MANILA, Philippines -- All's well between the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and actor Paulo Avelino even after the "Walang Hanggan" star begged off from doing the theater group's stage adaptation of "Bona."
Avelino was originally supposed to alternate with actor Edgar Allan Guzman in the role of Gino Sanchez, a reality show contestant, in the play version of the classic movie, which stars actress Eugene Domingo in the title role.
"He pulled out early in the game so wala namang issue sa amin," PETA's artistic director Maribel Legarda told ABS-CBNnews.com on Tuesday night after the press conference for "Bona."
"It would have been an issue if in the middle of all of these, biglang cannot be."
Legarda said when they were casting for the role played by Philip Salvador in the movie, Avelino came highly recommended, although both Avelino and Guzman still had to audition.
"Nung malapit na 'yung rehearsals, apparently he (Avelino) was getting a lot of work. Of course, they are new stars and the manager prioritized television shows," she said, noting that Avelino also recently won the Best Actor award from the Gawad Urian for his role in the indie movie, "Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa."
"Promise 'yun lang ang nangyari. He got a lot of work and I think the manager made the decision," she said.
Avelino earlier said a scheduling conflict was the reason he did not accept the theater project.
“’Yung main reason lang po ‘yung pagpasok ng schedule. If ever man magawa ko siya, ‘yun siguro ‘yung literal na walang tulog. Hindi po ako kasi nagpa-function ng mabuti 'pag ganon,” he said, adding that aside from the four-times-a-week taping schedule for "Walang Hanggan," he is also set to shoot a movie.
Praise for Guzman
Meanwhile, Legarda praised Guzman, saying "the boy can act."
"Edgar is getting a lot of work now, so even Noel (Ferrer, his manager) is like, 'Oh my God, we should have gotten an alternate for him also.' But we said no more na. You know the cast has really been working collaboratively and everything, so mahirap," she said.
For his part, Guzman, who was also trained in theater as a member of the group Villa Teatro, thanked PETA for casting him in the upcoming play.
This is Guzman's first time to join a PETA production.
"Masaya ako dahil nabigyan ako ng chance na makatrabaho siya (Domingo) ulit, tapos teatro pa. And sa PETA, na kumbaga unang sali ko sa kanila, salamat," Guzman said during the press conference of the play.
Last year, Guzman won the Best Actor award at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival for his role in "Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me," while Domingo bagged the Best Actress award for "Ang Babae sa Septic Tank."
"Nakasama ko na si Ate Uge sa pelikula, sa telserye. So nung nalaman ko na siya yung kasama ko, nandun 'yung konting kaba pero alam ko na kasi na nandun si Ate Uge, panatag ang loob ko na magiging magaan ko siyang katrabaho," he said.
"Pero nandun 'yung kaba siyempre. Teatro ito eh. Iba yung disiplina, iba yung galawan dito," he added.