Coming into the audition without any experience in acting, Samantha Richelle had nothing but hope to secure the role of detective Kai Mendoza in the crime-drama series “Almost Paradise.”
Up against a hundred auditionees which include several Kapamilya actresses, Richelle surprised one of the most important persons in the room -- ABS-CBN chief operating officer for broadcast Cory Vidanes.
According to ABS-CBN executive Ruel Bayani, Richelle was just about to deliver the second line when Vidanes whispered to him to give the role to the newcomer.
“She was just about to deliver her second line, and I was beside Cory Vidanes watching the screen. And Cory Vidanes whispered to me and said, ‘She's the one. She's going to get the role,’" Bayani told the media during a virtual press conference for the series.
Bayani even argued about the lack of experience of Richelle in acting, highlighting the importance of the role in the story. However, Vidanes was firm with her decision and eventually gave the role to the actress.
“How can she handle a role of this scope and she's going to be the heart and soul of the entire series? And Tita Cory said, ‘No, she's gonna get it. We will just figure it out along the way,’" he recalled.
Bayani referred to Richelle as the biggest revelation of “Almost Paradise”, lauding how fast she adapted and learned with her stunts.
“Obviously, Sam, you would get a lot of offers after this. Obviously, you'll get [an] offer from ABS-CBN,” he told Richelle during the media conference.
The actress has nothing but gratitude for the opportunity given to her, realizing that she has done the work expected from her as the series is about to end in June.
“I knew that coming into this, I knew I was gonna be against the people who have been experienced and have done this for years. They have a lot more to offer than I ever thought I would,” she said.
“I just have to be very grateful. I am very thankful for the project and show.”
Bayani also hinted at a possible next project lined up for Richelle, but declined to elaborate it in the press conference.
Richelle, on the other hand, said she is willing to try different roles in the future should she receive more projects.
“Obviously, this being my first experience, I had the time of my life just being able to learn from the veteran actors and just the quality of this people's talents,” she quipped.
The new actress has been spending some time in the Philippines, visiting the country every year as part of family tradition.
She took pride in how good a community the Philippines is, especially during parties and events.
“I always remember how amazing and how much of a community it is to be with the Filipinos. It’s always the big parties and boodle fights. It is great to show a foreigner,” she added.
“Almost Paradise”, led by Hollywood actor Christian Kane, is a series produced by ABS-CBN and Electric Entertainment. It airs every weekend through Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, Kapamilya Online Live, and iWantTFC.
Aside from Richelle, other Filipinos included in the show are Nonie Buencamino, Art Acuna, Angeli Bayani, Ces Quesada, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Raymond Bagatsing, and Zaijian Jaranilla.