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Shooting 'kissing, other intimate scenes' of 'Wish Ko Lang' stars still a go, but new normal-style

Shooting 'kissing, other intimate scenes' of 'Wish Ko Lang' stars still a go, but new normal-style

“Ang layo! Things were a lot different.”

That was how the stars of “Wish Ko Lang!” described returning to work and taping fresh episodes for the public service program’s September lineup, which “celebrates women’s strength and winning moments.”

Aside from protective equipment, tests and social distancing measures, the number of cast members and people on the set was also kept to a minimum. There were no talents or bit players—members of the production team themselves did the job when needed. “Nakakapanibago because you all have to wear masks and face shields. We have to follow protocols, social distancing. You can’t hug your director and coactors, even if you haven’t seen them in a long time. But of course, we have to do these for our safety,” Glydel Mercado told the Inquirer in a recent video conference.

“And there were only a few of us—artists, staff, crew—on the set,” added the actress, who starred in the GMA 7 show’s Sept. 5 episode “Nalunod,” where she played a mother who saved her children from a flash flood.

Rochelle Pangilinan of the Sept. 12 episode “Inaro” observed that taping in the new normal presents new challenges: Not only do the actors have to worry about their lines and getting into their characters, they also have to be mindful of their every move to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Before COVID-19, you only have your job to focus on… But this time, you become more fussy about things: ‘Is this dirty? Do I have to take this off? Should I put alcohol on this? Should I approach him. My God, he’s talking in front of me!’” she related. “There’s that added factor.”

The singer-dancer, who plays a woman who lost her job and becomes a fruit vendor because of the pandemic, added that rarely did she have to do scenes where she’s too close to her coactors. “Alaga kami. And if there’s a scene that requires us to get close, they talk to us first,” she said. “And we were all tested.”

“You need to trust your coworker, so you also need to do what’s necessary for them to trust you,” she pointed out. “We all have to be careful.”

Because the Sept. 26 episode, “Inilibing,” delves into domestic abuse and infidelity, having intimate scenes couldn’t be helped. But they were all simulated, said Vaness del Moral, who plays the other woman to the relationship of Jean Garcia’s and Adrian Alandy’s characters.

“My character is a kabit, and there were intimate scenes required. But since there are protocols and rules in place, we didn’t actually do them. The kissing scenes … dinaya po natin lahat ’yan. Those were the adjustments we had to make,” she said.

Also part of this month’s roster is the Sept. 19 episode “Nasunog,” which features Arra San Agustin, Thea Tolentino, Herlene “Hipon Girl” Budol and Juancho Triviño.

Excerpts from the virtual conference:

What compelled you to return to work?

Glydel: It has been about six, seven months since my last project, and I have really missed acting. I accepted this offer, because I liked the story.

Rochelle: When this was offered to me, I asked my husband (Arthur Solinap) if it was OK with him. And he said, “Can you do it? Will you be able to take care of yourself and go home safely.” I understand because we have a child (1-year-old girl Shiloh). And I said, yes… I was excited returning to work and seeing colleagues. But there was also fear because I have a family.

Vaness: Kailangan namin ng sweldo! I have also missed taping. I have grown tired of being stuck in our village. I wanted to see other people. I also asked for my husband’s permission. And he said, why not, as long as I take care of myself.

Has there been a point during this quarantine when you found yourself asking for help?

V: I will be the first to say that I’m a homebody. But what’s happening now is extreme. That’s why doing Zoom calls with loved ones, friends and family is a big help. It’s good to have someone talk to you and pray for you during these times.

I was stressed and had a hard time, especially at first. What more for people who have depression? So I’m asking for prayers and understanding for everyone.

R: My child had an accident and had a burn in her hand. It was just her hand, but she’s still very little. And we’re new parents, so we didn’t know how to deal with it. I really asked people for prayers, because I didn’t know where to turn to.We went to the hospital, with our baby, in the emergency room, which can be a scary place because of the pandemic. That was the most recent time I really asked for help.

G: I just keep on asking for prayers that this pandemic stops, so that we can return to our jobs and normal lives. A lot of people have lost their jobs and don’t have much savings. And I’m thinking of them.

Many celebrities have been doing charitable work amid the pandemic. Do you prefer showing, or not showing your efforts?

G: I’m not one to show that I’m helping. I don’t mind if people don’t know about the things I do, because I know, in my heart, that I’m doing something good for others… You don’t need to broadcast it. Because sometimes, it’s people you have helped who ends up telling others about your good deeds. And let’s all remember that, even if there’s no pandemic, we should always try to do something good…

R: It’s really up to the person. At the end of the day, God sees all the good things you do.

V: When celebrities show that they’re doing something to help, some people will say that they’re just trying to show off; others will appreciate their efforts. People will have different perspectives.

Let’s all just pay it forward. When it comes to helping others, it doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity or not. What’s important is that you’re doing it from the heart.