A true talent emerges whatever it takes.
There may be a lot of stonewall hurdles, challenges but RK Bagatsing proved nothing could stop his rise because of his craft rarely witnessed in the industry.
And, when after he stepped into the set of Wildflower, that immense character he played—one of the centerpiece roles key to the riveting revenge narrative—may be downright Quixotic at first, given his relatively fledgling stature. Yet his monumental portrayal of the multifaceted, hated yet endeared Arnaldo in Wildflower was monumental, a breakthrough destined for his unquestionable brilliance.
But faced with a daunting task—sharing scenes with acting luminaries such as Tirso Cruz III, Aiko Melendez, and the breathtaking lead star Maja Salvador, and portraying that difficult role—he had to deliver, no matter what.
“Before we started Wildflower, you do a lot of preparation but ‘pag nasa set ka na, do’n mo lang marerealize na di pa rin pala enough ang preparation mo,” RK tells ABS-CBN.com in an exclusive interview. “So may mga iba akong kilalang actor, in general, they wanted to get it right kaagad e. but I think we have to give yourself permission to fail, to commit mistakes, to really open yourself into admitting na there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
There was a time when he thought his character would be “killed” early in the series because of the numerous thespic setbacks he encountered.
“I was actually convinced na papatayin na nila (ang character ko) because I couldn’t get it right,” RK recalled. “I mean lagi akong principal’s office and they’re telling me to level up with Tirso Cruz, Aiko. Magkakasama kayo sa isang eksena pero nawawala ka. Ang hina. We need more from you.”
But being the innate talent that he is, RK refused to give up and instead roll with the punches. He made it a point to improve his performance taping day after taping day, internalize his character more, and learn from his co-actors.
“It wasn’t easy, hindi rin kaagad, so talagang it took a lot of hardwork and observations sa mga kasama mo,” he added.
Clicked at the right time
Eventually he clicked at the right time, when the story highlighted his character that drew much attention from viewers. Being one of the despicable Ardientes who Ivy Aguas lured to her web of vengeful rage, Arnaldo was a tragic, abominable, loathed yet identifiable man who just happened to love a woman of his dreams. But then it led to his heartbreaking end.
Amid all the scenes he took part in, when netizens and audiences from all over the world praised him for his impeccable, deep portrayal, it had to come down to that gripping, intense final confrontation with the now transformed Lily Cruz who had just married his brother Diego at their honeymoon. This was that farewell scene for the ages, as viewers gasped, screamed, and wept as Arnaldo realized his fate facing the vengeful woman that he truly loved saying she or anyone else for that matter would never love a demon and criminal like him.
And while this episode was airing on Tuesday, January 23, RK was watching in a viewing party prior to the interview wherein we witnessed how he reacted to each gripping frame of the monumental scene.
“I saw the scenes earlier and it had some flashback from the beginning. It dawned on me on how crazy the whole journey was, ups and downs, rollercoaster,” RK stressed. “Part of me medyo relieved na tapos na kasi feeling ko na pigang-piga na ‘yong brain cells ko how to go about.”
While it was fulfilling, playing Arnaldo he said was exhausting and strenuous.
“Kasi what, 10 days, 15 days you work on a character and then you execute, okay na but to sustain such energy like to one year medyo grabe pala sa emosyon, grabe pala sa utak. Minsan di mo na namamalayan na may mga move ka outside work na ganun na pala because masyado kang invested do’n sa ginagawa mo,” RK revealed.
But RK said it was all worth it.
“Overall, in terms of how the people reacted to the role, how they embraced the role, I’m overwhelmed, I’m so thankful for the opportunity given to me by ABS-CBN and RSB Drama Unit,” he declared.
As an actor, RK said Arnaldo made a tremendous impact to his craft.
“I think ‘yung growth, marerealize mo lang after the scene, na parang after those scenes, you were able to build your confidence. And I think that’s the biggest part of an actor because you’re known out there and you need to be vulnerable to a lot of opinions. You have to be confident and forget about fear,” he emphasized.
“Dito kay Arnaldo, I took a dive do’n sa mga eksenang ‘yon. With the help of my directors, I was able to pull it off and nabigyan ako ng confidence. Once you build your confidence though experience, you can do everything,” RK added.
One particular co-star RK holds in high esteem is Maja, who he said breathed life into Arnaldo’s phenomenal character with her own spectacular performance as Ivy and Lily.
“Feeling ko, Arnaldo wouldn’t be a hit without the Ivy Aguas. So a big thank you for Maja for being so generous sa lahat ng eksena namin. For being so talented, for being her,” RK noted.
What’s next for RK after portraying a character that has catapulted him to widescale acclaim? It is surely one bright journey ahead. For now he said he would not limit his options with regard to possible characters he would play—maybe rom-coms, traditional drama, action or comedic roles, not only the crazed, despotic kind.
“Ayokong ikahon ‘yong sarili ko sa idea. Gusto ko lang maging open to any role and learn from it.”