'Don't write me off yet,' says veteran actress
MANILA, Philippines -- With a film career spanning over 50 years, Amalia Fuentes is thrilled to finally start work on her first-ever TV series, which she considers a "second chance" after giving up her role in another ABS-CBN TV project.
Veteran actress Amalia Fuentes during her interview with ABS-CBN News on Wednesday
"I am so happy. This is another beginning, another episode in my life, because I have never done a teleserye," the 72-year-old actress told ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
Fuentes was elated to share the news at the sidelines of the filming for the Judy Ann Santos-starrer "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala," where she will have a special participation towards the series' latter part.
Directed by Malu Sevilla, Jerry Sineneng and Tots Mariscal, the Primetime Bida offering premiered last Monday, June 17.
At the time of Fuentes' interview with ABS-CBN News, the veteran actress had already been taping for "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala" for four days.
Explaining her interest in finally appearing in a TV series, Fuentes said, "People are now so teleserye-involved. Everybody in my group are all talking about 'yung mga Coco Martin, 'yung mga ganoon. So I felt that it was time that I should experience this."
"So when ABS-CBN offered me the chance to do a teleserye, I right away grabbed it, because this is something that I must know from experience, not from the experience of other people," she said.
The actress, who had been on hiatus from showbiz for some five years, recalled being instantly taken with the concept and message of "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala" when it was first offered to her.
"On the second sentence pa lang ng storywriter, when they told me that this is about women empowerment, [I took it right away]," Fuentes said.
In the series, Santos portrays the hard-working and strong-willed Anessa, a young woman from a poor family who falls for Eros (Sam Milby), a rich businessman. But their relationship turns sour when Eros' aggressive temper threatens the safety of Anessa and their child.
A fleeing Anessa, as seen in the full trailer for the series, is nonetheless determined to protect her child's welfare and makes steps to stand up against her her own husband.
"If I had a cause," Fuentes said, "It would be women empowerment. Because naaawa ako sa mga babaeng nag-start na katulad ng start ni Juday (Santos) dito, na 'yun bang inaapi-api ng mother-in-law niya, ng asawa niya."
According to Fuentes, she was particularly encouraged to take on her role in "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala" as it is pivotal in advancing Santos' character as a woman of strength.
Connecting with Juday
Asked to relate her experience working with the 35-year-old actress, who is dubbed the "Queen of Pinoy Soap Opera," Fuentes said she "has nothing but high praises [for Santos]."
"As a matter of fact, noong first day ko dito (filming), nakalimutan ko 'yung mga lines ko, napapanganga ako sa kanya because sobrang galing ng batang ito," she said.
The cast of 'Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala': (Top row, from left) Susan Africa, Tirso Cruz III, Coney Reyes, Matet de Leon, (second row, from left) Mylene Dizon, John Estrada, Judy Ann Santos, Sam Milby, KC Concepcion, (bottom row, from left) Joseph Marco, Empress Schuck and Bryan Termulo. Photo: Handout
Recalling one of their scenes together, Fuentes continued, "She can cry at the drop of a pin. Sabi ko, 'Oh my God, hindi ko pa ito na-experience, and hindi ako dapat umiyak,' but I cry with her. Iyon bang napapaiyak niya ako, ka-eksena ko siya, and then, nakakalimutan ko na tuloy 'yung lines ko."
"That's why I love this girl. Sabi ko sa kanya, madalas ko siyang biruin, 'Sana anak na kita, sana ikaw ay naging anak ko.' Kasi I am so connected with her and I am so blessed and thankful [to be part of the series]," she said.
Aside from starring alongside Santos, Fuentes added that she is especially proud of the quality of "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala."
"Akala ko kasi -- maybe I'm still living in the past -- pag teleserye, 'yun bang kahit paano na lang, tapusin na lang 'yan, para lang ma-provide mo 'yung number na kailangan mo," she said.
Relating that she had watched the pilot episode of the series last Monday, Fuentes said she is "so happy to know that I'm part of this teleserye na talagang pinaghihirapan."
"I am really, really amazed [with the quality]. Kaya pag gising ko, sabi ko, 'I'm so blessed that I'm part of this teleserye that is really, really good,'" she said.
The first trailer for 'Muling Buksan ang Puso' released in early May, when Fuentes was still officially part of the cast
The opportunity to have a special participation in "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala" opened up for Fuentes when she decided early this year to resign from another Kapamilya TV project with her long-time friend and on-screen rival Susan Roces.
The upcoming series, titled "Muling Buksan ang Puso," also features young stars Julia Montes and Enrique Gil. Veteran actress Pilar Pilapil, ABS-CBN News has learned, has been cast to replace Fuentes in the series.
Referring to her "second chance" to star in a TV series with "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala," Fuentes expressed gratitude to ABS-CBN for giving her the opportunity "to experience what it is to work in a teleserye."
Now set for her showbiz comeback when she appears as Anessa's ally in the primetime series, Fuentes said she is looking forward to further expand her long-running career as an actress.
"Don't write me off yet. Kaya nga nang may mag-offer sa akin to write my biography, sabi ko, 'Huwag muna, marami pang darating sa akin!'" she said.