Ivana, Sam, Gerald, Jake & Jameson share challenges, learnings in doing “A Family Affair”

The hot and steamy drop of the “A Family Affair trailer has captured the attention of excited viewers all over the world.

Internet sensation Ivana Alawi, who is followed by millions online, shocked viewers in her first starring role in a teleserye as she shows off a different side of her prowess as an actress and sexiness as a woman. Her scenes with top actors Gerald Anderson, Sam Milby, Jake Ejercito, and Jameson Blake are sure to watch out for.

Before the complex family story melded with dark secrets begins airing in the Philippines and The Filipino Channel (TFC) abroad, the cast, along with directors Jerome Pobocan and Raymund Ocampo and Creative Manager Jay Fernando, recently graced ABS-CBN’s global mediacon for the series to answer the burning questions of viewers from outside the Philippines.

In the story, Ivana plays Cherry Red, a woman who grew up with the Estrella brothers (played by Sam, Gerald, Jake, and Jameson). Their relationships with each other as a family would be tested and the brewing love triangle of Cherry Red and two of the brothers will unveil major secrets.

Ivana entices viewers to stay tuned because the story will develop into more than just steamy scenes and edging fights. “Napakaganda ng kwento at napakagaling ng lahat ng cast,” she added.

Ivana, herself, was nervous given that it is her first teleserye, but she is very happy with the project because it holds various learning for viewers. Both Gerald and Sam agree that the show holds significant lessons as complicated family dynamics would be tackled. They even commend the show for fleshing out the relatable experiences and characteristics of each of their characters.

The three of them didn’t feel too much pressure in making the show a big hit, since what mattered to them more was giving their best.

Ivana, who churns out content on her YouTube channel regularly to entertain her viewers, prioritized the happiness of their audience rather than worrying about any heavy expectations.

Sam and Gerald, who have acted in previous teleserye hits, want to focus on the things they can control, which are their performance and camaraderie, because it will translate into a good show in the end.

Jay, the creative manager of the show, also shared that story-wise, they wanted to make a relevant plot of how deception and lies can poison a family. Cherry Red’s character is also significant to the core of the story. He said, “Central talaga character ni Cherry and how she will navigate a world where people are lying. Paano niya panghahawakan ‘yong sarili niya, mga paniniwala niya sa buhay kung napapaligiran siya ng kasinungalingan?”

And for such a role, Direk Jerome believes the role was perfect for Ivana. Aside from having the mass appeal to entice viewers, the characteristics of Cherry Red were tailor-made for her.

Since there is a rollercoaster of emotions that need to be portrayed on the show, Ivana admitted that polishing her acting was one challenge she encountered. Fortunately, her co-actors and directors were supportive and always ready to push her to be better. At the same time, she made sure to research and study her role well, too.

Jake, who is still relatively new in the industry like Ivana, also experienced similar challenges. It’s his first time playing a daring role and a character that explores dynamics with other family members. Adding onto that, he said his character Seb is very far from his personality. But he credited his previous roles in Marry Me, Marry You and The Broken Marriage Vow, which helped him get more comfortable with acting in various roles.

Sam, on the other hand, who has played a plethora of challenging roles, still found this one particularly new because he was able to delve deeper into the role of the eldest son, Dave, who has the responsibility of protecting the family and sacrifices in terms of choosing love or his family.

Gerald feels the same because he was excited about his character the whole time. He says he’s able to play around with it, pushing him to be better. Playing Paco, the second eldest, still held a lot of complex emotions in dealing with his brothers and struggles with love. He was also mindful of technicalities in the role, such as his character being a cowboy that would do rodeos. He ensured to be well-prepared and trained so that he had the right skills needed for the role.

Regardless of these challenges, Direk Jerome recognizes the talent of the cast and the chemistry they developed with each other. After all, Ivana, Gerald, and Sam build a romance in the story, so their love scenes needed that extra connection.

Direk Raymond agrees that it is all beautifully translated on screen, as evidenced by the trailer. It was really a good thing that Ivana and the four boys all bonded before taping, so they all already had a solid rapport and trust once they were acting with each other on set.

Given that this teleserye is a product of ABS-CBN after the shutdown, Gerald shared how the network continues to provide world-class shows like this. He said, “[ABS-CBN] has come a long way. Ang daming natutunan and mas na-improve na. There are only exciting times ahead.”

They also recognize its impact for OFWs. Gerald explained, “It gives them that feeling of home. It has always been a motivation for me to always produce the best quality shows and characters dahil alam ko ‘yong impact na nabibigay natin sa kanila, lalo na po sa mga OFWs natin.”

Sam added how their work as actors serving viewers worldwide gives him joy, saying, “When people are able to relate and connect with your character, for me that’s the fulfilling part.”

Moving onto more casual questions, Ivana shared that her co-stars surprised her with their warm and fun-loving personalities. She assumed they were very serious people, especially Sam and Gerald, but she later saw that they were funny and easy to hang out with.

When asked who she would kiss, marry, or slap among the four boys, she was game to answer. She said she would slap Jake because playfully teasing each other is always their thing. She would kiss both Sam and Gerald as she’s grown close to them over the filming of the series. For Jameson, who she fondly calls “baby boy,” she decided to choose kiss, too, but only on the cheek.

The directors and cast all shared their takeaways from the story before concluding the virtual event. Direk Jerome posed the question “Which is more important family or your partner?” for viewers to think about. Direk Raymond also kept it short and sweet by saying “no more lies” to deliver the gravity of hiding or twisting the truth, which will be explored in the series.

Jameson and Jake both said that the series also let them discover more about themselves as actors and pushed them to collaborate with the cast and crew more. Sam is also grateful for the opportunity and learned a lot from the story in terms of how the truth can really set you free. As for Gerald, he found his character’s fighting spirit inspiring and hopes viewers will, too. 

Finally, Ivana highlighted the beauty of the story and the quality and efforts of ABS-CBN and everyone involved in the project. She also promised that A Family Affair would offer a different family story with exciting twists along the way.

Catch A Family Affair soon on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z and iWantTFC.