In the more than her three decades in showbusiness, Carmina Villarroel has had her share of doing shocking scenes in the various roles she plays on television.
In the GMA-7 prime-time series Widows’ Web, Carmina portrays Barbara Sagrado-Dee, a refined and well-mannered widow who comes from a rich family.
The story reveals that Barbara actually has a young lover named George (Mike Agassi), and he happens to be the coach of her son Jed (Anjay Anson).
When the affair between Barbara and George is revealed, many speculate that this may be connected to the mysterious death of Alexander Sagrado III (Ryan Eigenmann), whose killer is yet to be revealed.
Carmina’s role calls for many kissing and flirting scenes with Mike.
In an exclusive Zoom interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the producers and creators of Widows’ Web said Carmina did not have any hesitations about portraying a rich woman with a young lover.
According to GMA's assistant vice president for drama Helen Sese, Carmina is very much taken by the show.
Helen explained, “Dahil professional si Mina at dahil sobrang gustung-gusto niya itong Widows’ Web, open na open siya.
“Wala siyang apprehensions kung ano yung ipapagawa sa kanya ni Direk Phi at ni Direk Jerry. In-embrace niya yung character niya as Barbara.”
Direk Jerry is Jerry Lopez Sineneng, the main-unit director of Widows’ Web, while Direk Phi is Philip Lazaro, the show’s second-unit director.
Executive producer Kaye Atienza-Cadsawan remarked, “Love na love niya itong Widows’ Web!”
RJ Nuevas, Widows’ Web creative manager and veteran screenwriter, has a story that will prove Carmina’s love for the show.
He revealed, “Mina was presented with two concepts. Itong Widows’ Web ang pinili niya.
“Hindi ko na sasabihin yung isang concept, pero ito ang pinili niya to think na mas matagal pa itong itinape kaysa doon sa isang pinagpilian niya!”
But actually, Carmina almost did not make it to Widows' Web.
At the time of casting for the show, Carmina was still doing the mini-series The End of Us with Zoren Legaspi. It aired for three weeks in December 2021.
In the present set-up, GMA-7 is being careful about assigning projects to its artists, making sure they won't appear in overlapping series or would appear immediately in another show without having a break.
The producers of Widows' Web had to ask top management to allow Carmina to move to this project immediately after The End of Us.
Helen said, "Ipinagpaalam pa nga namin iyan kasi si Carmina is already with The End of Us 'tapos tatawid sa amin.
"Buti pumayag yung management na segue siya from one show to another."
CARMINA’S "KERENGKENG" SCENE WITH MIKE AGASSI
In Widows’ Web, Barbara has a scene having a stolen moment with George inside her room to celebrate their anniversary.
George first gives Barbara his anniversary gift: a Fitbit watch.
Barbara then teases him about making love by showing her leopard-printed nightgown.
George starts kissing Barbara and soon strips down to his white briefs.
The steamy moment is interrupted by Hillary's (Vaness del Moral) knocking to call Barbara for dinner.
Clad only in his white briefs, George runs to the terrace to avoid being seen by Hillary.
The next scene shows Geore dangling from a railing with Elaine in the scene!
Although nothing very intimate and sensual happened in the scene, Carmina had to wear a nightgown and bare some skin.
Mike also had to kiss Carmina’s neck to make the steamy moment more believable.
During the Zoom interview, PEP.ph asked director Jerry Lopez Sineneng how he convinced Carmina to do the scene.
Direk Jerry admitted, “Pinaghandaan ko iyan, e. Paano ko ba iko-convince si Mina sa mga eksenang may kerengkeng siya at kumikikay-kikay?
“Alam mo, I didn’t have to do anything, nag-blocking-blocking lang kami and no convincing needed.
"Kasi, I think, when Carmina commits to a role, and I’ve known her for a long time, magtatanong siya sa simula before you start the show.
“E, dito, wala siyang tinanong.”
Direk Jerry worked with Carmina in ABS-CBN shows like Esperanza and May Isang Pangarap.
RJ added, “Maski sa script-reading, wala siyang tinanong. Siguro alam niyang it will make her character human.”
In fact, as shared by Kaye, Carmina was guiding Mike throughout their sweet scenes.
Kaye elaborated, “In fairness to her, gina-guide niya rin si Mike Agassi. Kasi si Mike, sobrang nahihiya, hiyang-hiya siya kay Mina.
“So, in fairness kay Mina, inaano niyang maging comfortable si Mike, gina-guide niya rin talaga yung acting ni Mike.”
Direk Jerry said, “Naiintindihan ko naman si Mike kasi Carmina Villarroel na iyan, talagang mai-intimidate ka. ‘Tapos naka-brief ka pa, ‘tapos hahalik-halikan mo sa leeg.
“Pero si Carmina talaga made him feel relaxed and cool ka lang. Nakakatuwa i-shoot yung eksenang iyon.”
As for Mike, Direk Jerry appreciated that he really prepared for his role, especially for that scene where he had to go topless.
The esteemed director said, “In fairness kay Mike, pinaghandaan pa niya yung role na ito. He lost weight para sa role na ito, alam naman ng lahat iyan, pinaghandaan talaga niya last year.
“Kasi noong kinontak siya for the show, medyo on the heavy side si Mike, medyo mataba nang kaunti.
“Walang abs noong time na yun, kinareer ng bata!
“Ayaw niyang mapahiya sa scene na yun and nag-work naman, e. Si Mike naman, mabait din iyan, masunurin.
“Kung ano kailangan ng eksena, ibibigay naman niya. Walang qualms about taking off his pants.”
STORY BEHIND THE SCENE
The part where Barbara has a lover is one of the twists that unfolded in Widows’ Web.
But apparently, it was already part of the story from the beginning.
RJ, as creative manager, was just surprised by the terrace scene of Mike.
RJ said, “Originally, nasa concept paper iyang merong kabit si Barbara na coach ng anak niya. Right from the start, nandiyan na iyan.
“Kaya noong sinusulat nila Ken, nagulat na lang ako na naka-brief na nakalambitin!
“Kapag pinapanood ko, tawang-tawa ako kay Carmina kasi bigay todo rin siya sa kalandian ng character niya, ang landi-landi niya!”
Headwriter Ken de Leon then narrated how they came up with the script.
He explained, “Since we were confident with the story, it’s always about creating scenes na mataas ang entertainment value.
“We saw the character of Carmina, Barbara, na very tough, and then may bali siya na kapag kasama niya yung lover niya, that’s her safe space na puwede siyang lumandi.
“This is what we meant when we said na ang mga characters namin ay hindi black and white, and a human can have vulnerability.
“Iyong vulnerability niya ay naipapakita niya sa kanyang lover. And, of course, we want to show it in a very entertaining way, na parang leopard print, Fitbit, and then, may lalaking naka-brief.”
Ken was honest to say that they were “worried” about mounting the "lambitin" scene.
Kaye remarked, “Pinahirapan mo kami, Ken!”
Helen and Kaye even had a funny moment with Mike on the set while shooting the scene.
Helen narrated, “Noong shinu-shoot ni Direk yung eksena, galing ako sa set-up namin ni Kaye. Pupuntahan ko si Direk, titignan ko sa system.
“So pumunta ako sa area ni Direk, kuwento-kuwento. Habang nagse-set up pa sila, doon na si Mike Agassi, nakabitin.
“Hindi ko alam na nandoon si Mike Agassi na naka-brief na. 'Tapos pagtingin kong ganun, andun siya!
“Katabi lang pala ng system kung saan nakasabit si Mike Agassi! Pag ganyan ko, waist down lang yung POV! Kitang-kita ko pag ganun, ito sa mukha ko, e! Waist down lang yung kita, e, yung puting-puting brief!”
Widows’ Web, from the beginning, is only slated to run for nine weeks.
GMA-7 recently announced that the show is down to its last four weeks of airing.