'The Legal Wife' title card. Image: Handout
MANILA -- Angel Locsin plays a scorned wife while Maja Salvador portrays a devoted mistress in a primetime series that promises passion, drama and twists when it premieres on ABS-CBN in January 2014.
Directed by Rory Quintos and Dado Lumibao, "The Legal Wife" also stars Jericho Rosales and JC de Vera, whose characters figure in a web of romance with the lead actresses' roles.
A televised teaser for the series, which was also posted on ABS-CBN's YouTube page Friday, shows Monica (Locsin) and Adrian (Rosales) getting engaged, before being driven apart by an affair. Adrian's relationship with Nicole (Salvador) sparks rage in Monica, whose speeding car nearly hits her husband and his mistress. The betrayed wife is then seen finding comfort in her friend, Max (de Vera).
In a highlight of the teaser, which will air in full on January 1 after ABS-CBN's "Honesto," a heated confrontation ends with Monica slapping Nicole. Another scene shows a hysterical Monica hitting her husband.
"Para sa akin kasi big step ito bilang artista," Salvador told ABS-CBN News, explaining why she is excited for the project. "Malaking step sa akin na gawin ang character na ito, dahil natsa-challenge po ako eh, dito sa role ko."
"Isang kwento ito ng pag-iibigan na hindi mo akalain na pwede pala. May mga bagay, mga sitwasyon na biglang nanggugulat sa'yo na hindi mo na mapipigilan na nandoon ka na sa loob ng sitwasyon na 'yon," she said.
Rosales, in a separate interview with ABS-CBN News, similarly referred to his role as something new. "It's something that I haven't done. Isang bagay na hindi ko pa nagagampanan. Medyo ano siya, medyo buma-boundary siya sa mali eh. Pinapakita ng character ko kung ano 'yung 'di mo dapat gawin, bilang isang lalaki na nasa isang relasyon."
"Maganda 'yung mensahe ng teleserye kasi pinapakita niya 'yung kaunting kahinaan ng mga lalaki, tapos kung paano pwedeng iwasan," he added. "So ito 'yung mga problema na pwede mong harapin pag ikaw ay bumigay."
Referring to "The Legal Wife" tackling infidelity, Locsin said the subject isn't to stir controversy when the series starts airing. She explained that the situation portrayed in the soap, and how the characters are affected by it, are not commonly discussed in the medium. Locsin pointed to this as one of the reasons why she agreed to do the project.
"Hindi naman kami gumawa ng serye para lang gumawa ng kontrobersiya, pero ako kasi, bilang artista, mas gusto ko 'yung mga character na hindi masyadong common at hindi masyadong napag-uusapan," she told ABS-CBN News.
"Siguro mas may challenge for me, at ang ABS-CBN naman kasi, always naman 'yan, naghahanap ng magandang kwento na hindi pa napapakita, o hindi pa masyado napag-uusapan pero alam nating nandiyan. 'Yung medyo taboo ba, kumbaga. Pero hindi ito for the sake na nagpapa-kontrobersyal.
"Ito'y para makapaghatid-inspirasyon sa mga taong may parehong pinagdaraanan, 'diba. Baka kahit paano, baka makatulong kami, maka-relate, makabawas sa problema," Locsin said.
The actress, whose last role in a drama series was "Imortal" in 2010, added that a factor in her decision to take up "The Legal Wife" as her comeback soap was Quintos. Locsin recalled being happy to learn that the director would lead the project, as they previously worked together in the 2009 film "Love Me Again" and the primetime series "Only You" aired in the same year.
Locsin's onscreen rivalry with Salvador, on the other hand, marks the first time they will be working together. Both actresses said they had been looking forward to the opportunity, with Locsin indentifying the younger Salvador as one of the Kapamilya stars she wanted to work with before she switched networks in 2007.
"Ako pag-transfer ko palang naman, isa na si Maja sa mga gusto kong makatrabaho," she said. "Ito, dalaga na si Maja, so nagkaroon kami ng chance. At ako, looking forward talaga."
Salvador said she particularly admires Locsin for the effort she puts into her work as an actress. "Nakaka-excite makatrabaho ang mga taong alam mo na importante rin sa kanila 'yung trabaho na 'to at 'yung project namin."
Aside from the lead actresses' first team-up, "The Legal Wife" also marks the first ABS-CBN series starred in by de Vera, who transferred to the network in early 2013.
While the series' title suggests it will focus on her role as the betrayed wife, Locsin said equal importance is given to the characters portrayed by her co-stars.
"Pwedeng tumayo 'yung mg characters na mag-isa. Buong-buo 'yung mga characters talaga... So ito, sobrang thankful ako, na nabigyan ako ng magandang project talaga. And this is it. Sobrang worth the wait talaga," she said.
Joining the four lead stars in the cast of "The Legal Wife" are Joem Bascon, Ahron Villena, Christopher de Leon, Rio Locsin, and Mark Gil.
The premiere date of the series and its timeslot have yet to be announced.