She�s no longer the na�ve lass living near the sea and going around the barrio barefoot with a pet dog in tow. Neither is she the young woman gracefully swaying her hips to a Latin beat. This time, Marian Rivera will be seen anew on primetime TV plunging into the deep blue sea as a young mermaid when GMA-7 presents a remake of Mars Ravelo�s underwater fantasy story, Dyesebel, on April 28.
The role, initially portrayed by Edna Luna followed by Vilma Santos, Alma Moreno, Alice Dixson and Charlene Gonzalez on the big screen, requires Marian to undergo training with Marissa Florendo and the Philippine swimming team. She must know how to swim like a fish and move like a dolphin. Hence, she devoted five whole days just to perfect the style.
�This is challenging yet exciting. At first, it�s really hard to swim with a tail on. I can really feel its weight and cannot move well but constant practice really makes perfect. I slowly got used to swimming with a tail during the practice. Now I can swim with ease,� Marian says during the pictorial for the cast members in GMA-7�s Studio 3.
Proper breathing underwater is also a must for Marian and the other cast members so they won�t be gasping for air from time to time during tapings which will be shot mostly in the waters of Palawan and Anilao, Batangas.
And just like the real Dyesebel in the comics illustrations, Marian will go topless, the way Alice did when she played the role.
�I didn�t find anything malicious when I saw Alice topless in the movie. Wholesome pa din ang dating. I always tell everybody Dyesebel is topless and I will do it, too. Besides, I trust direk Joyce (Bernal, also her director in Marimar) that she will take care of me,� says Marian.
Dyesebel is equally exciting for Direk Joyce. It will be her first time to handle a telefantasya. She, too, is a komiks fan. This sparked her interest in directing the series with Don Michael Perez.
�The offer came during Marimar and I was fascinated. I never thought of myself catering to young televiewers. My kind of humor is not for kids, but then I said, why not, this is something new, something for my daughter,� direk Joyce offers.
Besides, there are lot of possible things and ideas she could come up with for the project that direk Joyce has not done yet even in movies.
However, the lady director won�t go beyond the original concept of the story. There will be some slight changes, character additions and a few twists and turns, but only to make the story more appealing to today�s generation. Even the colors of the tails (made of silicone) she suggested to production designer Rodel Cruz are far from dreary.
�We used a combination of violet and black for mermaids with dark characters. We wanted something colorful even for villain (roles),� direk Joyce says.
Settings and locations will also be a treat to televiewers as the telefantasya is set to display nature�s beauty and the underwater creatures.
�We will try to go to Tubbataha in time for the diving season to showcase some rarely-seen water creatures,� she shares.
But direk Joyce�s initial objective is to take away all the nuances of Marimar and Sergio in Marian and leading man Dingdong Dantes as the two might still show in Dyesebel and Fredo (Dingdong�s character).
�They attended an acting workshop just to strip off their old characters and to imbibe the new ones into their system,� direk Joyce says.
And if you think the likes of the evil Angelica in Marimar have all but vanished when she was eaten by a crocodile, you�re wrong. Her kind still roam the Earth. Some of them have found their way in Dyesebel like Dyangga (Mylene Dizon) and Berbola (Michelle Madrigal) who will make life doubly hard for Dyesebel in the underwater kingdom while Betty (Bianca King) is Dyesebel�s top tormentor when she transforms into a full human being. But Jean Garcia will be tamer this time as Lucia, whose past is connected with Dyesebel.
�I�m used to playing kontrabida but it doesn�t mean I won�t exert an effort anymore in portraying the role. I always make it a point to act differently each time so the character will leave a mark on televiewers,� Mylene says.
Watching Queen Elizabeth gave her some pointers on how to act and glamorously move like a queen. Mylene�s son Tomas loves watching fantasy series but she won�t allow him to see her treating her co-star �badly.� His young mind might not be able to draw the line between the real and the reel yet.
Does Marian find more challenge in dealing with not just one, but many villains?
�I love challenges. I take every project as a challenge and always work hard to give my 100 percent,� she replies.
Isn�t she worried about another set of intrigues that may tarnish her wholesome image?
�Intrigues are part of showbiz. People will always have something to say about you, whether you do good or bad. I just won�t mind them because there are more people who trust and really know me. My priority is work and I will just go on as long as I know I�m not stepping on anyone�s toes,� Marian replies.
Dyesebel also stars Lotlot de Leon, Ricky Davao, Alfred Vargas, Wendell Ramos, Rufa Mae Quinto, Luis Alandy, Kris Bernal, Aljur Abrenica, Paolo Ballesteros, Marco Alcaraz, Sheena Halili, Hero Angeles and Teri Onor.