What happens when not one, not two, but three or more amazing Gen Z actors star in a teleserye with a gripping narrative? Pure magic and acting brilliance – that’s what we get in the Kapamilya series “Senior High.”
The cast members of this campus mystery-drama also exude palpable chemistry on screen that we wonder what they’re like off-cam. In this episode of Kapamilya Chat, Kyle Echarri, Elijah Canlas, Tommy Alejandrino, and Gela Atayde share interesting behind-the-scenes kwento about their trending series.
The guests reacted to the intense support they’ve been receiving, prompting Elijah to reveal that fans are so invested he gets hated in real life. But he only takes it as validation of his performance, “Nakaka-flatter, nakakakilig kasi nararamdaman ko ‘yung support from the people. And that fact that they’re watching the show, nakakakilig.”
Just like Elijah, Tommy also plays a bad guy in the story, so it’s no surprise that he’s hated for his character Kenji as well. Kyle butted in, “At least, ibig sabhin nu’n effective ka.”
You’d know fans are so into the show when they send Gela private messages thanking her for defending Sky (Andrea Brillantes) in a recent episode. And everybody is so intrigued that people would come up to Kyle in public and ask, “Pinatay mo ba si Luna?” pertaining to Andrea’s other character in the series.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi rin po namin pwedeng sabihin kung sino’ng pumatay kasi hindi rin po namin alam,” Kyle added that they’d only get the updated script days before. The setup can be challenging, but at the same time, it forges stronger teamwork among the cast.
“Kailangan lang namin kumapit sa isa’t isa, mag-focus din sa mga sari-sarili naming character. It got to the point na kami ‘yung bumubuo ng kwento namin kahit hindi kasama sa eksena kailangan namin isipin,” Kyle mused. He added, “The beauty of the characters, sinasabi nga ni Direk Onat [Diaz] na lahat ng characters are grey. How the characters have their own depth, that’s the reason why each character is the way they are.” For instance, Kyle’s character, Obet, is a secret drug pusher on campus but he’s a loving and selfless grandson. Kenji, meanwhile, is appreciative of his classmates to the point that he does crazy things to be like them.
With the kind of brilliance these new-gen stars possess, youth is definitely not wasted on the young. They’re armed with passion, skill, and intellect so huge for their age. We mean, they boldly engage in intense acting sparring with screen veterans, and prove themselves to be at par.
One of Elijah’s most lauded scenes, for instance, is that revelation slash confrontation with Baron Geisler, who plays his dad. Asked his preparations, Elijah said that it required intense focus on his part, and even on Baron, who, believe it or not, still gets nervous before big takes. It involved collaboration as well. “Tinanong niya ako kung pwede niya ako batukan pero aalalayan niya,” Elijah rehashed. “Sabi ko, ‘Yeah, go! Maganda ‘yan!’ Naka-sampu yata siyang batok,” he laughed. “After the scene, lumapit siya agad, sorry siya nang sorry agad. Hindi naman masakit. Nakaktuwa lang na when you watch it parang totoo na.”
Elijah’s technique in acting involves finding something good to love about his character. In that way, he can inject realism into his portrayal, make the character appear human. Though it’s not that easy with Archie, he sees that the guy has big love for his sister, Z (Daniela Stranner), and that he will stick with her even in hell. Elijah admitted that he thinks Archie is getting too much, which is why he’s hoping for some character redemption in the end. “He’s a kid and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Gela might be lucky that she has more similarities than differences with Sanya, except for the part where Sanya stayed quiet despite the bad she saw on campus. However, as the story progresses, the role also gets more challenging. She cites her confrontations with Kenji (Tommy) and Gino (JK Labajo) as the most difficult scenes she’s done so far. She admitted to overthinking the scene and doubting herself. Thankfully, she can always run to her mom Sylvia Sanchez, who is also part of the series, for guidance.
What was Sylvia’s advice then? “She was like, ‘Re-read, go back to the story, re-read the script again and again, then, remember why you’re crying and why Kenji made you cry.’” Instead of taking it as pressure, Gela said that it’s actually a big help working with her mom. “She’d really be honest with me. Ayaw naman niya that I’d look dumb or something, so she’d really tell me if I’m doing the right thing. That’s why I like it that she’s there.”
Tommy is hated for that scene where he double-crossed Sky by giving her a cheat sheet in class. But, off-cam, he is loved by his castmates who are in awe of his natural gift as an actor. He’s so good that he could deliver without rehearsals. He and Andrea just let things flow in their scenes together.
There’s no doubt about it, the “Senior High” cast are BFFs off-cam. “Nasa sulok kami lagi. May isang sulok kami na kumpleto kaming lahat doon,” Elijah described what they’re like behind the scenes. “Ang heavy ng subject and themes na tina-tackle, heavy ‘yung mag scenes, but it’s been bearable and fun because of these guys,” he said they even love to hang out on set after pack-up time.
Just listening to their ‘kwento’ makes us miss all the fun that happens inside the classroom. As Tommy puts it, “Hindi ako nag-college pero parang sabi ni Lord, ‘Ito, mag-college ka tapos sila ‘yung classmates mo.’ So, I love my castmates.” He quipped, “I’m getting paid to pretend studying. That’s the best part.”
Asked which other character from the series they’d like to portray, they all picked the campus Queen Bee Z and they all agreed that Z is a vision of Direk Onat himself. “He painted how he wants Z to be,” shared Kyle. “’Pag ini-instruct niya nga si Daniela, may mga actions talaga na parang, ‘Direk, parang alter-ego mo ‘ata si Z. Parang gusto mong maging Z sa buhay mo,’”he said jest.
They’re also interested in the characters of Roxy (Xyriel Manabat), Poch (Miggy Jimenez), and Governor William (Mon Confiado).
“Marami pa pong mangyayari sa ‘Senior High’ na hindi n’yo akalain na mangyayari,” teased Kyle, adding that there’ll be more social issues to tackle that are relevant to the youth such as in recent episode where they revealed that Z has eating disorders.
Don’t miss an episode of “Senior High,” weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.