Times change, seasons change. And so too, must telenovelas, even though they’re remakes.
This is what GMA7 had in mind when the Kapuso network revived Marimar, the 2007 Mexican telenovela which made Marian Rivera a household name and gave her then future husband Dingdong Dantes’ career a much-needed shot in the arm.
That’s why today’s Marimar (played by Miss World 2013 Megan Young) is the epitome of the modern Filipina.
Besides looking more exotic, and therefore, more of the island girl around whom the story revolves, today's Marimar is not as naive as her predecessor was eight years back.
MORE FEISTY. “Mas palaban at hindi magpapatalo ang Marimar ngayon,” Megan describes her character at the GMA presscon last August 17.
Kung alam niya na may masasaktan na mahal niya sa buhay, lalalaban siya. Dito ipapakita na kahit anong pagsubok na ibigay sa kanya, lalaban siya,” she adds.
But this is not to say Marimar loves picking a fight. Megan explains that her character has a good heart. And it’s this good heart that makes her question the cruelty in others.
She asks why people can be mean to her loved ones. And she takes action by moving heaven and earth to shield them from the big, bad wolves out there.
“Mas self-confident na siya. Isa siyang makabagong Pinay,” Megan observes.
Her leading man, Tom Rodriguez as the rich and sought-after Sergio Santibañez, agrees.
EXOTIC LOOKS. The modern Marimar, like today’s Filipina, has matured. Technology, Tom explains has made her more independent, more aware of the outside world.
No wonder Filipinas of today can relate to her at once.
“Nandoon pa rin ang qualities ng Pinoy na napakainosente, malambing at magalang sa pamilya. Pero palaban siya kung kailangan. Hindi siya pwedeng apihin.”
The modern Filipina, adds Tom, has evolved in the way she handles herself and deals with people.
Marimar, he notes, has also changed for the better. And that’s why we love her so. She is every Filipina, from her exotic looks, her love for family, her sweet nature.
Zoren Legaspi, who plays Gustavo Aldama, Marimar's biological father, points out, “Sa skin tone, mas Pinay si Megan. She’s very different. She’s exotic.
In contrast, he adds, Marian looks very Spanish.
Marimar’s outlook in life has also changed.
“Hindi siya oo nang oo. Meron din siyang pangarap.”
SERGIO CHANGES AS WELL. Even Sergio is not the same anymore.
Ricardo Cepeda, who plays Sergio’s dad Renato Santibañez, relates that his handsome on screen son is “more playful, mas mahilig sa pustahan."
“Sergio is toned down. May eksena pa nga kaming pinagagalitan ko siya.”
The telenovela even goes as far as casting a boy toy in the person of Nicandro (Dion Ignacio), who is putty in the hands of Renato’s outrageously extravagant second wife Angelika (Jaclyn Jose).
The boy toy character is a new addition to the story; a nod – it seems – to the more liberal outlook of today’s millennials.
NO PUSHOVERS. Yes, today’s millennials are no pushovers. Marimar director, Dominic Zapata, writer Roy Iglesias, the cast and crew know that.
So they’re tweaking the characters and the story to mirror the times, and therefore appeal to viewers.
Zapata doesn’t mind that in doing so, everyone is expecting more from the reworked telenovela. The director of My Husband’s Lover, Darna, Mulawin and other hit TV series claims he can meet the big challenge.
The best judge however, is the almighty viewer, who will start seeing Marimar beginning Monday, August 24, on GMA 7.