Hero Angeles has no reservations playing second-fiddle to former love-team rivals Jennylyn Mercado and Mark Herras in GMA-7's forthcoming Sine Novela Presents Paano Ba Ang Mangarap?. Hero plays Jennylyn's boyfriend and Mark's brother.
A winner of ABS-CBN's reality-based artista search show Star Circle Quest way back in 2004, Hero was paired with Korean fellow "questor" Sandara Park . Their team-up was pitted against Mark and Jennylyn—two budding stars likewise discovered via GMA-7's own talent search show program, StarStruck.
Despite its promising start, Hero and Sandara's love team floundered as both stars were plagued with rumors questioning their off-cam relationship and work ethics. Jen and Mark's tandem, on the other hand, managed to stay afloat before management decided to pair the two with other talents—a move which some insiders attributed allegedly to the couple's strained relationship following the breakdown of their real-life romance.
THREE IS NOT A CROWD. Hero's testy relationship with ABS-CBN prompted him to quit showbiz temporarily. After exploring other available options, Hero transferred to GMA-7, this time under the watchful gaze of German "Kuya Germs" Moreno.
Hero now works with Mark and Jennylyn, a situation that's ironic to those familiar with their background.
"Actually, dream ko talaga ever since na makatrabaho sila [Mark and Jennylyn]," Hero told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview after the press conference of Paano Ba Ang Mangarap? held yesterday, February 10, at the Kamayan restaurant in West Avenue, Quezon City.
"Kasi dati, nakakasama ko lang sila sa dance showdown 'pag may mga awards night. Actually si Mark, second time ko nang makatrabaho kasi nag-Luna Mystika [a primetime fantasy series top-billed by Heart Evangelista] rin siya."
It was totally different with regard to Jennylyn. Making matters nerve- wracking were intimate scenes that were required of both actors by their characters.
Explained Hero, "Si Jen, first time lang siya makatrabaho, so parang kinabahan lang ako. Kasi hindi ko alam kung paano ko ia-approach since kakabalik rin lang niya sa showbiz, so nangangapa ako nung nakita ko siya. Kinakausap ko naman siya, kinakausap rin niya ako, friendly naman siya.
"Kinabahan lang ako kasi nung first scene namin, 'ayun nga, may mga kissing scenes. So, isip ko paano ko kaya gagawin to? Hindi ko kasi alam ang approach, di ko alam kung 'yong ibibigay ko, gusto ba ni Direk Joel [Lamangan] o mas malalim pa. Kumbaga 'yong dati, 'pag napapanood ko si Jen, parang mga kilig scenes lang. Ngayon, sobra akong nagulat dahil nagampanan niya nang mabuti 'yong role."
FAIR GAME. Hero refused to compare his love team with Sandara against Mark and Jen's in terms of commercial viability.
"Nauna sila, pero sila 'yong kalaban namin," he readily acknowledged. Popularity wise, Hero thinks that both tandems were on equal footing at the time.
"Patas siguro," Hero smiled impishly before adding, "kasi hindi ko naman makukumpara, kasi hindi ko naman nakaka-interact mga fans nila dati."
The ex-SCQ alumnus appeared uncomfortable when asked about his former home network. He'll always be grateful, Hero maintained, but there's no sense discussing the past or his feelings for the company that introduced him to the public.
"Kasi naging masaya ako dun [ABS-CBN]," said Hero. "Dito 'yong saya ko, unexplainable. Dito kasi, tuloy-tuloy 'yong projects. Nag-start ako kay Kuya Germs, Walang Tulugan, tapos nabigyan ako ng Dyesebel. After Dyesebel, Luna Mystika tapos Paano [Ba Ang Mangarap?]. Meron pa 'yong Sundo, 'yong movie.
"Masaya ako kasi hindi ko naramdamang stranger, wala akong naramdamang pagkailang. Kumbaga, pagdating ko, naramdaman ko na welcome ako sa management, welcome ako dun sa mga tao. Kasi dati, fear ko pag nagtrabaho ako dito, 'Paano kaya makihalubilo sa mga tao sa set, sa likod ng camera?' 'Yon pala, friendly din sila, kagaya ni Mark, hindi niya tinitingnan na 'Ay, kalaban ko dati.'"
For a young actor who experienced being on top only to lose it abruptly, regaining lost ground has brought important lessons for his career.
"Na-realize ko lang, ang showbiz hindi 'yan basta-basta, na kung ano lang ang ibigay sa 'yo. Parang game 'yan, minsan natatalo ka, minsan panalo ka. Dapat patas ka lang makipaglaro, 'tsaka dapat sport ka.
"Kagaya ngayon, kasi ako sa mga roles, hindi naman ako naghahanap na gusto ko bida ako. Kung ano lang 'yong ibigay sa 'kin, okay na ako dun. At least, di ba, maipapakita ko kung ano 'yong puwede kong ibigay sa tao."