Apart from its groundbreaking plot, Init sa Magdamag also boasts an ensemble of top-notch artists masters in playing multifaceted, unconventional roles. Joining Gerald Anderson, Yam Concepcion, and JM De Guzman on the show are the likes of Albie Casiño and Kate Alejandrino, who play Rita’s (Yam) barkada.
Albie breaks free from his past ‘macho’ roles to play Rita’s gay friend, Raymond Choi, in Init sa Magdamag. The hunk actor said it was no sweat for him. After all, he’s etched some gay roles in the past and even won an accolade for it. Director Raymond Ocampo also helped him pull it off.
Albie revealed that he is supposed to play a guest role until the creatives decided to keep his character. That’s when it became a bit challenging for him as he suddenly needed to build Raymond’s persona. “’Yung character ko, hindi siya masyadong fleshed out sa script. Hindi nakalagay doon kung ano ‘yung pinanggalingan ko. At first, hindi nga namin alam kung anong trabaho niya. Kailangan ko ‘yun i-build for myself.” Thankfully, Direk Raymond was there to help and is open to Albie’s ideas.
In the case of Kate, she just had to follow what’s on the script. She would also collaborate with the production about Meggy’s nuances and antics. She worked more on building rapport with Yam and Albie’s characters. But it was easy as well because she’s been friends with him. Yam was also easy to get along with.
“She’s so nice. She’s so real. She’s so generous as an actor na ‘pag kaeksena ko siya, palagi akong naluluha kahit hindi naman kailangan. Titingnan mo lang ‘yung mata niya, sobrang may laman,” she said of her new ‘best friend.’
Kate and Albie believe that as actors, they have to put themselves in their characters’ shoes, which is why they resonate with them in some way. “Imposibleng hindi ka makaka-relate sa character because ikaw ‘yan, eh. A great actor once told me na if you build one hundred percent of a character and you don’t put twenty percent of yourself in that character, nagsisinungaling ka, eh,” shared Albie. And that great actor he quoted is none other than JM.
Albie said they breezed through working on the show. He credits the stars’ combined acting skills and the lock-in setup. “Masaya itong show na ‘to kasi lahat marunong umarte. At pagdating mo sa set, in character na agad.” He recalled a day when Kate told him it’s alright to make mistakes and he didn’t have to apologize non-stop. But for Albie, it would be extremely embarrassing to slip up because everyone was always on point.
From where Albie left off, Kate added that they had a professional and encouraging environment. It would be impossible to slack off because the lead stars themselves bring on their best efforts. “They are not joking. Si Yam, Gerald, JM, they come on the set prepared. Sa first take pa lang, binibigay na nila. So, siyempre ayaw mong maging cause of delay kasi hindi mo nakuha nang tama. Nakaka-pressure! You have to put you’re A game talaga.”
While working on a new normal has its cons, such as emotional fatigue, Kate and Albie would still prefer the new set-up. Albie mentioned that it was easier to be in character. Even the homesickness contributes to their emotional performances, “Kasi totoong nami-miss mo na ‘yung pamilya mo. Pero mas gusto ko ‘to. Feel ko talaga I’m at work. ‘Yung gear mo laging naka-on.”
He added that actors are less distracted, taking for example the usual Friday night shindig pre-pandemic, “Tatawag ‘yung kaibigan mo, ‘Albie, labas naman tayo.’ Imbes na taping ‘yung nasa utak mo.” However, he also saw the production’s stress in dealing with all the protocols.
They are extra lucky because they’re in an outdoor location, thus the fresh air and homey feels. According to Albie, they filmed in Tanay. Albie compared the lock-in experience in a province and the city, and he said he prefers the countryside.
In light of the show’s theme anchored on passionate love, we asked Albie and Kate how to keep the romance burning. The hunk actor laughed, owning up to his past relationship mistakes. “I’m not really the best person to ask about this kind of stuff. I have a problem. There’s something wrong with me,” he said, poking fun at himself.
Now that he’s older and wiser, Albie learned that effort keeps the love burning. His recent relationship lasted four years and they even lived together. But it still came to an end, and he now realized why, “Hindi na ako ume-effort masyado noong tumagal na. Talagang masasanay ka kasi sa tao, eh to the point na siya na ‘yung nagsasabi, ‘Date naman tayo.’ Imbes na sunduin mo sa work, magbo-book ka na lang ng ride. Wala, eh. Kampante ka na, eh.” The lesson, therefore, is to nurture the relationship even as years go by. You can’t just sit around and expect love to grow on its own.
Kate, on the other hand, believes love keeps burning by giving each other space and freedom. “Not really spending time 24/7 together. Do things that you would like to do. Achieve things for yourself also. May freedom pa rin tayo to grow as ourselves.”
Catch Albie and Kate in Init sa Magdamag, weeknights on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.