“The Broken Marriage Vow” landing on Zanjoe Marudo’s lap may be called pure serendipity, arriving at a time when he was feeling down and quite lost due to the pandemic and ABS-CBN shutdown. Now he’s just excited, and a bit pressured, to finally let the whole world see the masterpiece they shot entirely in Baguio City.
In a solo virtual media conference, Zanjoe gave a little background of his character in the series. And the way he talked about it would convince you that there’s more to David Ilustre than being tagged as a cheating husband. Zanjoe made sure to study the man’s psyche – why he cheated, why he was insecure, why he’s always ‘gigil’ and so on.
David hails from a clan of successful architects in Baguio. He took on that same route by starting at the bottom. That would explain the rugged look in the beginning until he slowly made a more decent name for himself, although deep inside is a pinch of insecurity over wife Dr. Jill Ilustre (Jodi Sta Maria)’s illustrious career. That insecurity, among other factors, would spark his biggest sin.
If you’re wondering if Zanjoe has ever fallen in love with two different women at the same time, the answer – fortunately – is no. Although this made the character a bit difficult to portray, as he couldn’t relate to David, Zanjoe took his assignment diligently. He researched about male ego and narcissistic behavior and chatted with buddies who apparently had the same experience as David.
He also watched the original BBC drama “Doctor Foster” where this Kapamilya series is based from and the wildly popular Korean version, ”The World of the Married,” just to familiarize himself with the story flow.
“Pinanood ko siya hindi para kumuha ng tips o style. Pinanood ko siya para hindi ko uilitin ‘yung ginawa na nila. Kasi siyempre magkakaiba kami ng lahi, magkakaiba kami ng kultura, so gusto kong ipakita ‘yung atake ng isang Pilipino.”
From his research and takeaways from real-life experiences of other people alongside collaboration with the creatives and his co-stars, Zanjoe was able to put himself in David's shoes. Director Connie Macatuno, of course, was a big help. They’ve already shared other projects before so it was easier working on this teleserye.Zanjoe believes in Direk Connie’s vision about the series and he admires her fresh ideas.
He said the cast, whom he called “hulog ng langit,” had powerful effects on his performance. They’re a bunch that understands the give-and-take and team spirit needed in mounting a teleserye. Case in point: Zaijian Jaranilla throwing lines with him to help sustain his emotions.
“Ang lalim! Wala pa akong nakitang bata na gan’un ang atake, gan’un mag-isip at mag-prepare. May isang eksena na tapos na namin gawin, then, uulitin ko ‘yung umpisa at dulo. Mahirap ‘yun ah, ‘yung nasimulan mo na tapos magja-jump ka sa dulo. Ang galing ng Zaijian. Lumapit sa akin, sabi niya, ‘Kuya Z, kahit wala ng camera, ulitin natin ‘yung ginawa natin kanina para pagbalik mo sa loob, nand’un ka sa emosyon mo kanina.’ ‘Di ba? Sinong bata ang makaka-isip ng gan’un?” he shared about the former child star.
Zanjoe touched on a pivotal scene of domestic abuse between David and Jill witnessed by their son Gio (Zaijian). To give you an idea of its intensity, the actor was shaking just looking back. It was deeply traumatizing, too heavy that they couldn’t easily let go of the emotions. The good thing is Jodi made him feel comfortable and it was filmed at the latter part of their lock-in.
He also mentioned how Sue Ramirez will add fresh, feisty energy in the series and he thought she’s perfect for the role as the mistress Lexi Lucero.
Since stuck in a bubble, keeping the portrayal consistent was easier. For Zanjoe, it was an advantage, although they would still need to unload once in a while. He’d chat with his co-stars to let go of the heavy emotions. Jodi, a certified acupuncture detoxification specialist, brought her needles to perform acupuncture on her co-stars as a way of releasing their stress and tension.
He knew he’d be hated and cursed portraying this role. Invested in the character, however, Zanjoe had a goal to present the way cheaters and abusers think. This isn’t to say that he wants them vindicated, because in reality, he would condemn such acts, “Hindi pa rin ako papabor… Hindi pwedeng patawarin ‘yung gan’un lalo na sa kultura nating mga Pilipino. Hindi acceptable lalo na ‘yung mga nananakit.”
The goal is just to give explanation for their behavior, “Sana kahit katiting ay maintindihan nila ‘yung character ni David, kung saan siya nanggaling at kung bakit siya umabot sa gan’ung klase ng sitwasyon. Kasi wala namang masamang tao. Kumbaga, experiences at sitwasyon ang nagiging dahilan kung bakit sila ganito ngayon.” He mentioned that Susan Africa as David’s mom is a crucial character in the story to establish the guy’s ‘neater’ side.
On the lesson gleaned from his portrayal, Zanjoe said he already understands the consequences of cheating that have adverse effects on children involved. “Ang pinakamasakit dun ay kung paano maaapektuhan ‘yung anak n’yo. ‘Yung pagdadaanan niya sa paglaki niya, ‘yun ang nakakatakot, eh. Hindi kami ni Jill ang talo, kundi si Gio.”
He therefore believes men, or anyone caught up in a complicated love situation, can’t simply “follow their hearts” especially if there are kids involved, “Lalo na kung may pamilya ka na at may anak ka na, hindi ako mag-a-agree na iwan mo ‘yun.” However, he clarified that there are other factors to look into and it’s a case-to-case basis for the most part. “Nasa sa’yo na kung paano mo iha-handle. Itutuloy mo ba o iisipin mo ‘yung mga taong matatapakan mo?”
To cap off the interview, host Gretchen Fullido asked Zanjoe’s New Year’s resolution or wish and the actor had a meaty answer, hinting at his goal to prioritize his romantic life this year.
“Maganda naman ang mga nangyayari sa career ko. In-embrace ko na ‘yung mga blessings sa buhay ko. Pero sana sa 2022, ang ma-embrace ko naman sana ay ‘yung magiging Mrs. Marudo,” he smiled.
Catch Zanjoe in “The Broken Marriage Vow” starting January 24, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z. The much-anticipated Kapamilya teleserye also stars Jane Oineza, Joem Bascon, Art Acuña, Rachel Alejandro, Bianca Manalo, Empress Schuck, Ketchup Eusebio, and Angeli Bayani together with Ronnie Lazaro and Susan Africa.