GMA-7 director Mark Reyes said that he is ready to take on whatever timeslot will be given to The Cure when it airs its pilot episode on April 30.
The epidemic-themed series is set to replace the prime-time series Sherlock Jr., which goes head-to-head with ABS-CBN's long-running show FPJ's Ang Probinsyano.
Starring Ruru Madrid, Sherlock Jr. will end its three-month run on April 27, 2018.
However, Direk Mark told reporters, including PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), that he is not sure yet if The Cure will be placed in that timeslot or in the second slot.
Currently, the second slot airs the Kapuso series Kambal Karibal, which goes against ABS-CBN's Bagani.
Direk Mark said, "We are floating, I didn’t know where we will be placed. I know it’s going to be prime-time so I don’t know where…
"I think we’re gonna be in the early slot, I don’t think we will be in the third slot. Yung mga ganitong show, usually first o second.
"Di ko pa alam kung anong slot but I’m ready for either the Probinsyano or the Bagani, bring it on!"
Does he feel pressure if ever they will compete against FPJ's Ang Probinsyano, which has been airing already for two years?
"Oh yeah, oh yeah. But it’s the same team that beat them, it’s the same team behind Encantadia, so I’m ready for the fight.
"I’m kidding. But yeah, they need competition, di ba?"
In fact, during his opening speech at the press conference held yesterday, April 17, Direk Mark quipped about being pitted against Probinsyano.
The director said in his speech: "Garantisado po na mapupusuan ito ng mga Manilenyo hanggang mga Probinsyano!"
PEP.ph spoke to Direk Mark during the round table interviews at the presscon of The Cure held at Le Reve Events Place, Quezon City.
The Cure is top-billed by Jennylyn Mercado, Tom Rodriguez, LJ Reyes, Mark Herras, among others.
COMPARISONS TO THE WALKING DEAD. Direk Mark is aware that their new show, which tackles an epidemic that spread out throughout an entire nation, might be compared to other apocalyptic-themed series such as The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead is an American series that is set after the onset of a worldwide zombie apocalypse.
"Well, there will always be a comparison. If you say Romeo and Juliet, it’s a love story. Ours is an epidemic drama, it’s a zombie movie. The rest, of course, is for classification.
"E, we’re here for entertainment, that will never disappear like Encantadia and Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, it will never disappear."
However, the director of GMA-7's top-rating telefantasya Encantadia assures everyone that The Cure is different from the American series.
"Yes, because when they watch it, there’s nothing... siguro, the only comparison there is parang may zombie sa Walking Dead, kami may infected.
"Pero yung story, ibang-iba at saka once you start it, talagang you’ll really get engrossed with that.
"Talagang ang galing ni Tom at ni Jen, I was afraid that we needed to develop the rapport, right in that instant, ganun kaagad, you believe that they’re husband and wife.
"Yun yung difference, hindi ito yung boy-meets-girl, girl-falls-in-love-with-boy and ganun din."
In fact, Direk Mark himself is a Walking Dead fan, among other apocalypse-themed movies helmed by his favorite director, George A. Romero.
That is why when GMA-7 started to plan this in late 2012, he was hoping that he would be assigned to do the show.
"Years back, they already thought of this concept. I’m a fan of the genre. It was just a concept floating around GMA and I’m a Walking Dead fan, I’m a zombie apocalypse, George Romero fan ako, e.
"Night of the Living Dead (1968), I like that kind of genre and then I did Trip To Ubusan last year so when they gave this to me, I was like, 'Yehey!'"
Trip To Ubusan is a 2017 horror-comedy movie that starred Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, and Paolo Ballesteros.
Direk Mark continued, "It’s something that I could stuff myself into, yung gulat, yung fright, yung excitement, it came out so I’m very inspired about it, the network gave us the budget and the support so ayan, there you go, it looks like a movie.
"It was just a concept, wala pang assigned director doon but I was campaigning, sana sa akin mapunta."
The Cure was one of the titles that was supposed to be launched by GMA-7 wayback in 2013.
PEP.ph asked Direk Mark why they only decided to air it five years later.
He answered, "Well that’s a lot of ano, e, baka may priorities na mas gusto gawin ng management that time siguro kaya namove ng namove back.
"But I think now’s the proper time to do something like this. Tapos nag Walking Dead, passive na siya, hindi na siya kasing popular as dati.
"[The Cure] kasi, talagang hindi naman siya zombies. There are so many movies like that: The Strain (TV series, 2014-2017), The Flu (2013), it’s that kind of genre yung sa amin."
SERIES' DURATION. Direk Mark's past two shows, Encantadia (2005, 2016) and The Half Sisters (2014-2016), were awarded with several extensions because of its high ratings.
For The Cure, Direk Mark knows that this sci-fi themed series won't run as long as his previous shows.
"It’s one of the series na sabi ko, let’s not make it long. I think it should not have a long duration.
"If it does, it’s probably gonna be extended for a few more weeks, pero I don't see it.
"Unless we are given the freedom to do what we want pa and give us the support talaga, we can extend this. Pero not as long as Enca, ito, we see an end to it."
Most of the elements in the story were based on facts and not fictional elements.
"There’s an augmented reality na we stretched the story a bit, it’s entertainment, di ba, pero we try to be as logical, kung paano kumalat, yung pagkagawa namin.
"Yung story, kapag may epidemic, how do you relate, who do you save, kinagat yung kapatid mo, sino ise-save, yung asawa mo o kapatid mo?
"And then yung gulatan, yung mga exciting moments, ang dami namin noon. Suspense.
"Mahirap because ang Enca, it could get away with things kasi fantasy siya, parang creative license, 'Oh, problem? magic-kin na lang yan.' Ito dapat logical kasi reality-based siya."
Reyes is also confident that local viewers will enjoy watching The Cure.
"If there’s a benchmark that I believe is going to be an indicator why they will watch this, its Trip to Ubusan. It was a hit, it was accepted.
"And then because before that, there was Train to Busan (2016) na nagustuhan din ng Pinoy. There is Walking Dead, there’s a lot of ano na kaya parang tamang ano, ay gets nila, ganito yung story niyan.
"I’ve seen it so once you see it, iba siya. Walang nagsabi sa 'kin na parang Walking Dead, iba siya."