Rita Avila on keeping a ‘work-mode’ attitude with husband-director FM Reyes on the set of Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin

Those who love to be with their spouse 24/7 might be envious of Rita Avila as she co-works with husband-director FM Reyes for Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin under ‘new normal’ lock-in taping. While the setup sounds perfect, the veteran actress would admit its downsides.

First things first, they place high value on professionalism. Rita doesn’t receive special treatment as one may think. He calls her ‘Ms. Rita’ or sternly ‘Rita Avila’ on the set.

They make sure to clearly define their roles. She reports for work as an actress, and not a wife. “Bibitiw ka sa pagiging misis, eh. Kailangan artista ang nando’n sa harapan niya. So, bibitiw ako na hindi ko siya asawa, direktor ko siya sa set. Na-discipline naman namin ‘yung sarili namin na ‘pag nasa set talaga, it’s pure work, walang, ‘Uy! Asawa kita, huwag mo akong ganyanin!’ Walang gano’n talaga,” said Rita.

People may assume that co-working with her husband makes things easier but it doesn’t. It even makes her feel more tensed and pressured. She described the feeling as, “nerbiyos na ang hirap mag-perform sa harapan ng asawa mo.”

Adding more to her apprehensions is playing a bad woman in the series, for she’s known to be so jolly, friendly, and bright in real life. Besides, kontrabida roles require gargantuan emotions typically of pain and anger.

“Takot ako mag-kontrabida kasi ang daming sinasabi tapos ‘yung energy, kailangan laging mainit ang ulo mo. Kung sa totoong buhay masaya ka, talagang magkakarga ka kasi salbahe ka dito,” she added.   

The veteran actress described her character, Belen, as a complicated woman longing for love yet always left broken. And this imbalance laced with isolation results in poor, aggressive choices.

Besides, Belen carries glamour as part of her kontrabida arsenal, in contrast to Rita’s simplicity off-cam. She isn’t sure if people would believe but Rita swears she can be shy at times.

“Lagi akong pinaaalalahanan ng ating mga director na ‘yung posture kailangan proud ka, hindi ka magpapatalo. ‘Yung gano’n na reminders kasi nakakalimutan ko. Kasi sa totong buhay, hindi naman ako ganyan. So, pagka-cut, gusto ko ‘yung natatawa ako kasi ang pangit, eh, nega,” shared the award-winning actress.  

Therefore, it can be said that her effective portrayal is simply a product of raw talent, years of experience, and the humility to still thirst for learning.

Rita was a fan of Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin before joining the cast for its second season. In awe of everyone’s superb performances, she doubted herself and wondered if she can keep up with the cast. That’s why she felt pressured and nervous during the early days of taping.

“First time kong makatrabaho silang lahat except for Maricel. Watching them na ganu’n sila ka-grabe umarte, kaya ko kaya? Lahat sila matatalinong artista, eh. Alam mong pinag-iisipan nila ‘yung character nila, ‘yung pagbitiw ng salita nila,” she admitted.

Rita continued, “Tapos nu’ng nandoon na ako sa set, warm naman silang lahat, very nice, so nag-adapt naman agad. Wala namang feeling na hindi ako accepted sa group. Masaya at komortable agad.”

The lock-in setup called for more adjustment. It was scary and uncomfortable at first but they eventually coped with the situation. Now, they can even focus on its advantages such as earlier pack-up time.

Rita feels honored to share scenes with Maricel Soriano even if it involves sharp slaps and intense confrontations. They’ve been friends for long, which is why it doesn’t get awkward on the set. They even tend to laugh a lot before switching to their characters for face-off scenes. Maricel made sure not to hurt Rita in a recent slapping scene, thus calling it “the friendliest slap of the Diamond Star.”

You may call her names or hit the television sets to release the ‘gigil’ over Rita’s viciously evil character. That would only validate her effective, stunning performance as Belen. She’s happy to infuriate the viewers because that is her job. Rita will eagerly take all the hate in the world like trophies of recognition.

Watch Belen step up her wickedness in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, created by Dindo C. Perez and Julie Anne R. Benitez and directed by FM Reyes and Avel Sunpongco, airing every Monday to Friday on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live and A2Z.