MANILA — Jodi Sta. Maria couldn’t recover at once after portraying grief and anguish in a pivotal episode in “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” which has admittedly left a mark on one of the revenge drama’s directors.
Avel Sunpongco recalled filming the scene during a virtual conference of “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” leading up to its March 19 finale, when asked what he regards as memorable performances he directed during the series’ run.
“Ang mga tumatak sa akin na scene na medyo binaon ko rin hanggang sa pag-uwi ko sa kuwarto — number one iyong eksena ni Marissa nang [mamatay] si batang Jacob, tapos papunta siya doon sa kagubatan,” Sunpongco told ABS-CBN News.
That scene — from the first season’s finale on November 10 — saw a bloodied Marissa (Sta. Maria) escaping from a gunman while she carried her infant son Jacob. They had just been in a car crash, and while Marissa survived, the impact proved fatal for the baby, who died in her arms.
Marissa was forced to bury her son in the middle of the forest, her grief turning into rage towards Ellice (Iza Calzado), whom she mistakenly believed was behind the order to kill her and Jacob.
“Naramdaman ko ‘yung preparation pa lang ni Jodi noong time na ‘yun,” Sunpongco shared.
“At some point hindi ko na nakikitang umaarte siya noon. Kahit nag-cut na ako noong eksena, nandoon pa rin siya. Hindi siya nakakabitaw. Bilang direktor, nakikita ko ‘yung investment ng bawat artista sa mga eksena.”
Decidedly more “internal” in its depiction of emotions, a scene from the pilot episode, meanwhile, counts as a memorable pick for co-director FM Reyes.
In what Reyes referred to as the “thesis” of the series, Marissa was arrested by police after she confessed to having killed Victor (Albie Casino). In fact, it had been Ellice who, in self-defense, accidentally killed her sexual assailant.
The scene showed Ellice hiding, as she witnessed Marissa’s arrest, and Lucing (Maricel Soriano), Marissa’s mother, blindsided and in panic over her daughter being dragged out of their home.
Reyes praised the three actresses for their nuanced portrayals in the scene, which he pointed out served as the “foundation” of the series.
Reyes recalled Calzado’s fearful expression as she decided to stand back, adding: “While there was genuine offering from Jodi to take on the blame, she was also as scared. She was also uncertain how to answer the mother, hindi niya matingnan ‘yung mata ng nanay. At ‘yung nanay naman, as Maricel rendered it, [naipakita] ‘yung complexity ng kung ano ang nangyayari.”
Teasing the March 19 conclusion of the show, Reyes referred to the final conversation between Marissa and Ellice as another unforgettable scene from the series which he directed.
“[Hindi ko malilimutan] kung paano tumayo ‘yung dalawang lead character to deal it out, kung gaano kalalim ‘yung pinanggalingan,” he said. “Everybody was so emotional when they were watching as we were shooting the final scene.”
Noting that the scene was filmed in the morning, Reyes shared: “Ang hirap simulan ng araw para i-shoot ‘yung mabigat na eksena. Mabigat kasi maraming baon sa dibdib. Iba iyong beauty ng ginawa ng dalawa doon sa resolution ng show.”
“It hits you right in your throat and in your heart, how much we offer our friendship, our conviction, our truth for others. Iyon ‘yung tinayuan ng show,” he said.
The finale of “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin” wraps a successful 7-month run which also marked numerous firsts for ABS-CBN, as the network transitioned fully to digital following its franchise denial, among others.
Its last two weeks form part of “another milestone” for ABS-CBN, as its primetime shows gets simulcast on TV5, in an unprecedented partnership between networks which once had rivaling programming blocks.
Aside from TV5, which is seen nationwide on free and digital TV, “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin” continues to be seen on A2Z Channel 11 (free and digital TV in Metro Manila and nearby provinces), Kapamilya Channel (cable), Kapamilya Online Live (free livestreaming), and iWant TFC (on-demand streaming).