VETERAN performers Nora Aunor and Cherie Gil play grandmothers in the GMA drama Onanay. While this is not a new role for Ms. Aunor who essayed the role of Kris Bernal’s grandmother in another teleserye, Little Nanay, and is a grandmother in real life, this is all new for Ms. Gil.
“Playing Helena opposite Nora Aunor as Nelia and being directed by Gina Alajar is what makes this project special and unique,” said Ms. Gil. “Though I play the antagonist once again” — Ms. Gil is best know for her contrabida (villain) roles — “it touches on the deep love of a mother. Through the story I have the opportunity to express my character in a more human way though feisty. As any mother would probably be to protect her children at any cost,” Ms. Gil told BusinessWorld in an online interview.
“The big difference, I think, is that I am basically the grandmother to Natalie. This is a first for me. I don’t even have grandchildren in real life! Though as the story flows, that fact becomes a blur since Natalie recognizes me as her mother who raised her.”
Working in television is gruelling, with long hours spent waiting between takes. It is the company that can make all the difference in a happy set.
“We always look forward to seeing her on the set,” said Onanay’s Senior Program Manager Helen Sese about Ms. Aunor. “She is respectful towards the cast and crew, and is always a source of joy on the set. Sometimes, she would initiate a game, say by giving a quiz to the crew, then she would give a prize. She’s fun to be with.”
“Mababait at masaya ang mga kasama ko, kaya enjoy kami dito,” the superstar told BusinessWorld during a break on the show’s set.
“Magaling ang mga artista. Si Onay, magaling na artista. Magaling si direk Gina [Alajar] at si direk Aya [Topacio, 2nd unit director] (The staff and crew are nice and cheerful, we enjoy ourselves on the set. The actors are good. Onay [Jo Berry], is a good actress. We have skilled directors on set, both Gina and Aya).”
“Masaya ako na na naisipan nila akong kunin uli sa teleserye (I’m happy that they thought of tapping me for another teleserye),” said Ms. Aunor. — S.C. Agbayani