I gotta admit that I wasn’t able to keep track of the original rendition of Temptation of Wife that aired on GMA on the late afternoon timeblock. But I was able to catch some episodes and realized the lead actress is one of my fave Korean stars, Jang Seo-hee, who I first admired on the K-Drama “Irene” (original title: “Miss Mermaid), aired shortly before Eat Bulaga years ago. It’s the best soap I have seen that had an antiheroine for a lead character and even better, Jang is the kind of actress that would enter the screen and make her presence felt real well. Moreso, she’s the kind of actress that relied on her eyes and pass off with flying colors with the kind of performance she could dish out. So when she eventually ended up with another soap that had tinges of being another antiheroine (without going the Irene route), it did not come across as surprising.
Some folks actually asked me what the storyline is about since the soap’s title is vague. Some prejudged it as the wife cheating her husband. Let me tell you that’s not the temptation that the wife, Angeline (played by Jang Seo-hee), stumbled into. You see your husband marry his mistress after your “death” and the opportunity for vengeance can be very, very tempting. What made it even more tempting is the fact that you have some accomplice(s) along the way. Yes, it’s another vengeance story. I even tweeted some friends that TOW is like “a married version of Marimar”, complete with transformation from a meek, submissive housewife to calm, calculating and scheming kickass bitch.
On that note, we get into the point on GMA7′s choice to play the plum role = Marian Rivera. I heard the drumbeats. I read the complaints, concerns, critiques and haters who will never run out of things to bash Marian Rivera with. (Seriously, do they even make money out of bashing Marian, tabloid writers excluded?) And then I took a long hard look at the things in front of me, everything from what the naysayers have to say to some concerned fans who preferred that Marian Rivera stick to doing original soaps instead of remakes.
Arrogant as it may sound but let’s face it = Marian Rivera is GMA7′s cash cow. She brings in the dough AND be a credible actress at the same time. Having no trophies to boost the fact that she’s a talented actress can be a badge of honor sometimes. You have an actress who brings in the ratings real good and you have a Korean franchise which fans can’t wait to be remade on the boob tube = if you’re a network executive, you simply make do with what you have. It sucks when complaints fly all over the place as if managing a television network is a walk in the park. That’s why I am not that harsh when it came to critiquing some establishments. It’s simply different when it’s your turn on the driver’s seat. But if you’re really asking for constructive criticism, I won’t mince my words. Sure, there are times when something goes wrong and a project can’t simply be given to a newbie, you rely on your veterans to topbill your premier projects which is what happened on choosing the actress to play the TOW lead. It took time for me to absorb when I first read that Marian is eventually chosen to play Angeline in TOW because the bottomline is “It’s another remake”. Frankly, my dear, I don’t want her to do another remake. Then again, knowing the kind of actress Marian is, she often has this power to prove me wrong. If it’s Marian proving me wrong, I’d be happy to be wrong then. And of course, the network executives wouldn’t care either whatever negative stuff would be said about MR getting cast again as lead as they’d be laughing all the way to the bank after proving everyone wrong with the kind of business sense that they possess. Yes, I said business sense. Sometimes, you need to accept that this is still a business after all.
Now let’s get to the merits of Marian donning the character. In “MariMar” we’ve seen her transform from a barrio lass to a sophisticated casino mogul out for vengeance. In TOW, we will see her transform from an idiot housewife (Goddammit, Angeline! It was right under your nose!) to a vengeful angel. Knowing that she likes to change her appearance based on how she attacks a role, I can say that she would have her own interpretation of the character and remind herself that “It may be the familiar MariMar territory but tweaks need to be done along the way”. I’m all for it. You don’t get to see everyday an actress like Marian who would put into consideration appearance, facial expression and line delivery in the things that she does for a living. To put it bluntly, “Kina-career”. This would be her second K-Drama remake after Endless Love (where she co-starred with Dingdong Dantes). And I am glad she’d be given the opportunity to work with Alex de Rossi.
As much as Alex is so funny on Twitter (especially the conio-themed tweets, LOL), when it comes to acting, Alex is a powerhouse. Be it rich or poor, drama or comedy, character-driven or somewhat close to her “babaeng bakla” image, Alex is sure to deliver. Now that it’s locked in that she play the role of Heidi Shin (who might have been K-Drama’s most hated concubine at some point), I can’t wait for the catfights that she could stage opposite Marian. We’ve been given teasers in some episodes of Tweets for My Sweet but then again, they’re not the ones directly threatened of a catfight in that storyline. Heidi’s driving force in the story is envy = she thought that Angeline is too blessed with too many things that she thought those “good things” should be hers instead since in her point of view, she deserved them even better (sounds familiar). An amusing trivia about Alex getting cast as Heidi is that Kim Seo-hyung played both villain roles in Green Rose (aired in ABS-CBN) and TOW. Alex also played Kim’s villain role in the Green Rose remake. For now, let’s call that a coincidence. If Kim gets another villain role in a soap that gets another Filipino remake and Alex gets booked to play that part again, it’s about time to plan a meet-up for Kim and Alex.
Like Marian, this is Dennis Trillo‘s second K-Drama remake and it’s another role that blurred the line between love interest and villain. Let’s face it. The role of Marcel is that of a douchebag and I noticed that Dennis has been taking douche roles lately despite the availability of lead roles for him. Obviously he wanted to be remembered more as an actor than as a celebrity. Because if you are really good at what you do, be it on the big screen or on the small screen, the celebrity status comes naturally. The main difference though is that as much as a douche Marcel is, he isn’t very bright. Yes, it happens. Some douchebags are all balls and no brains. I don’t remember Dennis playing dumb husband roles but the fact that Dennis is also good at blurring the lines between drama and comedy (because too much comedy registers onscreen most of the time for others as “trying-hard-to-be-funny” if you check Bubble Gang), I have high hopes for this. So what if he’s half-villain half-love interest in this story?
Now we move to the newest Kapuso acquisition = Rafael Rosell. For those unfamiliar with him because they often watch GMA7 soaps, his last projects with ABS-CBN were Martha Cecilia’s “Kristine” (playing the role of Marco de Silva) and “100 Days to Heaven“. For those who still found themselves wanting/weighing for more regarding his acting skills, it’s not as bad as you claim it to be. Either you’re watching “Tabing-Ilog” reruns (his first stint as an actor on TV) or you saw soaps that cast him as a villain. Some actors can’t act the part and at some point, some actors don’t look the part either. I am sorry, Rafael, but as much as I find you delectable, yummy and pretty hot – unshaven stubbles included – you act the part of a good guy better. I am not saying that the role of Nigel in TOW isn’t that challenging enough but not all challenging roles belong to the villains. Even good people have a gamut of emotions running through their veins too – pangs of guilt and sadness that no matter how wide a smile could get, the happiness doesn’t reach the eyes and the melancholy finds it very easy to seep out. It’s a good argument I could offer on the table to whoever simply jinxes the casting choice as a casting coup for Popoy Caritativo. At least, Popoy’s talents are true to their label = TALENTS. So give the guy some slack. He’s not as bad as you think he is. Besides the TOW remake would be his first leading man role. And casting Rafael as Nigel is a step to the right direction.
It’s never to late to feel optimistic about the TOW remake. Not every single K-Drama remake MR would get into would end like “Endless Love” (yes, I have issues with it too). Then again, I hope GMA7 is not switching to remakes because they are running out of ideas again. I won’t deny that I got a little concerned about this all over again after reading somewhere that Dode Cruz would be the headwriter. Then again, based on available info online, if Korea’s SBS demanded that the “Stairway to Heaven” remake be true to the heart of the story, I hope the same demand would be imposed on the TOW remake as well by SBS. It’s like how the MariMar remake added some improvisations and corrected some loopholes from the original version. To those who are worried that MR is not getting enough rest with soaps that go by in the same year, just remember that her definition of “rest” is much different from the rest of us.