GMA-7 is bringing its tried-and-tested primetime formula into the afternoon fold.
Director Mac Alejandre, however, clarifies that Alakdana is still very much a drama series and not an outright fantasy offering in the mold of past evening hits like Encantadia or Atlantika.
"Don't be mistaken, drama siya!" Direk Mac told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview held recently at the Executive Lounge of the GMA Network Center in Quezon City.
"Isa siyang drama na merong elemento ng fantasy para ma-push 'yong dramatic story. So, isa siyang straight all-out drama na may elemento lang ng fantasy. Interesting siya kasi isa sa strongest equities ng Channel 7 ang fantasy at dati nakukuha 'yon sa primetime block.
"Ngayon, it is being cascaded into the non-primetime block, and it's so nice to see the effect of this equity on an audience na sila din naman ang audience ng primetime—how will they be able to accept it on an earlier block."
FRESH FACES. The Kapuso network is also proud to present young actress Louise delos Reyes in her biggest break on television.
Louise was previously seen in the shows Lipgloss (2008), BFGF (2010), Pilyang Kerubin (2010), and Reel Love Presents: Tween Hearts (2010), aside from appearing in the independent film Agaton and Mindy (2009).
Giving Louise a lead role even without an audition shows the high confidence that network executives have for the pretty actress.
"Binigay nila po sa akin 'to tapos nagkaroon po ng series of screen tests kasama po 'yong mga leading men ko and workshops, 'yon po. Parang ang bilis nga po kasi in the span of one week nabuo na agad lahat ng ito. Nabigla ako!" smiled Louise.
Serving as one of Louise's leading men is another newcomer, commercial model Alden Richards, who unlike the lead star had to go through an audition together with other Kapuso talents.
The two other leading men are Paulo Avelino and Ritchie Paul Gutierrez.
Direk Mac takes pride in molding new talents. He likes the challenge of guiding "diamonds in the rough" and being able to gradually bring out the best in them until they are confident enough to move forward to other projects.
"Ako lagi akong excited na gumawa ng mga projects pag may nila-launch. I consider myself a talent development director. Sa akin mahalaga 'yon, to be one with the objective of the network to launch stars. Dun ako nanggaling, e and dun ako nagsimula bilang direktor," explained Direk Mac.
Louise confessed feeling intimidated the first time she saw the director in person.
"Nung una ko siyang nakita sa screen test tinanong ko agad 'Siya po ba 'yong magiging direktor natin?' Kasi di ba po, parang strict siya? And 'yon nga po nung nagkaroon kami ng workshop kasama siya sabi ko ang bait naman ni Direk Mac. Hindi po katulad sa sinasabi ng iba na istrikto.
"Tapos sa taping naman po sobrang professional, nandiyan na agad sa set and 'yong script talagang aral niya. Basta ang galing po! Hindi ka talaga niya papabayaan."
CURSED SINCE BIRTH. Alakdana tells the story of Vergel (Matthew Mendoza), an entrepreneur who falls in love with his family's helper named Teresa (Jean Garcia).
The lovers pursue their clandestine romance until the arrival of Vergel's ex-girlfriend Zoila (Jobelle Salvador).
Determined to win Vergel back, Zoila solicits the help of an ermitanyo (Junee Gamboa), who reveals the magical powers of a golden scorpion.
Armed with the golden scorpion, Zoila instructs it to sting Vergel and erase his current memory. She also orders the deadly arachnid to put a curse on the pregnant Teresa.
Vergel cancels his wedding to Teresa to be reunited with his former flame. A grief-stricken Teresa discovers that she is pregnant with Vergel's son but vows to take good care of the child.
Teresa gives birth to her daughter Adana (Louise delos Reyes). However, the curse inflicted by Zoila manifests in Adana in the form of a scorpion tail.
Adana grows up to be a compassionate and God-fearing child. She is frequently mocked by her playmates who make fun of her preference for long skirts.
Fortunately for Adana, her good friend Joma (Alden Richards) is always ready to defend and comfort her from the jeers she often receives from others.
A rape attempt on Teresa one night unleashes Adana's scorpion tail in an attempt to kill the assailant. The attacker Mando witnesses first hand the odd feature of Adana and immediately spreads the word around town.
Teresa and Adana soon find themselves running for their lives. How will this crisis change the fortune of mother and daughter? Will Adana find out the identity of her real father and the woman responsible for the curse? Will Adana still find someone who is willing to love her for who she is? Who among Billy (Paulo Avelino), Gabriel (Ritchie Paul Gutierrez), and Joma will be able snatch Adana's pure heart?
Catch the pilot episode of Alakdana beginning on Monday, January 24, right after Eat Bulaga! on GMA-7's Dramarama sa Hapon.
Viewers residing in the United States, Canada and Asia Pacific can watch this new series starting on January 26 on GMA Pinoy TV.