JC de Vera was unsure. Rhian Ramos was nervous. And, according to kibitzers, a JC-Rhian tandem was a big risk for GMA-7.
But this was the scenario a few months back.
Last October 13, La Lola was received warmly by Pinoy viewers.
JC de Vera, who plays the love interest of the Lola character, said, "Di ko siya ini-expect."
During the birthday party of his manager Annabelle Rama last October 25, JC explained the reason for his disbelief: "Actually kasi, yung love team, fresh, 'tapos more pressured kasi yung story niya is different. Number one siya sa ibang bansa, so sobrang pressured kami to do La Lola.
'Tapos ayon, very happy kami sa outcome. Sobrang overwhelmed kami. Di namin ini-expect na ganun, magiging consistent siya. We're not saying naman na it's high, pero it's consistent."
This is the biggest break of JC so far, and he worked hard and waited quite a long time for it. From his Click days with Valerie Concepcion as his love-team partmer, he was given only minor roles on television.
Then in 2007, he was paired with Yasmien Kurdi in the sinenovela Pati Ba Pintig Ng Puso. That was when people took notice of him. His tandem with the StarStruck First Princess dominated the Dramarama sa Hapon of the Kapuso network.
And finally, he got included in the primetime block of GMA-7 as Facundo, his character in La Lola.
JC is grateful for the opportunities coming his way. He relates, "Binigyan ako ng chance ng network to perform, to act...Siyempre, hindi naman lahat ng mga artists na lalake sa GMA nakakakuha ng magagandang role, so yung sa akin, gina-grab ko lang yung opportunity.
'Tapos yung opportunity rin na nakakatrabaho ko yung mga magagaling na director, tapos yung mga magagaling na actor, mga veteran actors...siguro gina-grab ko lang talaga yung opportunity. 'Tsaka mas maganda para sa akin kasi yung napepressure ako, kasi nalalabas ko yung [kakayanan ko], kumbaga nag-e-effort ako, nag-e-exert ako ng pagod para dun sa character ko."
ON RHIAN RAMOS. Partly, the positive feedback from viewers is attributed to the onscreen chemistry of JC and Rhian.
This is something JC did not expect either: "Kasi bago mag-start yung show, hindi pa kami ganun ka-close ni Rhian."
And to get over the awkwardness between him and his new leading lady, JC said they resorted to "bonding" moments.
"Marami kaming bagay na ginagawa to catch up [on each other], like ayan, nagba-bonding kami," he began. "Pag nasa taping, palagi na kaming magkausap, so yun yung mga basic things lang naman para sa isang love team. At least maging comfortable siya sa akin, ganun din ako sa kanya."
And how are they now? Have they overcome the "awkward" stage?
He answered, "Naging komportable na ako sa kanya, kaya ngayon okay na kami ngayon. Masarap na magtrabaho."
On a scale of one to 10, with 10 as the highest, how would he rate Rhian as a leading lady?
He paused, then answered: "8."
JC explained, "Kasi nakikita ko kay Rhian na nag-e-exert siya ng effort talaga na ayusin yung work niya, and very dedicated siya sa ginagawa niya, very serious siya sa craft niya. So, I think it's 8!
"Medyo di pa nada-digest ni Rhian yung pagiging La Lola kasi bago pa... Para sa newcomer na katulad niya, na nasabak agad sa ganun, parang di mo talaga ma-i-expect na, kumbaga, todo talaga yung performance niya. Sa nakikita ko, dahil sobrang dedicated siya, sobrang curious siya sa ginagawa niya, lumalabas yung acting niya talaga. Gumagaling siya each and every taping."