The make or break audition

Perhaps ONE of the most successful shows on Philippine TV during the 2000's. 

I just saw this on my officemate’s laptop and this was the role that made Marian Rivera what she is now. 

There are roles that can make and break people. During the early 2000's, Epi Quizon gained fame because of his role as the young Markova. Robin Padilla's bad boy image cemented his status as one of Philippine Cinema's biggest draws. In TV land, Judy Ann Santos gained success early in her career after playing a bunch of roles as the loser in life that you want to root for. 

Casting is such an important facet of telling a story. Whether it's TV, film, and even radio, you need to make people feel something with the story, the character, and the setting they are in. Sometimes the supporting cast outshine the lead roles. When this happens, you need to find a way for these actors to gain steam. Keempee de Leon's Bahay Mo Ba To character Harold had two spin-offs (Bongga Ka Star and Kung Ako Ikaw) while Joey Marquez has been doing his shtick since his Palibhasa Lalake days.  

I just found a bunch of actresses that tried hard to land the role of the legendary Marimar but if you look at it, Marian’s mestiza looks, gyrations, registry, and swagger are enough to give the others a humongous mismatch. Allegedly, Angel Locsin would have been the first option to don the frizzy hair, the sexy duster, the mangy dog Pulgoso, and the seashells but her move out of GMA opened the role for others. Marian was fresh off a mother role (as Ian de Leon’s wife) in the Jennylyn Mercado/Nadine Samonte starrer, Super Twins. Before that she had a bunch of daytime soaps... just after Daisy Siete I think.

Marimar is a worldwide hit. At the peak of Mexican Telenovelas, there was this barrio lass and she had a life filled with misfortunes. She likes to talk to his dog (her dog answers mentally) and she has this thing where she goes on a trance and then talks to the audience as if she’s doing a monologue. She is in love with Sergio Santibanez, a striker from some fictional Spanish football team. When her life was destroyed by Angelika and her minions, she vowed revenge to everyone that gave her pain... and that also included Sergio.

Marimar was one of the important shows in the Philippines in the 1990’s because it managed to destroy the norm during those times. Back then, primetime was all about weekly sitcoms, dramas, and movies. The PBA was still on top of the ratings as well. However, a daily series that got everyone talking trashing the threshold created by then-powerful TV Patrol was enough to change the landscape of Philippine TV. Thalia and Eduardo Capetillo had a couple of visits in the Philippines where they would do sold-out concerts. Bubble Gang even spoofed the series with Ogie Alcasid playing Sergio with a bunch of her in his chest and Michael V playing his best impersonation of Corazon

Thalia would do a remake of Ogie Alcasid’s Nandito Ako and would sing a catchy novelty tune called Chika Lang.

By the way, did you know that Marimar was also a remake of a 1977 telenovela called La Venganza

Because of the success of this primetime soap, daily dramas like Mara Clara and in a smaller extent, Villa Quintana (a GMA soap which stars Keempee de Leon and Donna Cruz) jumpstarted the current primetime viewing habits of Filipinos.  

This is why a bunch of actresses would go all out to move to the groove of that familiar Salsa-like tune. Dingdong Dantes, a familiar face in primetime because of his work in Atlantika and the Encantadia series, was tasked to do the reinvented version of Sergio Santibanez. He is also tasked to help the christened Marimar adjust to her role nicely. A no-namer could be overwhelmed with the attention and him being a veteran leading man, could help lessen the load. The problem the management faced was who among these beauties can do their best impression of Marimar.

In all obviousness, Marian Rivera was the only one capable to bring out the best from that role. She was a fresh face that rose from supporting roles that went all out to get the role. She defeated a ton of bets from both networks. If you look at some of the girls involved, they didn’t prepare as much as she did. She wasn’t pushed down to our throats. The only publicity Marian got was her audition that was converted to various file formats and is searched and played back constantly online. The heartfelt tears Marian gave then when she was thanking everyone for this one-of-a-kind opportunity made everyone fall in love with her.

And the aftermath? Well, I think we all know about the aftermath by now.

Game over.


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