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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Marian Rivera: Brightest Star of 2007

After almost six months of non-stop shooting and taping, Marian Rivera was finally able to take a well-deserved break last Christmas and spend the day with her family (meaning her grandmother Francisca Rivera, her mom Amalia Mallari Rivera, cousins and other relatives) in Cavite, coming out of the free-wheeling holiday with a little bruise at the tip of her lip.

“Nagharutan kami ng pinsan ko,” Marian hastened to explain, referring to her equally playful female cousin, before anybody would conclude that somebody else (a guy, maybe?) bit her. “It was a fun day and I enjoyed it so much.”

Being the hottest property and busiest star of GMA today, Marian is forever on her toes, taping for the top-rating Marimar (which has been toppling the competition as an intensity-8 temblor would tall buildings) and shooting two movies (Desperadas and Bahay Kubo, entries in the ongoing Metro Filmfest, both by Regal Films) simulateneously, Marian could hardly have time for herself — and her family — these days.

Funfare caught her the other day at the spacious lobby of Stotenberg Hotel in Clark, Pampanga, which passes for Villa Santibañez on Marimar, shooting some scenes with leading man Dingdong Dantes (a more dashing Sergio than Fernando Capetillo in the original Mexican telenovela on which the GMA soap was based) and guest star Dr. Hayden Kho (yes, Dr. Vicki Belo’s beloved). That’s where Marian showed us the bruise on her lip.

She was as charming as ever, so relaxed and seemingly tension-free, showing not the slightest sign of wear and tear from her punishing schedule. She has also just started shooting a yet untitled Valentine movie with Richard Gutierrez with whom, you guessed it, she will surely be romantically linked as soon as the promo starts, just as she is now with Dingdong Dantes.

“Dingdong and I are just good friends,” insisted Marian who is aware that Dingdong is happily going steady with Karylle. “We have become so close and so comfortable that we confide in each other.”

Is she so busy that she doesn’t have time for love?

Marian simply smiled, refusing to talk about a La Sallite said to be her real boyfriend.

“Basta, my focus is on my career,” she said, trying to divert us away from asking further about her “mysterious” love life.

In Desperadas, she realized her dream of finally starring with Ruffa Gutierrez, Rufa Mae Quinto and Iza Calzado. No, it’s not true that she bumped heads with Ruffa (who also denied it) over the billing.

Neither did she mind being a second choice for the role (originally intended for Ruffa who took the role originally meant for Pops Fernandez who bowed out of the project). “What’s important is that I got the role,” she said.

In fact, Marian was the second choice for Marimar which was first offered to Angel Locsin who politely turned it down because she was then set to bolt GMA for ABS-CBN where, so far, she has remained a “frozen delight.” Angel’s loss turned out to be Marian’s gain. Marimar has turned her into an overnight sensation and the year’s brightest star, the new Queen of Soap by virtue of Marimar’s mind-blowing, high rating (49.5 percent being its highest).

Bahay Kubo marked her first time to work with Maricel Soriano, her idol, and Marian could never forget her first shooting day consisting of a dramatic confrontation scene with Maricel.

“I felt like a winner,” said Marian.

Inevitably, besides being linked to Dingdong, Marian is likewise being pitted against Katrina Halili, her rival for Sergio in Marimar. Again, Marian is unruffled.

“I can’t do anything if some people don’t like me,” she said. “What they say is true. You can’t please everybody and you shouldn’t try.”

Asked if she’s ready to go sexy the way Katrina did on FHM mag, Marian said, “No, not yet.”

Despite persistent reports that her next project once Marimar ends its runs in March next year might be either Darna or Dyesebel, or both (one after the other, of course), Marian doesn’t confirm anything just yet.

“If ever,” she said, “I’d be happy to do either of the two. I can’t make a choice which one.”

If she plays Dyesebel (which has been played by, among others, Edna Luna, Eva Montes, Vilma Santos, Alice Dixson and Charlene Gonzalez), Marian will have no choice but to go topless (mermaids don’t wear a bra, do they?).

“It’s okay,” said Marian. “Anyway, she has long hair which will cover what shouldn’t be seen. That’s the ‘sexiest’ I am ready to do so far.”

This time last year, Marian (discovered via that Skyflakes TV commercial which shows her in a rain-drenched car with her two-timing boyfriend) was just a pretty face in GMA soaps, until middle of the year when she zoomed to stardom playing the role that made Mexican actress Thalia (now married to former Sony Music boss Tony Mottola) a superstar in the Philippines.

How has Marimar changed her life?

“Everywhere I go,” said Marian, breaking into a bedimpled smile, “people call me Marimar.” (She fits the role to a T because she is part-Spaniard and spent part of her childhood in Spain.)

Has Marimar gone to her head?

“Touch my head,” she joked. “Has it grown any bigger?”[source of news]



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