delicious meals for him. Unfortunately, Lucas tells her that he doesn’t date “big” girls.

Thus begins Thea’s determination to lose weight with the help of her best friend Julian (KD), who secretly has a crush on her.

While working out in the gym, Thea meets fitness trainer Josh (Ashton) who also used to be overweight. They become close as they share the same struggles and Josh begins to fall for Thea.

Thea succeeds in achieving a slimmer physique and, later on, finds herself being swooned over by Lucas, Julian and Josh.

The iWantTFC original series Bola Bola marks the fi rst time for Francine Diaz to topbill a show sans her perennial onscreen partner. The six-episode series starts streaming today, March 26.

Bola Bola also marks a first for Francine to topbill a series, sans her perennial screen partner Kyle Echarri and the other Gold Squad members Seth Fedelin and Andrea Brillantes.

During the virtual media conference, held last March 20, Francine was visibly delighted over the positive remarks on her onscreen chemistry with KD, Ashton and Akira.

Having had the opportunity to work on a project outside of a loveteam has allowed Francine to grow as an actress.

“Honestly, I really want to explore more (in terms of acting),” began Francine. “Parang nakakatakot kasi, hindi naman sa tao o sa isang bagay, nakakatakot makulong without having the chance to grow, it’s like being confined in a box and your space is so limited.

“That’s why, I want to explore para siguro adventure na rin as an actress.”

Her preparation for her character Thea, Francine said, was very different from what she did in Kadenang Ginto (KG) where she also portrayed as a high school student.

“I studied the way Cassie (her character in KG) speaks because she’s an intelligent student and since it was my first time to be part of the main cast, I was so nervous. That’s why all the mistakes that I made with my first (lead) character, I tried to correct here as Thea.”

Francine shared that she made it a point to deliver a distinct acting style as Thea. “Ginawan ko s’ya kung paano sya maglakad, kung paano s’ya kumilos kapag kasama n’ya ang pamilya n’ya and how Thea would act or speak when Lucas is around. Plus, ano ba ‘yung mga binibitawan n’yang words when talking to her crush because it will be easy for me to do ad-libs after I studied those details. The interaction should flow smoothly.”

Prior to shooting, Francine and the rest of the cast had online script reading sessions to get to know their respective characters more and to be comfortable with their dialogues.

Asked to comment on her three leading men, Francine had nothing but good words about them, especially on Ashton who was absent in the media con because he’s currently inside the Pinoy Big Brother house as one of the teen housemates. For those not familiar, Ashton is Daniel Padilla’s cousin and also a member of The Squad Plus of ABS-CBN.

“On- and off-cam, Ashton is caring and it was fun to work with him. You can see his eagerness to learn. He’s so observant with what’s going on around him and oftentimes, he would ask questions like ano ba ‘yung tight shot, ano ba ‘yung wide shot or anong tawag sa ganito, nakakatuwa,” said Francine.

She added that she’s always willing to share with newcomers whatever acting approach she has learned from the seasoned actors she had worked with.

Meanwhile, the book author revealed her inspiration while writing Bola Bola. Anna shared that she was partly reminiscing not only about her experiences but also her friends and family.

“Knowing what high school was for me, knowing how my childhood went,” began the author. “And so, in a way, while I was writing Bola Bola, I was also reminiscing but at the same time I was also looking back at those happy moments, ‘yung kilig moments — your first love. And, of course, ‘yung relationship with food, with cooking, with eating.”

Anna added that the audience can learn a lesson or two from the series “and the biggest lesson is learning to love yourself. Not just to love yourself but also how (to do it) because your insecurities are always there, so I want to share how not to deprive yourself. I’m talking about love. I’m talking about food. I’m talking about experiences.”

Anna agreed that it’s not an easy task to follow the book to the letter. She explained, “From a book to a series, it’s always exciting because you have the novel and then you have the series, they’re two different mediums but at the same time this is an opportunity for Bola Bola to reach a wider audience. Added essence ng Bola Bola is loving yourself, right? And I feel like it’s so important that everybody knows this pero mahirap isabuhay. So, ang pinaka message ko is to have an open mind and learn from the characters.”

(Bola Bola also stars Analain Salvador, Danica Ontengco, Vance Larena, J-Mee Katanyag and Arlene Muhlach. A new episode drops every weekend on March 27, April 2, April 3, April 9 and April 10. Viewers can get easy access to iWantTFC’s content library with its “watch now, register later” feature.)


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