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Entertainment

Zanjoe, Janine uncover ‘dirty secrets,’ seek justice in Dirty Linen

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Zanjoe, Janine uncover âdirty secrets,â seek justice in Dirty Linen
Zanjoe Marudo and Janine Gutierrez share how they prepared for their meaty roles in ABS-CBN and Dreamscape Entertainment’s new revenge-drama series Dirty Linen.

MANILA, Philippines — The star-studded ensemble cast of ABS-CBN’s newest series Dirty Linen, led by Zanjoe Marudo and Janine Gutierrez, was heaped with praises by their directors and the cinemagoers who watched the initial screening of the revenge-drama teleserye at TriNoma Cinema last week.

One of the directors, direk Onat Diaz (Wildflower, Asintado), cited Zanjoe’s “riveting and heartbreaking” performance throughout the series and commended Janine’s acting prowess, saying, “After this show, you’ll never see her the same way again.”

Dirty Linen has the tagline, “Stained by lies, washed by truth, handled with care.” It follows the story of Alexa (Janine) cunningly infiltrating the household as a maid of the wealthy and extremely influential Fiero family after the sudden disappearance of her mother Olivia (Dolly de Leon). Alexa suspects Olivia was killed by the Fieros after they made it appear that she ran away and stole jewelry worth millions.

To execute her grand plan of exposing the Fieros’ dirty secrets, Alexa takes justice into her own hands and connives with her second family — Rolando (Joel Torre), Lala (Jennica Garcia), Max (Christian Bables), and Nico (Seth Fedelin) — who are also seeking justice for their family members who suffered greatly in the hands of the Fieros.

Alexa changes her identity to Mila and exhausts all means to take down the Fiero family led by the matriarch Cielo (Tessie Tomas), Feliz (Angel Aquino) and her husband Ador (Epy Quizon), the “sabong king” Carlos (John Arcilla) and his wife Leona (Janice de Belen), and their children Aidan (Zanjoe) and Chiara (Francine Diaz).

Janine is Alexa who wants to avenge her mother, believed to be dead, against the moneyed and powerful family of Aidan, played by Zanjoe.

In an in-person interview that took place at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater, Zanjoe and Janine gave details about their characters, acting processes and preparations for the much-anticipated series.

Zanjoe noted that his character as Aidan in the latest teleserye is far different from his last TV role as David Ilustre in The Broken Marriage Vow.

The audience should watch out for Aidan’s “bunch of secrets and twists” as the story unfolds. Zanjoe said, “I have done scenes na hindi pwedeng ipakita kasi mahuhulaan ng mga tao yung emotions na makikita sa akin. Hindi pa namin pwedeng isalin pero kailangan yun pagdating sa mga twists in the coming episodes,” which he finds “exciting and challenging” at the same time.

He likes playing Aidan because it’s something new as compared to his characters in past projects. “It’s not the typical love story that I’ve done in the past na talagang may romance, kilig, or family na masaya. This is a new character na malayong-malayo kay Zanjoe.”

He is also glad to have collaborated with the entire team, including the actors, directors and production crew, whom he said contributed to the good outcome of the show.

In terms of his acting process, the 40-year-old thespian shared it took a while before he found a style that he is comfortable doing. “Before, I tried everything. Nagpe-prepare ka. Parang hindi ka munang masyadong makikipag-usap sa mga kasama mo so that you can focus or sometimes, you would use your personal experiences to help you in the scenes,” he told The STAR.

First-ever Filipino Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Dolly de Leon in a scene from the series.

What works for him is to deeply understand his character and the story. “When I arrive (at the scene), I will just memorize the lines and then no emotions at all. ‘Pag action, dun pa lang ako magsisimula (acting).”

He continued, “Ayoko nung parang ready na ako or I already know what’s going to happen. Hindi pa nangyayari or hindi pa sinasabi yung words bakit alam ko na yung… Minsan hindi nagwo-work sa akin. So patay talaga, blank. And then five, four, three, two, one, action, dun pa lang ako (start acting).”

“Bahala na kung maramdaman ko or hindi. Kung hindi, ‘di take two or kung maramdaman ko, mas maganda, mas natural,” he added.

For his role as Aidan, who keeps a bunch of secrets and is “clueless” on his family’s “dirty secrets,” Zanjoe has deliberately avoided watching some scenes on set to not pre-empt the nuances of his character.

“Iniwasan ko yung mga scenes na hindi dapat malaman ni Aidan. Para alam ko sa utak ko hindi ko rin alam. Nabibigla lang din ako sa mga scenes na mangyayari,” he said, adding that this technique has helped him in a way and made things easier for him on set.

On being dubbed as the “Pambansang Leading Man,” he quipped, “Siguro kasi mura lang ako (laughs).”

Nevertheless, Zanjoe credited it to what he “planted” when he was just starting out. Recalling his humble beginnings, he said, “Siguro (dahil) sa tinanim ko nung nag-umpisa ako, nung bago pa lang ako. Hindi pa ako halos marunong talaga at wala pang idea about this kind of profession. Maybe they saw that I am willing to learn and that I am professional. Because this is the only job I know.”

“So until now, the people that I’ve worked with, they are proud or happy for me, wherever I’ve been or whatever happened to me. Because they saw that I really came from nothing and I’m still here today, still being given... projects,” he added. With that, he wants to inspire other aspiring actors by setting a good example for them.

Moreover, Dirty Linen is the first time that Zanjoe and Janine are collaborating in a teleserye. Having no knowledge of each other’s personalities prior aided the co-stars in creating their onscreen chemistry.

The Fiero family (from left) is played by Epy Quizon, Angel Aquino, Tessie Tomas, John Arcilla and Janice de Belen.

It’s all about partnership, remarked Zanjoe, “Hindi pwedeng kanya-kanya.”

“In the story, ‘di ba nagkabanggaan lang kami tapos ganun. So at least nagagamit din namin yung parang getting to know each other na naayon sa real life and with what is happening in the story,” explained Janine.

The actress revealed that Zanjoe is her “idol” and that she downloaded the iWantTFC app just to see his romantic film Malaya opposite Lovi Poe.

“I really like Malaya and I watched also The Broken Marriage Vow because idol ko na rin si Z and of course, si Ms. Jodi Sta. Maria. I am super happy na tayo yung nagkasama dito talaga,” she told her leading man.

As for the most “tricky part” for Janine in the series, it was the constant transition from regular employee Mila to being “vengeful” Alexa and then vice-versa.

“Yung gumaganap na Mila sa mansion tapos ‘pag hindi na nakatingin ‘tong mayayaman, bigla akong magbibigay ng galit na role (as Alexa). There’s a shift so that was the most tricky part for me,” she shared.

“So, you really have to find the core of your character,” she furthered. “As an actor, it’s a bit confusing for me because I am Alexa in real life, seeking justice. But when I’m inside the Fiero mansion, I am Mila who appears innocent and naive.”

What really helped Janine in navigating her dual roles was the guidance of directors Onat and Andoy. “Kasi sila yung naka-identify ng mga bagay na nagawa ko na, ‘Ah yan gawin mo yan. Yan yung paulit-ulit na si Alexa.’ So yung guidance talaga ng directors yung pinaka-core,” she said.

Janine was also inspired by the actress who played the young Alexa, Erika Clemente. “Seeing what the young Alexa did was also a big thing. Her acting in the scenes with Ms. Dolly and our father, I took a lot (of inspiration) from what she just did. As much as possible, I tried following it,” she shared.

She also read the script more than once. According to her, the story of Dirty Linen is “very deep” and it has “multi-layered characters.”

“Hindi ko naman inisip na nakasalalay siya sa shoulders ko,” Janine remarked when asked about the responsibility of being the main character in the series.

She pointed out that the show has a “powerhouse ensemble cast” and that is what makes Dirty Linen “so special.”

“As in you will really follow all the characters. Everyone has his or her own story. Lahat may sariling ‘dumi’ na itinatago and lahat may sariling goodness. The script is well-written,” she added.

The powerhouse ensemble cast and directors of Dirty Linen during the grand mediacon held at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater: (From left) Direk Onat Diaz, Raven Rigor, Jennica Garcia, Angel Aqui-no, Joel Torre, John Arcilla, Seth Fedelin, Francine Diaz, Janine Gutierrez, Zanjoe Marudo, Tessie Tomas, Epy Quizon, Christian Bables, Xyriel Manabat and direk Andoy Ranay.
Photos from Dreamscape Entertainment

She also noted that Dolly, the first-ever Filipino nominee at the Golden Globes and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs), is the “catalyst” of the story. “It all started with her — the story — if you watch it. She is the reason kung bakit nagkilos at gumalaw lahat ng tao. It’s because of her.”

“But like Z, I’m also counting on all my co-actors, the staff, etc.,” Janine said, stressing that the series is all about “team effort all the way.”

(Dirty Linen is now airing on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, TV5, Kapamilya Online Live, iWantTFC, and TFC.)

ABS-CBN

JANINE GUTIERREZ

ZANJOE MARUDO

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