MANILA—The storm has passed and now it can be said: Angel Locsin was once on the verge of leaving ABS-CBN, and even submitted a resignation letter, after being overcome with self-doubt amid a series of challenges in her career and personal life.
Locsin, 33, made the candid revelation during a press conference Thursday for the upcoming primetime series “The General’s Daughter,” set to premiere on January 21.
The Dreamscape production, billed as one of ABS-CBN’s flagship programs in 2019, marks Locsin’s first lead role in a teleserye in five years. (She guest-starred in the 2017 fantaserye “La Luna Sangre.”)
“She is back,” goes the promotional tagline of “The General’s Daughter,” referring to Locsin’s long-awaited television return after 2014’s “The Legal Wife.”
Locsin agrees on the project being termed her comeback, especially after the turbulent time she had gone through.
“Nawala ‘yung tiwala ko sa sarili ko,” she began. “Feeling ko I’m a big disappointment noong time na ‘yon. Hindi ko nagawa ‘yung ini-expect of me. Iyon ‘yung nawala sa akin.”
Days leading up to the press conference, Locsin, in an Instagram post, referred to 2015 as a challenging period, and the year that followed as one that “broke me.”
Describing how she felt then, the actress said: “Disappointed ka sa sarili mo. ‘Yung mga times na akala mo, okay ka, pero ngayon kung babalikan mo, hindi ka pala okay. In denial ka lang. Trying to be strong, pero hindi ka okay, e.”
It was in 2015 when Locsin first revealed nursing a spine injury. In 2016, her role in a passion project, “Darna,” was effectively sent into limbo as she sought treatment for her back. That same year, she went through a bitter breakup with then-boyfriend Luis Manzano. In 2017, Locsin officially withdrew from “Darna,” citing her physical condition.
During the press conference, Locsin did not detail her past struggles, but said she drew strength from people who continued to believe in her, in particular the team behind Dreamscape, as well as executives of the Kapamilya network.
“Kinausap ako, tinanong kung ano ang gusto ko, hindi ako pinayagan mag-resign,” she said, referring to ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak. “Kahit ayaw mo na, kahit hindi ka na naniniwala sa sarili mo, pero may mga taong naniniwala na kaya mo, na nandiyan, nakasuporta lang sa ‘yo, talagang mabubuhayan ka ng loob, e.”
“Dahil sa kanila, nandidito ako. Dahil sa mga taong patuloy na sumusuporta sa akin. Dahil sa inyo na naniniwala sa akin, nandito po ako. Feeling ko utang ko ito sa inyo,” she added, addressing press members and her followers.
Locsin surmised that she needed to survive those testing years, “para marating ko kung ano ako, ‘yung outlook ko ngayon.”
For one, she has a newfound “maturity” when it comes to tackling physically demanding roles, citing her spine condition. Dubbed by fans as the “Action-Drama Queen,” Locsin has a track record of performing her own stunts, admittedly to the point of recklessness, in various portrayals.
While she still gets to do stunts now, “hindi na lang basta-basta.”
“Before mag-taping, nagpapa-PT (physical therapy) na ako, para the next day, kondisyon na ‘yung katawan ko. After nu’n, bantay ako sa ice packs, hot packs. ‘Pag alam kong hindi ko kaya, hindi ko ginagawa. Pero so far, wala naman silang niri-request sa aking gawin na alam kong alanganin sa akin,” she explained.
Referring to the production staff and creative heads, Locsin said: “Maingat po sila sa akin. Napaka-ingat nga po, sa totoo lang. Ako lang ang matigas ang ulo!”
Directed by Manny Palo and Mervyn Brondial, “The General’s Daughter” sees Locsin as Rhian, a soldier raised to kill her own father, leading to conflicts both physical and emotional.
In production as early as April 2018, the series was officially unveiled in November during ABS-CBN’s “Family is Love” trade event. Its first trailer unraveled a story spanning two generations and three families, with Rhian as the central figure.
That “The General’s Daughter” is being trumpeted as one of 2019’s biggest TV productions is not lost on the Locsin, who pointed out its remarkable casting coup.
Joining Locsin in the series are big-name screen veterans: Albert Martinez, Tirso Cruz III, Eula Valdez, Janice de Belen, and Maricel Soriano.
“‘Yung mga iniidolo kong artista noong nagsisimula pa lang ako o hindi pa ako nag-aartista, hindi ko naman akalain na sabay-sabay, sa isang show, pagsasamahin? Makakatrabaho ko, makak-eksena ko sila, makikita ko kung paano sila sa set every day. Iba ‘yung shock,” she said.
Also part of the cast are Paulo Avelino, JC de Vera, Arjo Atayde, Ryza Cenon, and the breakout tandem of Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte.
“Umaapaw na gratitude,” Locsin said of being entrusted with a flagship teleserye. Sana maibalik ko ‘yung suportang ipinakita nila sa akin. Gusto ko na po mag-January 21!”