GMA-7's newest primetime fantasy series Grazilda should not be mistaken for as a modern revival of the classic fairytale Cinderella.
Although the heart of the story, as well as the basic foundation of the plot, was inspired by the well-loved ancient folk tale, the Glaiza de Castro starrer is a certified original story conceptualized by the creative team of the Kapuso network.
This time, the focus of the story shifts to one of Cinderella's hated stepsisters in Fantasia named Grazilda.
"Hindi siya 'yong typical story and siyempre familiar ang mga tao sa story ni Cinderella. Sino ba naman ang hindi magiging interesado sa kuwento niya lalo na't magfu-focus dun sa stepsister niya... Ito 'yong unheard story, e. Kaya sinabing the other Cinderella kasi nung time na napunta siya [Grazilda] sa mortal world, siya na 'yong naging Cindrella. Pero nung nasa Fantasia siya, siya 'yong umaapi. So, ganun yung approach, ganun yung buildup kay Grazilda, na hindi siya basta api apihan lang," Glaiza told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last September 3 at the GMA Network Center in Quezon City.
She went on to describe the series as a "fresh take" on the entire Cinderella legend.
Coming from a string of villain roles—as witnessed previously in Stairway to Heaven and Diva—Glaiza had to adjust her kontrabida instincts to successfully play a protagonist in another world.
"'Yong expression madalas ng mukha ko, minsan nasasanay ako dun sa kapag nagtataray ako o kapag galit ako talagang mataray. Pero kailangan dito mataray pero nakakawa pa rin, so paano yon 'di ba?
"Slowly napapag-aralan ko ang nandiyan din naman yong direktor para sabihan ako, 'Glaiz, medyo bawas pa tayo ng kunot ng noo, medyo ganito pa ng konti, medyo may awa pa dapat.' Thankful naman ako dahil sila yong nagiging mirror ko. Siyempre hindi ko minsan alam yong nagagawa ko dahil 'pag playback hindi ko rin nakikita, so may uncertainty pa rin ako. Pero sabi naman ni direk okay naman daw," elaborated the 22-year-old actress.
MODERN TWIST. The story takes place in a fairytale land called Fantasia. Grazilda (Glaiza de Castro), along with her step mom Matilda (Rio Locsin) and step sister Anatalia (Djanin Cruz), always makes Cinderella's (Gwen Zamora) life unbearable.
On the day of Cinderella and Prince Charming's wedding, Grazilda makes a scene in an attempt to disrupt the ceremony. The incident prompts Fairy Godmother (Jolina Magdangal) to punish the feisty stepsister and sent her to the mortal world to suffer a life far from what she knows.
It is while in the mortal world that Grazilda meets her long-lost father, Fernando (Joel Torre), as well as her evil stepmother Veronne (Cherie Gil), and mean stepsisters Cindy (Yasmien Kurdi) and Tonette (Stef Prescott).
Grazilda's new world offers a reversal of fortunes as she now finds herself being maltreated in and even outside the household.
The disowned daughter of Funtasia transforms from a cruel lady to a kind-hearted yet courageous individual. Curiously, Grazilda's means to return (which is in the form of a snowball) to her hometown is in the possession of Veronne.
It also in the mortal world where Grazilda will meet her new Prince Charming in the person of a rich but unassuming guy named Eric (Geoff Eigenmann).
More than just a fairytale take, Glaiza cited Grazilda as a story highlighting redemption, transformation, and the values of forgiveness and love.
"We try to show that everyone has a good heart," said Glaiza. "And that everyone deserves a second chance in life and love."
Dominic Zapata takes on head director duties, with veteran actor Ricky Davao serving as second unit director. Heading the production team is headwriter Kit Villanueva-Langit, along with production designer Chito Sumera, costume designer Jerome Ang and the Young Designers Group.
Catch the premiere episode of Grazilda tonight, September 13, on GMA-7.