Marimar was a hit telenovela in the 90's, top-billed by Mexican sensation Thalia. Hoping to revive the craze, GMA-7 bought the rights to the series.
MARIMAR. The offer to play the title role was first offered by GMA-7 executive Wilma Galvante to Angel Locsin, claims Becky Aguila.
On May 10, Becky had a meeting with Wilma Galvante together with Angel's father, Angel Colmenares.
Becky recounted, "Sabi namin sa kanya [Wilma], ‘We would have to beg off sa Marimar kasi Angel, at this point, is really exhausted.' I think naman with the hard work that Angel has been doing, she deserves naman a break.
"Sabi niya, ‘Kung hindi niya tatanggapin, magiging open kami for auditions.' Sabi ko, ‘Ma'am whatever is necessary.' Kasi mayroon silang parang six months na parang binili nila ‘yong rights na iyon so kailangan nilang gamitin ‘yon. So talagang ang naging conflict that time was the schedule, kaya hindi rin namin natanggap ang Marimar kasi nakapalano na ‘yong bakasyon ni Angel, ‘tsaka ‘yong sa London school niya.
"And then sabi niya, ‘O sige. Okay na iyan.' Wala kaming diniscuss tungkol sa any contract at all. Daddy was with me that time.
"So sabi niya [Wilma], ‘Just be careful kasi baka ‘yong pag-announce ninyo niyan ma-misunderstood. So make sure that you don't take it as a vacation dahil madaming artista diyan na pag nawawala, hindi na makabalik-balik kasi ang tagal nawala. So make sure that you treat it as just for school.' Ginuide naman niya ako kung anong sasabihin."
Still, Angel's non-renewal of the contract with GMA-7's talent arm, Artist Center, was not discussed, admitted Becky.
"I did tell her na, ‘Ma'am, di ba expired na ‘yong contract so we had our other options and basta when we come back from our trip sa States, you will be the first one to know.' Iyon ang binitawan kong salita and ‘yon din iyong binitawang salita ni Daddy kay Ma'am Wilma. And then, we left," Becky said.
She added, "A few days later, I received an e-mail from her. She did not mention anything about a network contract. It has something to do with tax, which I'm not too familiar with.
"I texted her back and I said, ‘Sagsag na ang taping ng Asian Treasures and Angel is very tired. Umiiyak na ‘yong bata.' Sabi niya, ‘Konting tiis na lang kasi patapos na iyan.' And whatever internal problems they were having at that time, during the taping, sabi niya, ‘Lilipas din naman iyan. Konting tiis na lang.'
"We just exchanged e-mails. There was nothing or there was no offer at that time. Usapan lang talaga."
REGAL TIES. In addition to her already "full schedule," as Becky said, of Asian Treasures taping and commercial shoots, Angel also committed to doing a movie with Dennis Trillo, under Regal Films. The movie outfit's matriarch, Lily Monteverde, postponed the production of the film to accommodate Angel's schedule.
"Kasi prior sa pagtatapos ng Asian Treasures, gusto kasi ni Mother [Lily] na simulan na ‘yong movie with Dennis," explained Becky.
"Nagtampo na nga sa akin si Mother noon kasi pinangako ko daw ‘yong June schedule, which was really impossible, mainly because punong-puno na nga si Angel. Saan ako hahanap ng schedule e wala na talaga kaming paglalagyan? And kung tinuloy pa namin ‘yon baka ospital na ang bagsak ng bata. So I said, I told Mother that time, ‘Mother, pagbalik na lang, ipa-prioritize namin kayo.'"
Becky said that a news item would later come out against Angel because of this.
Becky's response to the report: "[Ang sabi] noong time na nabigyan siya ng break sa Regal, parang nagmamakaawa, tapos ngayon na mayroon na, parang pinahihirapan [ang Regal], ayaw daw sumagot ng telepono. Angel talaga has the habit of not really answering the phone kasi she's always doing something. Imagine, sa dami ng nagte-text sa kanya pati pag nagtratrabaho siya, how can she answer all these calls? Because I'm the manager naman, Mother can always call me."
ANGEL IN DISGUISE? "Prior to our not signing, we already received negative feedbacks about Angel. Even before, I don't know who brought out the issue, but we already heard it from a source. We are already aware of what was happening," revealed Becky.
Becky said that the negative publicity came out during the promo of Angels, a movie that Angel and Becky produced.
She narrated: "We were having so many presscons already just to somehow control the negative publicity that were coming out naman [about] Angel...
"Siyempre as a manager, the only thing I could advise my alaga is, ‘Huy! Bakit may mga ganyang comments, kasi mayabang daw ako... Ikaw rin daw, tapos difficult daw tayo. Tapos lumaki na daw ang ulo. Gel, ingat lang kasi we don't want to intimidate them, baka magalit sila sa atin and that's not good.'
"Kasi nga wala na kaming contract at that time. It was their opinion. We took it lightly. What hit us most talaga is nung nag-leak out na. That particular presscon, iyong grand presscon, may grupo na nagsabi sa kanya na ganito ang feedback sa kanya.
"Doon talaga naapektuhan si Angel kasi bakit lumabas iyon? Bakit may mga ganoong lumalabas na issues about her? Samantalang nung time na existing pa ang contract namin, wala naman kaming naririnig na ganoon. So parang nagdamdam ang bata. In fact, nag-hyperventilate siya, e, nung araw na iyon. She was really so stressed.
"After two days, pumunta siya sa bahay ni Ma'am Wilma to ask... Humingi siya ng tulong. ‘Tita, bakit ang daming negative publicities na lumalabas sa akin?' Sabi niya, ‘Siguro dahil sa pag-alis mo papuntang London, hindi mo pagtanggap sa Marimar, hindi mo pag-sign ng contract, etcetera etcetera. Iyan ‘yong naging dahilan pero sige aayusin natin iyan.'
"I think that time, correct me if I'm wrong, in-offer na naman sa kanya iyong Artist Center contract. Pinapipirma sa kanya, but Angel begged off again... actually hindi niya sinabi sa akin na nagpunta siya kay Ma'am Wilma, but she was really bothered by all these negative publicities that were coming out.
"Naayos din naman ni Ma'am Wilma iyon through an article in the Inquirer. In fact, Ma'am Wilma called me in Bangkok during the shoot of Head and Shoulder [sic]. She said, ‘O ayan na ang sinasabi ko sa ‘yo, may nangyayari pa na nag-divulge ka ng plano-plano mo, eventually that will catch up on you and the press will pick up on that. Ang mangyayari diyan magiging negative iyan for Angel pero don't worry sinagot ko na iyan and hopefully it will clear everything about that monster issue.'
"So noong lumabas ‘yong article na iyon, tamang-tama naman may lumabas naman na ibang articles na sobra rin namang damaging for Angel. So parang, nagpatung-patong talaga...
"Iyon na iyong tungkol sa production ng Asian Treasures, ‘yong sa staff director, and ‘yong tungkol doon sa make-up artist. All those issues about sa Asian Treasures na parang nag-bully ‘ata si Angel, which is something not true naman. Kung siguro man, iyong sigaw issue, if in any way na mayroon siyang nasigawan siguro gawa na lang ng pagod kasi kasagsagan na nga ng Asian Treasures.
"The point here [is] we're all human naman. We're not perfect. And siguro kahit kayo naman pag napapagod kayo, minsan umiinit ang ulo ninyo. We're not saying na she didn't do it or, as far as Angel is concerned, di naman daw niya ginawa dahil tinanong ko, e. And regarding naman sa make-up artist, wala naman kaming alam na make-up artist na umalis na siya ang naging dahilan. Although may make-up artist siya na umalis dahil nagkaroon ng gap sa production, but it wasn't really Angel who was the cause of it.
"So eventually, iyong negative write-ups na iyon that happened during the time na wala kaming bahay, wala kaming Marimar, kung baga all those lumabas habang wala kaming kasiguraduhan kung saan kami pupunta."
Becky revealed that there was already a strain in her relationship with Wilma.
"Nagkaroon kami ng gap ni Ma'am Wilma because nga kahit naayos na iyong sa Inquirer, sige-sige pa rin iyong mga negative issues. Somehow, siguro nagkasamaan kami ng loob na sabi ko, ‘Why are these coming out at this time that Angels is just about to show and then Angel doesn't have a definite plan pa kung ano ba talaga, no?' Hindi ko na gaano ie-explain iyon. Basta nagkaroon ng irritation between us and parang I was incommunicado again," she said.
DISTRESS. It had been weeks since Angel's contract expired. Even after several meetings, there was still no formal word from Angel's camp if they were indeed choosing not to renew their contract with GMA-7.
"Ma'am Wilma called up Daddy [Mr. Colmenares]. Tumawag siya kay Daddy and that was the time na she told Daddy nga some things about me. She offered, ‘If you want something like Richard Gutierrez's contract, we can have that naman, so we need to sit down on this and we need to talk to you.' Sabi ni Daddy, ‘I need to discuss this with Angel and of course, Becky,'" narrated Becky.
She continued, "Ma'am Wilma was very vocal na nagagalit na siya sa akin dahil hindi niya ako [ma-contact]. Iyon na nga I was busy, nangangarag ako sa Angels. Parang hindi ko siya masyadong nabibigyan ng pansin but because of the irritants that were coming out parang how can I come to you, e, tayo ngang dalawa hindi tayo matapos-tapos sa mga issue regarding sa mga write-ups na iyan.
"Came now the meeting, which was requested by Miss Redgie Magno, she texted me, ‘Miss Annette Gozon would like to talk to you, Angel, and your lawyer.' We said yes.
"That's the Shangri-la [meeting], but we were only expecting Miss Annette [daughter of Atty. Gozon, part-owner of GMA-7], but apparently when we entered into the room, there was Ma'am Wilma, Miss Redgie, Jerry Baca, and Miss Annette.
"Si Miss Annette nakatrabaho lang namin sa films and hindi naman kami nagkaroon ng one-on-one personal relationship with her. So we wanted to have that chance to talk to her and share our sentiments. Go deeper and hindi naman sumbong, kumbaga sabihin sa kanya kung anong nararamdaman namin, kung bakit ganito ang situation ngayon, but we didn't have that opportunity...
"It ended up okay naman, but it flushed out some of our differences, like ito raw ‘yong binato namin, ito naman ang mga binato nila sa amin. Kung baga it's exchanging of mga batuhan namin, ayos naman iyon.
"But then sabi nila, ‘What are you going to say? Angel is going to leave for the States tomorrow.' And I told her na, ‘Ganoon pa rin ang stand namin na we will think things over and when we get back, you will be the first one to know.'
"They offered to have like a joint statement para matapos na ito, para ma-clear na. Sabi namin, ‘Tsaka na lang, pagbalik na lang namin.' We left na okay.
"Mayroon na talagang problema na hindi nga namin nasabi doon sa meeting dahil feeling nga namin parang it was supposed to be a meeting with Miss Annette but it turned out to be a group meeting."
To be continued...