Watching this year's Golden Globe Awards left me awestruck as my first Hollywood interviewee romped away with the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television plum for a controversial role in a timely themed TV movie. In an October morning last year, a few Filipino journalists, myself included, had the chance to interview Laura Dern to know more about her thoughts, her artistic approach, and even her political views as she portrayed Florida governor Katherine Harris in HBO Films' "Recount," which presents the fateful chain of events in 2000 US presidential elections that changed the country's electoral system forever. While she may not have won the Emmy for her performance, Laura's stirring performance surely did not get unnoticed, and in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's case, unrecognized. Here are excerpts of the interview with Laura: Why do you think this film and your role are significant enough to accept as an artist? First of all, I accepted the role because I felt that this story, especially at this moment in American history, is extremely important to tell; to remind people that they should never allow their voice to be taken from them and that we all have to work to make sure that our vote counts. And I think this has helped these elections so far. People are very passionate about enforcing, protecting their vote on November 4th. What are your personal thoughts on the character you portrayed? (The reason) why I wanted to play Katherine Harris is complicated. I did not respect her in November 2000, her terrifying and troubling hand (in the events that transpired). But she is a wonderful character to get to portray as an actor! I’m very insistent in playing people who are opposite (of me). I think she is someone who had a very narcissistic idea of how important she was to the nation because she (thought she) had the ability to change history. How did you prepare for the role? I studied everything from her autobiography, personal e-mails, letters, everything they had of her in the public domain to all the press conferences she held during the recount. And that helped so much to learn her mannerisms, her quirks, her dialect. You can’t really have an opinion of the other side until you walk in her shoe. Ultimately, to understand another human being, you have to have that experience. That was really good for me and I really enjoyed that. I found (the role) very difficult but very fun. It was difficult for me to understand why she (Harris) would suppress the right to vote for her party. Where do you stand politically? I have always been politically active and I have always been a passionate liberal in American politics. But this time...I am the most passionate and hopeful and excited for myself, my family, my children’s future and the future of your country and all other countries that Barack Obama (wins) the presidency...I think he’s got a great, unified idea about where the world should go and we should work together. What checks do you know are in place to prevent any future incidents similar to those portrayed in the movie? We have done a lot of good things (since then). This November 4th, there will be no more punch card ballots in America so cannot have a chad (paper pieces that drop after holes are made in punch cards), a hanging chad or a dimpled chad or all that the movie talks about. People will be voting by computer. Also, there are states that will require VVPR or Voter Verified Paper Record. When you vote, you will need to put a piece of paper or card in the computer. After voting, the card comes out saying who you voted for. This card then goes into a box (for reference) which someone can check. So automatically, it is checked by a computer and by a person. If the numbers are different they can check it again. What is the message 'Recount' wants to convey? We must all be willing to educate ourselves on election reform and fight for that right to vote and have our vote counted. Taking it away without us knowing is a heinous act. I hope we could all work together to learn more and support each other. That’s what the film teaches. And it isn’t about a (partisan) party process. James Baker, a Republican, is working with Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, on election reform. Anybody can do it. The only way to protect your man or your woman in winning is to make sure every voice is counted.
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THEY’RE considered superstars-in-waiting—showbiz personalities who have achieved milestones in their respective careers this past year and are expected to reach greater heights in the coming year. Here are 12 promising stars whom we expect to shine brightest in 2009 and land major roles, juicy entertainment projects, public accolade and industry approbation in the coming months. 1. Aljur Abrenica Aljur Abrenica, 18, rose to prominence as the first “Ultimate Hunk” of the reality-based talent search “StarStruck” in 2006. He continued to draw attention with appearances in the teen drama “Boys Nxt Door” and regular performances in the Sunday noontime show “SOP.” His first major television role came in 2007 when GMA-7 tapped him to play the “Red Zaido” and Cervano, one of the three lead characters in the primetime fantasy series “Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan” opposite Dennis Trillo and the late Marky Cielo. His inclusion in the top rating “Dyesebel” further exposed him to a broader audience. Aljur also had roles in successful box office hits “I.T.A.L.Y.” and “Loving You.” Presently, he is part of the ensemble cast of the top rating fantasy series “Luna Mystika” as the tikbalang Libado. Though Aljur is currently cast in mere supporting roles, a major lead role in a movie or television show could most certainly come next year. 2. Jon Avila Who’s that guy on the billboard? Female motorists can’t help but notice his eye-catching, libido-pushing images along the Metro’s major thoroughfares. But this attention getter did not stop there. Like Sam Milby before him, this professional model made the big plunge into show business when he made the cut as a housemate in “Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2.” The Irish Filipino Jon Avila, 21, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, is now a household name. Dubbed the “English Outcast,” Jon was unceremoniously evicted from the reality-based TV show because of a controversy, but that did not discourage him from pursuing an acting career. ABS-CBN picked Jon to play a fumbling superhero in the Mars Ravelo classic “Kapitan Boom” in the network’s “Komiks” anthology this year. The show generated a big following in its Saturday airing, as viewers started getting enamored with Jon’s boyish charms. He did not disappoint them. Apart from television appearances in “ASAP 08” as part of the Cover Boys and the dance program “Shall We Dance” on TV5, this young talent is embarking on a movie career, starting with the indie film “Nars” and the Star Cinema movie “When Love Begins.” Jon is filming his first major role opposite Rufa Mae Quinto in “Civil Status: Single,” a comedy scheduled for an early 2009 release. 3. Valerie Concepcion Call it a blessing in disguise, but Valerie Concepcion’s abrupt exit from showbiz in 2004 due to her pregnancy worked wonders for her. It showed that life’s challenges can make one stronger, wiser, and in Valerie’s case, a topnotch actress-TV host. When Valerie transferred to ABS-CBN after a respectable career in GMA-7 (which started with the 2002 youth-oriented series “Click” and ended with the 2007 fantasy series “Fantastic Man”), the spotlight focused on another aspect of her talent: TV hosting. Valerie received the 2008 PMPC Star Award for Best Female Variety Show Host for her efforts in the noontime show “Wowowee.” That continuing stint provided her the needed exposure for subsequent projects, including product endorsements and guestings in the network’s youth oriented shows and drama anthologies. Valerie is now a regular in ABS-CBN’s “Banana Split,” further showcasing her acting talent, particularly in comedy. Valerie has also crossed over to the movies with a role that departs from her usual girl-next-door portrayals. She stars in Octo Arts Films’ sex comedy “One Night Only,” opposite Diana Zubiri, Katrina Halili, Jennylyn Mercado and Alessandra de Rossi. Next year is expected to be a banner one for Valerie, who will play the role Mexican singer-actress Thalia made popular in the 1990s—Maria Mercedes, set to become an ABS-CBN primetime offering. 4. Jake Cuenca Considered one of the top hunks of ABS-CBN, Jake Cuenca, 21, was actually a former Kapuso and graduate of GMA-7’s teen drama “Click” in 2003. Jake indeed made such a big impact in his “Click” stint that GMA-7 herded him into their major television offerings. He landed plum roles in “Hanggang Kailan,” “Forever In My Heart,” “Encantadia,” and the Angel Locsin-starrer “Majika.” Jake’s 2006 transfer to the Kapamilya network proved to be a good decision. Not only did he bag juicy TV roles, he also got a sizeable movie deal with Star Cinema for several projects. From late 2006 to 2007, Jake appeared in 14 ABS-CBN shows, from the fantasy series “Komiks Presents: Si Pedro Penduko at ang mga Engkanto” to the superhero classic “Mars Ravelo’s Lastikman.” Jake grabbed his biggest role in the remake earlier this year of the Bernard Bonnin 1960s starrer “Palos,” in which he shared lead credits with Cesar Montano. But the guy got more attention on the sidelines when he made tabloid headlines bannering his romance and eventual breakup with fellow ABS-CBN star Roxanne Guinoo. He also courted controversy when he got linked to another Kapamilya star, Bea Alonzo, which triggered Roxanne’s reported confrontation with Bea during a show abroad. Amid all the talk, Jake is making heads turn as part of the ASAP Cover Boys, a group in the tradition of the Hunks that propelled the careers of Piolo Pascual, Diether Ocampo, Jericho Rosales, Bernard Palanca and Carlos Agassi. This is definitely a sign of more good things to come for this good-looking and sexy actor. 5. Will Devaughn Will Devaughn, 25, captured the limelight immediately after landing fourth place in the “Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2” reality TV show. His stunning Filipino-African-American-German looks made him a natural choice for many product endorsements. Will’s “Pinoy Big Brother” victory endeared him to a growing number of fans and led to appearances in ABS-CBN dramas such as “Love Spell” with fellow PBB alumna and Second Big Placer Rizza Santos, and “Komiks Presents: Da Adventures of Pedro Penduko.” Will is also be part of the ensemble cast of the back-to-back Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Desperadas.” 2009 is definitely expected to be Will’s banner year with his involvement in two huge ABS-CBN projects—two comeback shows for two of the country’s most acclaimed and revered actors. Will is included in Judy Ann Santos’ upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye, “Humingi Ako Sa Langit" and is part of Comedy King Dolphy’s most-awaited first teleserye, “Utoy.” This could be his biggest break yet. 6. Robi Domingo Ateneo student Robi Domingo, 18, made his mark as the Second Big Winner of the “Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition Plus” series this year. Since his big finish in ABS-CBN’s talent launchpad that started the careers of Sam Milby, Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu, Robi has been aspiring to make it big in the biz without abandoning his studies. He had appeared in a number of ABS-CBN youth-oriented shows, including “Your Song” and “Love Spell,” but the acting bug has yet to bite, it seems. Joining the video jock search in ABS-CBN’s music channel Myx proved to be his biggest breakthrough this year, which was enough to convince voters in the Philippine Movie Press Club to name him as this year’s Star Awardee for Best New Male TV Personality. The award will surely open doors for this actor-TV host who has proved himself a role model among young fans. A comparison with Rico Yan further motivated him to pursue the late actor’s accomplishments in the biz. Continuing his impressive Myx VJ stint, Robi appears headed for still grander things in 2009. A major TV or movie role seems to be within reach. 7. Sheena Halili When people first saw Sheena Halili, they never thought she would have reached this far in the biz. An early dropout in the initial 2003 “StarStruck” search, Sheena may have had second thoughts about joining the reality-based talent search. Although she signed a GMA-7 contract right after the show ended as one of the StarStruck Avengers, the group of contestants who failed to reach the competition’s Final Four, Sheena was not able to sustain the popularity she gained from the contest. This led to her exit from the limelight when her contract expired. But when a casting call came for the Philippine adaptation of the Mexican series “MariMar,” Sheena, now 21, grabbed the opportunity and landed the supporting role of Monica, the sprightly best friend and collaborator of Katrina Halili’s character Angelica. That became her biggest break. As “MariMar” became the most watched television show in the Philippines during its six-month run and made its lead stars Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes and Katrina the biggest names in showbiz, Sheena was also rewarded with a revitalized acting career. After “MariMar,” Sheena’s bubbly nature again filled the airwaves as one of the main antagonists in the Regine Velasquez-starrer “Ako si Kim Samsoon.” She is also cast in the successful worldwide telenovela franchise “La Lola,” and appears as one of the on location hosts of the Manny Pacquiao show “Pinoy Records.” 2009 will be no different from Sheena’s successful 2008 run as GMA-7 continues to line up projects for this young actress, who is enjoying her second wind. 8. Karylle Who would have expected that a controversial break-up with her boyfriend of three years would eventually lead to this singer’s radical bid for showbiz superstardom? Now 27, Karylle is enjoying her time as a new talent of ABS-CBN and artist of EMI Music after months of despair and personal anguish. Not to simplify what she went through, but Karylle emerged a winner from it all. The controversy and the media circus that played on her personal life indeed made her stronger and more driven as an artist and person. Karylle has opted for a clean slate since her split from Dingdong—a new management outfit, record label, film studio and television network. Who knows? A shift in image as well, as showbiz talks speculate on a possible cover for a popular men’s magazine. Karylle is appearing in “ASAP ’08” after several years of performing in rival “SOP.” Her newly signed ABS-CBN contract shows that she is set to appear in several Kapamilya shows and Star Cinema films. A banner year in 2009? That seems to be an understatement, what with several potential top raters lined up for Karylle. Reports have it that this singer is being cast in three major ABS-CBN projects, including a remake of the Susan Roces film “Maruja,” and two hit Koreanovela adaptations, “Lovers in Paris” and “Princess Hours.” 9. Lovi Poe Her famous family name may have helped a bit, but definitely, Lovi Poe, 19, is a class on her own. Lovi’s string of successes on television didn’t come overnight. Initially billed as a singer, Lovi proved that striking good looks are always an asset that television show producers can’t just ignore. As a 17-year-old Colegio de San Agustin junior, this young star started her showbiz career opposite GMA-7’s returning male lead Cogie Domingo in the 2006 “Love to Love: Jazz Got Lucky.” After her initial stint, Lovi embarked on the turning point in her showbiz career, portraying Kristal in the highest rating TV show in 2007, “Bakekang.” As televiewers adored her pretty face and enthralling voice, Regal Films also took notice of her talent, casting her in 2007’s “Shake Rattle and Roll 9,” a performance that earned her a Star Award for Best New Movie Actress from the Philippine Movie Press Club. She also became a hot subject on showbiz talk shows after Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s son Jolo openly admitted that he was courting her. Though both deny any serious involvement, partly because of an alleged rift between Jolo and Lovi’s mom Rowena Moran, the young stars used the hype to the hilt with their appearance as a couple in the sine-novela “Kaputol ng Isang Awit” with Glaiza de Castro and the late Marky Cielo. Lovi also juggles her acting career with her recording duties under Sony BMG, which released her second album, “Bloom” this year, a follow-up of her “Best of My Heart” CD that turned gold in 2006. She also held her first major concert, “Bloom,” at the Music Museum last October. Lovi is currently involved with the GMA-7 adaptation of Latin American telenovela craze “La Lola.” With all these projects under her belt, Lovi seems all set for a more fruitful year ahead. 10. Cristine Reyes Like her sister Ara Mina who accomplished a lot in the last decade, Cristine Reyes, 19, is fast becoming tinseltown’s next vixen. Not only is this “StarStruck” alumna poised to achieve stellar status with her new, daring persona, she’ll do anything to achieve it, even leave the network that discovered and nurtured her career from Day One. But Cristine has no regrets. She considers ABS-CBN more than accommodating for giving her a plum role in the Jericho Rosales-Carmen Soo drama “Kahit Isang Saglit,” a portrayal that even impressed multi-awarded actor Christopher de Leon. The network then cast her in the role of her dreams—in “Eva Fonda, 16” a sexy role popularized by Alma Moreno. Though controversial, as the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board had reprimanded ABS-CBN for some scenes, the series is bound to get televiewers to notice Cristine’s acting talent and spellbinding appeal. Indeed, 2009 will prove to be another big year for Cristine as she makes TV screens sizzle with an adaptation of Vilma Santos’ 1970s classic “Burlesk Queen.” 11. Rhian Ramos The bubbly and perky teen star recently got her biggest break in the popular guy-turned-girl Latin American franchise “La Lola,” currently airing weekdays on primetime TV. Rhian’s breakthrough performance had led to top ratings for the show in its initial weeks. But Rhian Ramos, 18, did not come from nowhere. After appearing in TV commercials, Rhian was cast in the top rating 2006 fantasy series “Mars Ravelo’s Captain Barbell,” landing a supporting role to Richard Gutierrez that immediately made an impact on televiewers. Noticing this, the GMA 7 bigwigs included her in another Richard Gutierrez project, “Lupin,” playing the prominent Avril. As her celebrity flourished on and off cam, Rhian became a regular fixture in showbiz talk shows as controversies surfaced on alleged altercations with a fellow actress, some revealing Internet photos and hate blog entries. But these have not dampened Rhian’s young spirit as she became a favorite in most Kapuso shows, including the sine-novela “My Only Love,” “Pinoy Idol Extra,” and “Codename: Asero,” where she made a brief appearance with Richard. Apart from her television projects, Rhian also appeared in several GMA Films projects, such as “The Promise,” “Ouija,” “I.T.A.L.Y.,” and “My Monster Mom,” as the young Annabelle Rama. Her “La Lola” success would definitely lead to bigger things. A hardworker, Rhian is dead serious about staying in the industry for a long long time. 12. JC de Vera JC de Vera, 22, has become the leading male actor of choice in GMA-7 dramas. He is in fact described as the network’s “Drama Prince” after good ratings from his performances in the sine-novelas “Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso,” “Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig,” and “Babangon Ako’t Dudurugin Kita”—opposite his erstwhile screen partner Yasmien Kurdi. JC is also a 2004 “Click” graduate, who impressed his directors with deep and sensitive acting. He subsequently appeared on top rating GMA 7 shows “Sugo” and “Captain Barbell,” and the “Now and Forever” series where he was paired with the industry’s top actors. But his recent dedicated anthology “Obra Presents JC De Vera” has proven that he can now be counted among the country’s top young actors. As the male lead in the Latin American telenovela franchise “La Lola” and with his memorable performances in the movies “My Bestfriend’s Girlfriend,” “My Monster Mom,” “Loving You,” and the Metro Manila Film Festival entry, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll X,” and with his upcoming film “Sundo,” one can say for sure that JC has arrived and will continue to make his mark in the industry. (Published in the 28 Dec 2008 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine)
While it can be argued that Angel Locsin may not currently enjoy the immense popularity she once had as television’s “Darna” when she was GMA 7’s top female talent, her controversial transfer to ABS-CBN, at least, now made her an award-winning actress. The Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for Television held last Sunday at the SMX Convention Center recognized Angel as having given the Best Single Performance by an Actress for the “Maala-ala Mo Kaya” episode “Pilat.” This is Angel’s first acting award. In addition, her first primetime drama in ABS-CBN, “Lobo” was awarded the Best Primetime TV series and her co-star Piolo Pascual, the Best Drama Actor. GMA 7 was voted Best Station, apart from 21 other awards, which included the Best Drama Actress for Sunshine Dizon in “Impostora,” Best Male TV Host for Vic Sotto in “Eat Bulaga,” Best Comedy Actor for Ogie Alcasid in “Bubble Gang,” Best Comedy Actress for Rufa Mae Quinto in “Bubble Gang” Best Female Newscaster for Vicky Morales in “Saksi,” Best Daytime Drama Series for “Kaputol ang Isang Awit,” Best Comedy Show for “Ful Haus,” Best Musical Variety Show for “SOP,” Best Morning Show for “Unang Hirit,” Best Documentary for “Signos: Ang Banta ng Nagbabagong Klima,” Best Documentary Program for “I-Witness,” and Best Children’s Show for “Art Angel,” among others. ABS-CBN, on the other hand, achieved the most individual awards with 26. Apart from Angel and Piolo’s victories, the Kapamilya network also bagged Best Single Performance by an Actor for Joshua Dionisio in the “Maala-ala Mo Kaya” episode “Sako,” Best Female Host for Valerie Concepcion in “Wowowee,” Best Male Newscaster for Julius Babao in “TV Patrol World,” Best Drama Anthology for “Maala-ala Mo Kaya,” Best Newscast for “TV Patrol World,” Best Showbiz-Oriented Talk Show for “The Buzz,” Best Showbiz-Oriented Talk Show Hosts for Boy Abunda, Ruffa Gutierrez and Cristy Fermin in “The Buzz,” Best Game Show for “Pilipinas Game KNB?,” and Best Gag Show for “Goin Bulilit,” among others. TV5 (formerly ABC-5) won Best Talent Search Program for “Shall We Dance” and Best Talent Search Program Host for Lucy Torres-Gomez, Arnell Ignacio and Dominic Ochoa in the same program. UNTV 37 also took home two plums—Best Public Service Program for “Bitag” and Best Public Service Program Host for its presenter, Ben Tulfo.
It seems Diether Ocampo is not crossing over to GMA 7. At least, not yet. It turns out Ocampo is still under contract with Star Magic, the talent arm of ABS-CBN, a network statement said. “Diet (Ocampo) remains in Star Magic. We will trust he will make the right choice,” a short SMS message from Star Magic's publicity head Rikka Dylim read. In the most recent communication with the actor, he only replied with the message "Happy New Year" a few days after he texted a similar holiday greeting "Merry Christmas" to the entertainment press asking about developments about his reported transfer. Sources tell us that the latest message meant he would make a "major" announcement during the New Year, whether he would turn "Kapuso" or stay a "Kapamilya." As he is still under contract with Star Magic, he could not negotiate outside of his home network. This means, Ocampo misrepresented himself as an "independent artist" when he talked to GMA 7 executives--a claim made by GMA 7's Senior Vice President for Entertainment Wilma Galvante no less--a gross violation of his ABS-CBN contract. In her interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Galvante also said Ocampo "signed" a "long term" agreement, exposing him to possible breach-of-contract lawsuits. After the interview was published, Ocampo's camp denied the actor signed a contract with GMA 7, a fact that even Kapuso network insiders corroborated. This makes us wonder, what was Galvante's basis to state that Ocampo had already inked a deal with GMA 7? Was she misinformed or has she fallen prey to the actor's posturings for a heftier contract with his network of 13 years? Or did Ocampo really sign a "secret" agreement with GMA 7 and Galvante made the mistake of announcing it too soon, blindly believing his "independent artist" introduction? Or was the news leaked unexpectedly, leaving them in utter chaos? Quite expectedly, Ocampo kept his silence throughout and may continue to do so at least until the "New Year," as our sources say. Galvante has also since kept mum about Ocampo's supposed transfer plans after Star Magic revealed the actor's live contract. But in hindsight, Galvante can always show the contract she claimed Ocampo signed if she would stand by her claim and prove she was not lying. She however chose to just avoid the topic. Is she holding it back until Ocampo's Star Magic contract expires or has she abandoned the matter altogether? A close associate has this to say about the whole brouhaha: "Siguro nagpapaligaw lang si Diet sa Dos. Kung hindi kakagat, meron pa siyang isang option. Ang hirap parang nagpapagamit ang Siete. Di dapat ganoon." If this is true, it seems this actor may be playing his cards too much.
Singer-actress Karylle appeared she has gotten over the pain and was looking forward to start anew, both in her personal life and professional career. It seemed she abandoned everything that she and Dingdong had together--from her stint in GMA 7 to even their Quezon City videoke bar-cum-restaurant joint venture. But who can blame her? While people can sigh and think of what could have been, Karylle would not allow herself to become a prisoner of her past. She has decided to move on. This is quite evident in her taped interview with "The Buzz" on Sunday. This was not set in her home or in the studio, but during Gary V's recent 25th anniversary concert, a sign that she is ready to face the controversy head on and frolick. Here's our report on the interview: "Finally, after weeks of silence, part of which was joining a retreat to cope with the heartbreak, singer-actress Karylle now has the strength to face a love lost. And, quite dramatically, she realized her desire to move on from this difficult chapter in her life, as her first TV interview on the breakup showed last Sunday. "Kasi sa pagmamahal, wala namang regrets. Basta nagmahal ka, nagmahal ka ng totoo, yun lang naman yun eh. Kung mag-work out man o hindi, wala na sa kamay ko yon,” she told ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz.” Karylle said her breakup with her boyfriend of three years, actor Dingdong Dantes, followed a “process.” “It was a mutual decision. Hindi siya nangyari overnight so matagal siya na proseso kasi siyempre hindi ka naman magigising bigla na lang tapos sasabihin mo, ay break na tayo,” she said. Karylle admitted going through all the painful “stages” in the breakup, and declared she was now in the acceptance stage, which she considered a personal victory. “Hindi ko naman made-deny na nasaktan ako. Pero ang nangyari naman kasi talaga pinagdaanan ko lahat ng stages ng isang breakup na may denial, may hurt, may bargaining, tapos may acceptance. At this point, nandito na ako sa acceptance. Natanggap ko na ang lahat ng nangyari kasi sa bawat na masakit na nangyayari, may magandang naidudulot.” How did she succeed in entering the acceptance stage? Karylle said focusing on her work helped a lot. “Right now kasi yung focus ko nasa pagtrabaho lang. Hindi ko na masyadong iniisip ngayon kung ano ba yung iniisip niya (Dingdong) o mararamdaman niya kasi as of now para maging maayos naman yung buhay ko, isipin ko muna yung trabaho ko,” she said. Karylle, whose relationship with Dingdong flourished as they both worked for GMA 7, is now set to embark on a new phase in her career as a contract artist of ABS-CBN. Apparently not looking back, Karylle smiled when she answered the interviewer’s question if she still loved Dingdong. “Hindi na,” she said. But for Dingdong, coping seems far from over, despite his heavily-backed and successful on-screen tandem with fellow Kapuso centerpiece star Marian Rivera. “Nag-sink in na lahat eh. Kasi nung time nung nangyayari ang lahat ng ito, busy kami sa pag-shu-shoot. Pero, ngayon na’t dumating na lahat at nag-settle down na lahat, siyempre, you can’t change things overnight. It will take a while. (But) I will be okay,” the actor told GMA 7’s “Showbiz Central” also on Sunday."
Is there trouble brewing between top stars of the "Kapuso" network? If newspaper and Internet reports are to be believed, there seems to be a turf war going on between two camps of GMA 7 artists--on one side, the camp of Richard Gutierrez, the network's premiere talent, and on the other, the group of Aljur Abrenica, the station's rising male star. The conflict was allegedly rooted on a supposed altercation between the main protagonists at a popular bar in Quezon City last month. In this incident first reported on Philippine Entertainment Portal, Richard approached Aljur and allegedly hit the latter in the head two times. This stunned Aljur, who stood up, faced Richard, and asked him, "What's your problem?" Richard responded, "You, what's your problem?" Cooler heads intervened and avoided what could have been a major incident. Some believe the incident had something to do with both actors' links to Jewel Mische, another GMA 7 contract artist who was Richard's co-star in "Kamandag" and Aljur's batchmate in the reality talent program, "StarStruck." In a statement given to PEP, Richard flatly denied hitting Aljur, but confirmed he "politely" asked the latter to leave the table they were occupying because he was "uninvited." He also denied that Jewel was the cause of the altercation. The report said the entire second floor of the bar had been occupied by Richard and his circle of friends. Part of the statement read: "Time management is what stars whose schedules are busy need to master, for it is during these moments of privacy that a star can unwind, relax, and de-stress. "Unfortunately, however, a star like Mr. Aljur Abrenica, an acquaintance, does not seem to understand that stars need space too, and barging in on our table unexpectedly, sitting down uninvited, and partaking of the drinks freely, does not speak well of a person's social graces..." Aljur, for his part, broke his silence in the recent launch of "Luna Mystica," which stars Richard's "Codename: Asero" co-star Heart Evangelista. In the press conference, Aljur said there was "no truth" to Richard's version of the incident. While he confirmed a part of Richard's statement that said that the altercation did not have anything to do with Jewel, Aljur revealed that he and Richard "were not okay" without giving more details. For now, it was apparent that GMA Artist Center, the talent management arm of GMA 7, had been taking a lot of effort to appease both camps and refusing to make statements on the incident. But by the looks of it, lines have been drawn and the war may be far from over.
What could be a better reunion of ‘Iskul Bukol’ co-stars than the inclusion of one cast member who went astray…from the law? This makes the upcoming film, “Iskul Bukol…20 Years After,” extra special for Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon, who will reprise their roles in the top rating TV comedy on IBC-13 from the late 1970s to the 1980s in this much-awaited reunion movie for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Ritchie d’ Horsie, whose real name is Ritchie Reyes, will rejoin the “Iskul Bukol” cast after the trio shouldered his long-standing bail bond of P120,000 since his arrest for illegal drug use in 2004. After his release from the Quezon City jail, Ritchie immediately went into character as the Escalera brothers’ (Tito and Joey) reliable sidekick in his first shooting day for the film on Wednesday. “This is a wake-up call for me,” Ritchie said in Filipino in an interview with reporters visiting the movie shoot in a Manila college. “I would only concentrate on changing my ways and God.” Vic, who played the diligent and bookish Vic Ungassis in the TV comedy, admitted that they gave up on Ritchie after they shouldered his bail bond several times. “He always kept on going back to his old ways. I told him the last time that this is it, you should learn your lesson,” he said in a separate interview. Now, they are very much willing to give Ritchie another chance at renewing his life. “After all, we have been friends for so long,” Vic said. Aside from “Iskul Bukol,” Ritchie also appeared with Tito, Vic, and Joey in the longest-running noontime show, “Eat Bulaga,” as one of its original hosts when the program premiered on RPN-9 in 1979. Vic added he is impressed with Ritchie’s transformation. “He’s okay. He’s healthier,” Vic said. Ritchie will not be the only original ‘Iskul’ cast member to rejoin the zany Wanbol University alumni in “Iskul Bukol…20 Years After,” which is co-produced by Octo Arts Films, M-Zet Films and APT Entertainment. Mely Tagasa (Miss Tapia), Jimmy Santos (Big J), Anthony Roquel (Tonette Macho), Redford White, and Bibeth Orteza will again portray the roles that became household names during the show’s hey day. Gian Sotto, Oyo Sotto and Keempee de Leon will also appear, obviously, as the children of Tito, Vic and Joey respectively. Ryan Agoncillo, Pauleen Luna, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Francine Prieto, Benjie Paras, and Carlene Aguilar, among others, will portray supporting roles.
Marian Rivera appears, albeit half in jest, more on the defensive lately since news of the split between Dingdong Dantes and Karylle were confirmed. In a press presentation of the "One True Love" shoot in Parañaque, Marian kept on evading all the talk on what caused the breakup, which has obviously affected her. Amidst all of these, GMA-7 and its film partner Regal Entertainment seem happy with their prized love team. Our colleague, Marinel Cruz, reported: “Lumayo ka sa ‘kin. Kaya tayo nagiging topic ng tsismis,” Marian Rivera told on-screen partner Dingdong Dantes after a short session with photographers on the set of their upcoming movie, “One True Love.” The lensmen and a group of entertainment writers recently visited the set in Posadas Village, Sucat, Parañaque. The two lead stars had been filming there for a week, logging more than 18 hours a day. “Tama na ang mga sweet poses. Ayaw ko na ng tsimis,” Marian said, maybe just half in jest. That signaled the end of the 10-minute photo op. The photographers earlier requested Dingdong and Marian, in a royal blue mini-dress and silver-colored slippers, to sit beside each other— real close— on a bench by the village pool. Dingdong has been in the news lately after breaking up with singer-actress Karylle, his girlfriend of three years. People have been pointing to Marian as the cause. She has consistently, vigorously, denied this. Dingdong and Marian first teamed up in the top-rating Pinoy adaptation of the Mexican telenovela, “Marimar,” on GMA 7. The successful tandem was followed by another top-rating show, Mars Ravelo’s “Dyesebel.” “One True Love” is their first big-screen project, a co-production of GMA Films and Regal Entertainment. The actors were scheduled to shoot the honeymoon scene later that day. “Sasayawan nila ang isa’t isa,” director Mac Alejandre said of the scene. Marian hastened to add, “It’s just a fun scene. Mabuti hindi seryoso.” Alejandre said there were three other movie sets: a house in Tiera Pura, in Fairview, Quezon City, where most of the scenes with Iza Calzado were shot. Dingdong and Marian’s wedding scene were filmed at Fernbrook Gardens in Alabang, Muntinlupa. A Quezon City hospital was the venue, the director said, of a “touching scene that would reveal a big twist.” In “One True Love,” Dingdong plays Migs, a medical intern set to marry Joy (Marian), a nurse. Days before the wedding, however, his ex-girlfriend Bella (Iza) returns from the United States, single and still very much in love with him. Migs then figures in an accident and suffers from lacunar amnesia, the type that blocks out specific time periods from one’s memory. In his case, he can’t remember the three years he has been in love with Joy, leaving him only with memories of Bella. To Joy, this is unacceptable. She vows to make Migs remember, even if it means competing with Bella. At press time, filming was halfway through. Alejandre is confident that the movie will beat the deadline for its nationwide screening on Nov. 19. “I don’t think the fact that we’re rushing would have an effect on the outcome. We’re primed for this. Some of the best films were done in really short a time,” Alejandre explained. Dingdong and Marian chatted with the writers and TV crew over lunch at the village clubhouse. Both actors had fried chicken and spring rolls. Later, Regal Entertainment supervising producer Manny Valera, who was celebrating his birthday that day, turned up with cake and ice cream. Dingdong said he had been on the set for three straight days. “We are using one of the model units as the house that Migs and Joy share. The administrator forbade us to sleep in there. That was tough, especially on workdays that we finished filming at 3 a.m.,” said the actor, looking relaxed in a floral buttoned-down shirt, jeans and rubber slippers. Alejandre confessed that Dingdong and Marian were “sweet” on- and off-cam. “Their closeness doesn’t end when I say cut,” he added. “It begins when they arrive on the set and ends when they leave for home. I was part of the team that built the Marimar-Sergio tandem. This is something we had hoped for. We’re happy about this — even though people have other interpretations.” “One True Love” also stars Bianca King, Jennica Garcia, Pinky Marquez, Chinggoy Alonso, Tessie Tomas and Boots Anson-Roa.
Just over three months since signing a five-year talent management deal with producer “Mommy” Rose Flaminiano, Gabby Concepcion is now seeking to end their professional ties due to claims of non-transparency and contractual discrepancies. Through his lawyer Raymund Fortun, Gabby sent Mommy Rose a letter last week about his intention to sever ties if no settlement is reached. In an interview with ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz” on Sunday, Gabby revealed Mommy Rose’s habit of not disclosing details of the contracts for projects she had negotiated for the comebacking actor. Gabby mentioned he was kept in the dark on key details of a series of “22 shows” through November that Mommy Rose arranged for him. “Yun ang mga away na ginagawa namin na mula nung dumating ako. Yun ang di ko ngayon masabi. Ngayon lang pumutok kasi ilang buwan yon na nangyayari yon pero nung nakuha ko na yun bang sabi nga nila ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ nangyari yun nung August 22. Meron kaming usapan na kami ang gagawa ng...o ako ang gagawa ng mga shows. Sabi niya sa akin bakit ikaw pa ang maghihirap eh yung producer na lang ang gumawa ng shows. At least, babayaran ka sa talent fee mo. So wala ka pang headache. Meron kang 22 shows hanggang November. That’s approximately two shows a week. Pati yan iintindihin mo pa. So nakumbinsi ako. Sabi ko, huwag na lang. Pinapirma ako sa isang papel na meron akong na-receive na downpayment para doon sa 22 shows. So markado na yon. Nandoon yung presyo, nandoon yung date,” Gabby stressed. Gabby said Mommy Rose did not disclose that she was actively involved in the production of concert series. “Pagkatapos ng 15th, 16th there’s six days or seven days until the 22nd of August. On the 22nd day, meron akong nakitang kontrata. Yung kontrata na yon, nakalagay doon, and this is notarized, nakita ko yung producer at si Mrs. Flaminiano nag-co-venture para doon sa 22 shows. She did not disclose because she wasn’t transparent about those 22 shows na siya pala ang mag-ko-co-produce,” Gabby revealed. He also said that when he asked for a copy of the contract from the producer during one of scheduled shows in Tagaytay City last August 30, there was a discrepancy between the talent fee amounts in the contract that he signed and the notarized contract. “Doon ako sumama ang loob. Meron kaming show noon August 30 sa Tagaytay. Pagdating ko doon, eto ngayon yung kontrata. Sabi ko, I would like to see the contract for this show because wala akong kontrata. Nandoon siya. So nakita yung producer. Binigay sa akin yung kontrata. So nakita ko doon nga. May discrepancy doon sa kontrata with what I signed and what the contract says na hindi ko pinirmahan. Maliit na amount lang naman eh. P125,000 (ang nakalagay sa pinirmahan ko). (Ang nasa kontrata) P150,000,”” he said. Since then, Gabby said, he sought out Mommy Rose to meet and settle the issue. He claimed Mommy Rose had not showed up in all the meetings he requested. “Gusto ko siya kausapin. That night, di niya ako sinipot. The next day, sinabi ko sa kanya, through (an emissary), na kung pwede ko siyang kausapin para maayos na namin ito. Hindi na naman siya nagpakita. Nandoon kami sa Rembrandt,” the actor added. Gabby said he only wanted Mommy Rose to be transparent with him in all her dealings made in his behalf. “Ang point ko dito kailangan sabihin niyo lang sa akin. Sabihin niyo sa akin ano ang gagawin ko, saan, ano yung nakasulat sa kontrata. Nasaan yung kontrata ko? Kasi importante sa akin yung kontrata because I need to submit this to the BIR. Yun ang madalas kong sinasabi sa kanya. I need records,” he said. As he seeks to rescind his management contract with Mommy Rose, Gabby said can be personally contacted for any projects. “Kung tatanungin nila sino ang pwede naming tawagan, meron naman akong telephone number,” he said. Asked if Mommy Rose could still accept projects for him because of the five-year deal she and Gabby signed before the actor’s return to the Philippines, Gabby said he will further consult his lawyers. “Well yun na nga ang question na dapat harapin sa aking lawyer. Kasi kung tumatanggap pa rin siya ng tumatanggap, yun na nga ang nagiging problema namin kasi I’m not aware doon sa mga tinatanggap niya. Dapat makita ko muna,” Gabby said. For her part, Mommy Rose sent a statement to “The Buzz” saying all Gabby’s claims were “lies.” “Walang katotohanan ang mga pinagsasabi ni Gabby Concepcion. Ito ay pawang kasinungalingan at handa (akong) humarap sa media para sabihin ang buong katotohanan,” Mommy Rose said. Mommy Rose will appear on “The Buzz” this Sunday to air her side.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net I had the chance to visit local celebrity Nikki Gil's crib, which she calls her "humble abode." Over lettuce and onion salad her mother prepared, she spoke about how much she loves the spa and the overall Zen atmosphere it brings, the same feeling she hopes to invoke with her 2-storey home. Gil says that this personal sanctuary of hers has never been featured and hopes that through this video, she could share a piece of herself to the world. Nikki Gil rose to fame with her Coke commercial and to refresh the viewers, she sings acapella in the bathroom, with a couple of coke cans and bottles behind her. Here's the video: