No one can deny that Init sa Magdamag has set primetime on fire not only with its racy scenes and ensemble cast but more so with a plot that champions sensitive topics rarely touched on teleseryes. In real life, Gerald Anderson, Yam Concepcion, and JM De Guzman are likewise no fans of clichés and playing safe.
The trio bares so much honesty as they open up about resonating with their characters and the realities of love and relationships among others in this fan conference titled “Init Chronicles” hosted by Nicole Cordoves.
The Init sa Magdamag fever has reached an all-time high, and the show’s torchbearers are surprised yet happy with the warm reception. Overwhelmed, Yam said she did not expect such a wild reaction from the viewers, considering the show’s experimental theme. She is overjoyed, of course, that they are reaping the rewards of their hard work. Gerald agreed, adding that it was no joke mounting this kind of teleserye under new normal.
The intense reactions speak so well about the characters’ relatable struggles, the actors believe. Yam explained that ambiguous characters are essential for good storytelling and rousing empathy. They play roles that are flawed and very human, “In reality, the truth is wala namang tao na purely an angel and wala rin namang tao na purely evil. I think they’re a mix of both and because of that, people can relate to the characters more.”
The series is also a feast of love’s realities. It exposes the truth about married life, as Gerald mentioned, “’Pag tiningnan mo ang isa’t isa sa social media parang napakasaya, perfect but hindi naman tayo gano’n eh.” He added that Tupe, the doctor who is willing to make all kinds of sacrifices for love, is the most flawed character he’s ever portrayed.
Since anchored on human emotions, netizens’ reactions vary as well. Some are rooting for Rita (Yam) and Tupe (Gerald) while others opine that she’s supposed to fix her marriage with Peterson (JM). Some are incensed by the characters’ decision-making. Some comments, of course, are harsh and very personal. But, for the actors, it only makes them happy and proud. “That’s a good sign that they are affected by it. At least, nagagawa namin ‘yung trabaho namin nang tama at may purpose,” Yam related.
They also shared how they meticulously approach their characters and how they relate to their struggles. JM admitted that he used some parts of his past to guide him in his portrayal. “’Yung pinagdaanan ko mas malala, walang sinabi ‘yung pinagdadaanan ni Peterson. Napunta ako doon sa dilim, sobrang hopeless. So I know how it feels.” Not that it made it things easy, “Pero may nata-tap sa personal kong buhay while I was doing the role and ‘pag nata-tap siya, masakit pa rin.”
He believes that using real memories and emotions is inevitable, and that’s a real test of professionalism and maturity. On Peterson’s demons, JM maintained that humans will do anything in their powers to fill the voids within them, “we sometimes get it from other people, substance, trabaho,” to the point of obsession, “without knowing, you are being selfish and hurting the person already na sinabi mong mahal mo pero actually you just don’t love yourself enough kaya ka gano’n.”
In what seems like a clever coincidence, Gerald is also confronted by ‘ex’ problems in the series as his character bumps into his great love, who is now happily married. “Kung sa totoong buhay, you always go back to remembering na naging masaya kayo. You maintain the respect for each other kahit anong mangyari.”
But, respect doesn’t always mean being friends and getting involved in each other’s present lives. He advised Tupe, “Lumayo na siya kasi kita naman niya na mahal ni Rita si Peterson talaga. Mahal mo siya, hindi ka pa nakaka-get over sa kanya but use that energy in a positive way.”
It’s easier said than done, though, especially if destiny keeps on playing its tricks. “Pero iba ‘pag nasa harapan mo na ‘yung ex mo, nakita mo in the flesh tapos nakita mong nagyayakapan sila ng asawa niya sa harap mo. My advice is lumayo ka na,” said Gerald.
Among the three, Yam carries the most responsibility. This marks her first lead teleserye role and it also happens to be a reflection of women empowerment, depicted in Rita’s zigzagging journey. “Nakaka-pressure sa akin bilang babae kasi gusto ko rin ma-empower ‘yung mga kababaihan. Feeling ko meron tayong innate strength as a woman na we can surpass any circumstance or problem na dumating sa buhay natin.” Putting herself on Rita’s shoe, she asserted that a woman’s happiness boils down to her ability to choose for herself, “At kung anuman ang desisyon natin, kailangan panindigan natin.”
For the last part of the interview, Yam, Gerald, and JM entertained questions from their fans all over the world. Gerald talked about the challenges of new normal tapings, saying it can be draining to the actors but at the same time, it keeps them in character. However difficult, they are willing to go through all these for the sake of entertaining the viewers especially OFWs. He also added that it is his responsibility as an actor to imbue the audience with inspiration.
Fifteen years into his stellar career, Gerald keeps his fans interested by giving them something new in each project and by adding his personal touch to every portrayal.
Asked how he lets go of a character that’s dark and unpredictable, JM cited professionalism and caring for everybody on set, “You have to be aware na ‘yung paraan mo ng pagbibigay ng best is hindi maapektuhan ‘yung mga taong gusto din ibigay ang best sa paligid mo.” In terms of his character’s level of wretchedness, JM maintained that Peterson can be toxic and he can chain Rita’s soul by being overprotective but never to the point of wishing for her death.
For Yam, who continues to receive recognition for her impeccable performance in Halik, said there’s no pressure to outdo her performance in the said teleserye because she doesn’t even see herself the way others do. “Sa totoong buhay sobrang self-deprecating ako, parang hindi ko naman naiisip na magaling ako umarte. I look down on myself all the time.” She hopes to change this attitude and be kinder to herself. The pressure rather comes from carrying her first-ever lead role. Well, the high praises and the show’s popularity speak so well about Yam being on the right track.
Yam, Gerald, and JM said they are just warming things up. More burning plot twists are coming, so don’t miss an episode of Init sa Magdamag on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.