“I’m a working actor—at this point in my life, I’m employed,
and to me, that is a success,” said “Resurrection” actor Michelle Fairley
during a recent teleconference with Asian writers.
“I’m very fortunate,” added Fairley, 50. “As women get
older, they don’t always find work… I don’t take any of this for granted. I
work very hard, and I respect the people I work with.”
Perhaps best known as the beleaguered widow and mother
Catelyn Stark in the fantasy-drama series “Game of Thrones,” the Northern Irish
thespian subsequently appeared in similarly popular shows “Suits” and “24.”
In the second season of “Resurrection,” she plays Margaret
Langston, recently revived after being dead for decades.
Excerpts from Fairley’s replies to the Inquirer:
What attracted you to “Resurrection”?
I would say the complex nature of Margaret Langston,
actually. [And the conversations] I had with the writer and the producers,
about how they wanted the character to progress. Also, when I was sent the
DVDs, watching the production values of the show, the quality of it, and
working with the actors here in Atlanta—they’re
How do you feel about previously playing powerful women who
died violently in “Game of Thrones” and “24,” and now someone who has
resurrected, for a change?
(Laughs) Well, actually, it’s a lovely change! Usually, when
you get killed, that’s you out of the series. So the lovely flip side to this
is that, [Margaret] may have died, but she’s had a chance to come back again.
And I absolutely love it… It’s the quality of the writing and the quality of
the character that you, as an actor, go for. It doesn’t matter if they live,
die, become reincarnated or resurrected again. You [have to] have love and an
enjoyment about what you’re given to work with. She’s in a second round here,
so it’s fantastic.
How do you feel about being part of mostly American-produced
I feel incredibly privileged to be here working. There are
so many actors in the world, why does one person get a job over another person?
Nobody knows… I know there are many actors in my position who can do this part.
But thankfully, I was the one who got it. And I want to make it work.
Do you have a dream role, and if you do, what is it?
I don’t have a dream role. The dream role, I think, is the
one that pushes you… the one that makes you work and think… I don’t want
anything to be easy, I want to work hard for what I do, and if that means
walking for hours, talking to myself, trying to work my mind into the mind of
what this person is doing—I want to know that, I want to get there. I want to
understand it. So anything that pushes me, that keeps my interest… and teaches
me something, I want to learn as well.
Who influenced you, growing up, and who are the actors you
Theater was a very big inspiration for me, growing up.
That’s where I first had my first experience of going, “Oh my gosh, this is
wonderful! What are these people doing?” [And] getting lost in the battlefield
of it, in the story of it.
And then of course, as I got older, [there was] cinema as
well. I completely loved movies like “Sophie’s Choice” and “Deer Hunter,” and
there are so many wonderful old black-and-white movies… of Joan Crawford, Bette
Davis. I just loved all of that! Wonderful, proper, old-fashioned storytelling,
characters, strong women…
Meryl Streep is still going; if anything, she’s even stronger
today than she was in the days of “Sophie’s Choice.” Jennifer Lawrence is
incredible. And there are so many… actors, filmmakers, and directors [now] who
(“Resurrection” airs Monday night and subsequent Mondays, , on Lifetime.)
Cagayan de Oro—It rained hard at a recent GMA 7 event here,
but fans stayed a couple of hours to see their favorite celebs in person.
At a popular mall’s outdoor venue for the “Bet ng Bayan”
provincial showdown, fans holding up umbrellas—and some who weren’t—patiently
stood and waited for the stars to appear onstage. They did, after the rain.
Their patience had been rewarded.
“We are very grateful to all the fans who stayed to watch
our ‘Kapuso Fiesta’ event despite the foul weather,” Oliver Amoroso, AVP
and Head of GMA’s Regional TV-Integrated Marketing Division, told the Inquirer
later. “Rain or shine, the show had to go on. The stars also gave their all in
their performances, to show [thanks to] Kapusong Kagay-anons for their
“Bet ng Bayan” was the culmination of the festivities. In
attendance were actors Dingdong Dantes and Alden Richards, and singer Jonalyn
The provincial mall tour will continue to reach out to fans,
according to Amoroso. “GMA 7 has established itself as the ‘partner of choice’
for major festivals and malls.”
GMA Regional TV (RTV) has nine stations and offices
nationwide, and mounts such events, ranging from festival participation to mall
shows. “These on-ground activities have gone on for quite some time, but the
frequency has been intensified in the last three years due to the clamor of our
regional partners and viewers,” Amoroso said.
RTV also supports GMA 7 talents’ various advocacies.
“We started an outreach activity with Dingdong in Iloilo
early this year, followed by activities in Baguio,
Dagupan, Davao and Bacolod.
We want the young ones to understand the value of education.”
(Earlier that rainy day, Dantes handed out bags with school
supplies and books to elementary students.)
“[The RTV group] also embarked on a campaign to help the
fisherfolk communities affected by Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda,’ in BantayanIsland, Northern Cebu,”
Amoroso said. “Through the Kapuso Adopt-a-Bangka Project, and with Marian
Rivera as ambassador, we were able to rehabilitate and rebuild boats for 262
“The power of a picture doesn’t always come from the
composition—it comes from capturing a moment,” professional photographer Justin
Mott tells the Inquirer in an e-mail interview.
Mott, who grew up in Rhode Island
in the United States
and then relocated to Vietnam,
appears in History’s reality series, “Photo Face-Off” (Tuesdays, ).
Photographers from the region compete in the show and must
pass the screening process where they battle it out with “photography fiend”
Mott enthuses that the amateur photographers have things in
common, despite coming from culturally different countries like Singapore,
Indonesia and Thailand.
“They were all passionate about photography,” Mott says.
“The winner will be photographing celebrities at a red carpet event in New
“Photo Face-Off” requires participants to take pictures of
unpredictable nonhumans, including bees, chickens and elephants. Mott says that
he has experience working with animals in the past, but had to adjust to the
demands of the contest.
“For the show, I was under crazy pressure because of the
time [constraints],” recounts Mott, who studied photojournalism at San
The challenges bring Mott and the aspirants across Southeast
Asia, where they are tested in other outdoor shoots. Locations
Gardens by the Bay and Indonesia’s
The works of Mott, an awarded photographer, have appeared in
The New York Times, Forbes and Time. He finds the rare combination of artistry
and substance in photographs inspiring.
“[American photojournalist and war photographer] James
Nachtwey influenced my style because his images are powerful and artistic at
the same time, and I love that.”
He says viewers can get a lot from this kind of competition
show in terms of entertainment value. “It’s a David versus Goliath story with a
high-energy atmosphere. The show isn’t just for photography enthusiasts; it’s
also for people interested in sports, travel and culture!”
The Gutierrez family is elated that the second season of the E! reality program, “It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez,” is 10 episodes long. Its initial run of six episodes aired from June to July this year.
At the press con for the new season (premiering Oct. 5, ), the family members announced that the successful series to air across Southeast Asia was being shot and that, in fact, six episodes were finished.
Gutierrez matriarch and “boss” Annabelle Rama claimed that the show made her famous. Many foreigners have begun asking for photos with her, she said.
“First season, bigla akong sumikat, thank you naman,” she said.
Annabelle, who is coproducing this season with son Richard, said that she wasn’t really bossy. “Hindi sinasadya. Talagang ang aming family, parang mga sira-ulo.”
Eldest child Ruffa hinted that she might have a romantic interest in the show. “Whether my mom likes it or not, I’m ready to fall in love—hopefully this year.”
Annabelle responded, “I hope it’s not Yilmaz (Bektas, Ruffa’s former husband). Sino ’yung lalake, Ruffa?”
“You’ll find out,” Ruffa replied.
“She always surprises me,” said Annabelle. “Every time I see her, she has a different boyfriend.”
“[When] somebody gives me chocolates or flowers, it doesn’t mean he’s my boyfriend,” Ruffa retorted. “You call him a suitor; you should be gracious and accept.”
Annabelle was unconvinced. Referring to former suitors, she said, “If I didn’t like a guy, I didn’t entertain him. But if I did like him, I would call him [myself] and have sex with him!”
Gutierrez patriarch Eddie added to the riotous banter: “I met [Annabelle] in CebuCity, where I was doing a show. She invited me right away to a resort!”
Annabelle was quick to say that the new season is technically improved, and that there was “no pressure at all” to top the first season’s content. But the new director, Karen Wiggins, said there was “absolutely” pressure on her to make the show even more watchable.
The Australian director said Annabelle made it easy for her. “She’s a reality producer’s dream—[she creates] drama, she is funny, and she talks about sex a lot! We are concentrating on story this season… we try to understand our characters in the most well-rounded way possible.”
One of the Gutierrez kids, Raymond, said that they were all used to criticism by now. “We’re kind of over people judging us. It’s so last year!”
This time, he added, it’s his turn to reveal a big secret: “Kung last season si Chard ang may pasabog, this season ako naman.” He was referring to his twin brother Richard and girlfriend Sarah Lahbati’s revelation that they had become parents to a baby boy, Zion.
“It’s been a great adventure so far, being a dad to Zion,” Richard said. “It has changed my life in a very positive way. You’ll see that this season.”
New series regulars are another Gutierrez son, former child star Elvis, and his longtime girlfriend Alexa Uichico, who is currently pregnant.
“Elvis and I have been together for nine years,” said Alexa. “Everybody can relate to our relationship because we’re a normal couple doing normal things.”
Raymond quipped, “I don’t know how they lasted nine years—I can’t last with anyone for a weekend!”
When asked by a member of the press if she and Eddie still had intimate relations despite the busy schedule, Annabelle said, “Of course! How can we not?”
Eddie retorted, jokingly: “I no longer collect a paycheck; I must have a sex life!”
As for Elvis’ inclusion, Annabelle told the Inquirer that he was easy to convince: “He had one scene in the first season and he liked it. He’s not one to share his secrets but I said he’ll get used to it.”
Annabelle revealed that her seldom-seen tender side is felt by her grandchildren, as she helps out with them whenever she can: “I have to spend time with all my grandchildren. Sometimes, I cook for Zion, or bring him to the doctor for check-ups. I like doing all that.”
Alpha Flight, circa 1985: Box, Puck, Snowbird, Northstar, Shaman, Aurora, Talisman, Hetaher Hudson. Love this lineup. John Byrne killed it with this team. Felt sad when he left the title but I did get an issue of Hulk, where he moved.
(Sept. 19, PDI Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Cagayan de Oro—Alden Richards talked about portraying Jose
Rizal in GMA 7’s coming series “Ilustrado” at a press conference here for the
network’s “Kapuso Fiesta” event.
It was difficult to imagine the mestizo actor in the role
because of his fair skin, but he whipped out his phone and showed the Inquirer
an unreleased photo of himself in full “darkening” makeup and costume.
“Ilustrado,” he said, is the network’s first bayaniserye and
will air nightly in October. “It’s also a movieserye. We use film equipment and
shoot in HD. ‘Ilustrado’ is about Rizal’s love for his mom, Teodora Alonso
(Eula Valdez), for Leonor Rivera (Kylie Padilla) and for the country.”
Alden, 22, is here for the “Bet ng Bayan” provincial
showdown. The talent tilt will be on TV, a show he will cohost with singer
“It’s a nationwide reality talent search… different from
other talent shows because we bring the venue to those who cannot go to Manila
to audition,” he said.
The actor admitted that he took the cohosting gig because he
does not have a regular show at the moment: “I asked GMA for this. I told them,
while I’m able, please keep me working.”
Alden, whose real name is Richard Faulkerson, feels
“blessed” that the network trusted him with these big projects. “It started
with ‘Carmela,’ with Marian (Rivera),” he recounted. “And I enjoy hosting
segments in (the variety show) ‘Sunday All Stars.’ Before I became an actor, I hosted
a school pageant. So maybe [the execs] said, why not give him a project that
involves hosting. I also enjoy the perks; I’m going white-water rafting later.
I just deliver lines [in different places] but it’s so rewarding.” But, made to
choose between hosting and acting, Alden added, “I’d still choose acting.”
Three years and eight months into the business, Alden said,
he still pinches himself sometimes, incredulous about the quick ascent of his
“It’s gone really
fast, thanks to GMA and my supporters,” he said, gushing. “I’ve learned to stay
humble and true to myself. That’s how people started liking me, and it keeps me
He is aware that it’s a mindset not shared by some new
actors. “I won’t name names, but there are newbies who let a little taste of
success go to their heads.”
As for why he’s currently single, Alden explained, “I’m not
looking for love right now. I have other priorities. It’s very cliché, but
that’s the truth.”
(Sept. 18, PDI Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Plucky pastry chefs clash in the weekly half-hour program
“Donut Showdown,” a reality tilt where the creativity in conjuring up visually
appealing and delectable desserts is highlighted.
Three chefs, who may also be business owners from North
America, are pitted against each other for a $10,000 cash prize
per episode. The contestants put their diverse cooking influences to the test,
and must come up with a uniquely flavored batch of donuts from provided
“mystery ingredients” after 45 minutes.
One contestant whose donut creation doesn’t impress the trio
of dessert expert judges gets the boot, leaving the two remaining donut-makers
to come up with three new creations—based on a given theme—for the last tough
Donut Showdown’s contestants usually are an eclectic group
of personalities; each contestant is helped by a coworker/assistant during the
preparation/baking process. Sometimes,
contestants get to trash-talk during the “interview” bits
interspersed with the contest proper—it doesn’t really affect their ultimate
standing, but they do make them somewhat interesting, even entertaining
One episode tested two competitors, who must make pastries
with the theme “Bollywood” in mind. A young chef, who previously lived in India,
created colorful, flavorful, vegan-friendly delights inspired by his
familiarity with the culture, and his time in the country. His older
competitor, the smug but focused type, created donuts inspired by his
perception of Bollywood, hence the caramel popcorn toppings, and similarly
playful designs. He wanted them to be “sexy, like a character in a Bollywood
It was a tight competition, but the older, more experienced
guy won, after a lively deliberation—some judges liked one’s presentation over
the other’s, and so on. The winner was lauded for his imagination, which
enabled him to whip up more mouthwatering confections.
Other episodes are just as consistently playful, steadily
focusing on the awe-inspiring talents of cooking geniuses and their
near-countless takes on the tasty treat.
(Back-to-back episodes of “Donut Showdown” air Sundays, on 2nd Avenue.)
(Sept. 15, PDI Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
“We were free of someone else producing us based on how he
believed our songs should sound,” Color It Red (CIR)
vocalist Cooky Chua said in a recent e-mail interview about creating new music.
The local pop-rock band has been around since 1989. With the
help of service-funding platform Artiste Connect and fans who extended
financial support, CIR was able to record
its fifth studio album “Silver,” commemorating its 25th anniversary.
The band released the debut album “Hand-Painted Sky” in
1994, well-received for its eclectic-sounding ditties, including the moving
ballad “Paglisan.” This was followed by the more experimental “Fool’s Circle”
(1997). A tighter sound and more personal songs characterized “Pop Fiction” (2000),
while “Color it Red” (2006) was mostly a departure from established material,
musically and lyrically.
continues to evolve in “Silver.” Funding by backers reached
P264,000, allowing the band to record 10 new original songs. The album was
launched in May.
Chua is hands-on with marketing, packing each ordered CD for
delivery. (Visit facebook.com/cookychua for details.)
Excerpts from the interview with the singer and Bobip
How did you secure fan support/pledges?
CC: Mark Laccay, the pioneer of crowdfunding here in the
Philippines, asked if we wanted to do another album in a nontraditional way. He
told us the story of Kickstarter (a funding platform for creative projects) and
his new company inspired by that. We grabbed the opportunity. The [game plan]
was to directly involve, and interact with, our market. We were very happy when
pledges started coming in.
BP: It was overwhelming to see that people believed in an
album that we had yet to record.
How would you describe your mindset while creating this new
set of songs?
BP: CIR already had a
process as far back as the third album—we either work on an already complete
song or we collaborate on riffs and lyrics, throw ideas around, and then we
build on that, jamming until it feels right. Going indie now, we were totally
in control of the songs.
What made Gloc-9 ideal for that rap part in “Move On”?
BP: It’s one of the most personal songs I have ever written.
We picked Gloc because I believed he would get the message and add flavor to
What inspired the Manila
Sound-ish “Disk-O,” and how did you feel about that type of music, growing up?
CC: I really like the disco era—Bee Gees, Donna Summer… it
was my secret dream to be a disco queen though I couldn’t dance!
BP: “Disk-O” came about during practice or
songwriting/drinking jams… This is just us paying homage to that era since we
all got to experience the age of vinyl, 8-track, etc.
Cooky, how do you divide time between CIR
and Tres Marias?
CC: I’m very lucky to be ingroups with members who are
great, musically, and who are good people—no jealousy or any type of insecurity
in their bones. They allow me to grow. First come, first served… most of the
time, it’s [back-to-back bookings].
How would you describe the current music scene, compared to
when you started?
CC: We used to have to put aside a part of our school
allowance just so we could rehearse in a studio and record a demo. Now we can
download very good programs for free.
What are your fondest memories of the 1990s band scene and
what did you learn from it?
CC: In the ’90s, the alternative scene became mainstream. We
were lucky; everything fell into place. Radio, TV, print media—they all
cooperated to create a bigger following for bands. We even found our way to
noontime shows. Our best takeaways from that period are the friendships that
have endured, until now.
BP: I have a lot of stories that are not fit for printing.
One thing I learned, though, is that you should never believe your own hype.
Don’t let fame go to your head and always stick to the essentials, like friends
and your family.
The American sitcom “Friends With Better Lives” has
familiar, even typical comedy trappings, in that Caucasian buddies hang out a
lot and yak about their relationships, sex lives, and their elusive search for
The 30-something spouses Bobby and Andi (Kevin Connolly and
Majandra Delfino) seek to rekindle the sexual spark in their years-long
Bobby’s pal Will (James Van Der Beek) is recovering from his
divorce from his high school sweetheart, while Will’s female wingman/frenemy
Kate (Zoe Lister-Jones) is a successful single woman who secretly longs to get
Their ex-model friend Jules (Brooklyn Decker) has a new boyfriend,
Lowell (Rick Donald), an Aussie hippie who’s so in love with her that he
proposes to her just weeks after their romance started.
The half-hour series is created by Dana Klein, former
supervising producer of “Kath and Kim” and “Friends,” which explains the
ensemble comedy’s wacky, relationship-centric dynamics.
The interesting cast members—Delfino from “Roswell,”
Connolly from “Entourage,” Van Der Beek from “Dawson’s Creek,” etc.—form an
appealing, attractive group, mostly tried and tested for this type of
The humor, however, is predictable. “Friends” practically
opened the floodgates for this type of comedy and excelled, although it got
pretty repetitive throughout its decade-long run. “How I Met Your Mother”
similarly used the rom-com/dating formula and milked it thoroughly (and ended
rather polarizingly). There are bits of both in “Friends With Better Lives,”
but there are also touches reminiscent of “Sex and the City” and—though it
doesn’t get as weirdly lewd—“Two and a Half Men.”
It establishes its more risqué “branding” early on with
scenes like Jules eating a bacon cheeseburger sensuously after tiring of her
beau’s vegetarian dishes, and Will attempting in vain to escape from bed after
being kinkily tied with Christmas lights by a partner. The sequences aren’t
laugh-out-loud funny, but they’re strategically placed, and elicit their share
of snickers. Episodes don’t get a lot of ’em, but they do have some moments.
A standout character is the initially snooty and seemingly
unlikable Kate. But her high-and-mighty demeanor is made distinct by
Lister-Jones, who consistently provides meaningful vulnerability and
sensitivity during otherwise unmemorable scenarios.
(“Friends With Better Lives” airs Wednesdays, on ETC.;
and Mondays, on Star World.)
Cagayan de Oro—“It was very liberating because it was
something that I really wanted to share with the public,” said actor Dingdong
Dantes of his televised second engagement to girlfriend Marian Rivera four
“We’ve nurtured our relationship for more than five years,”
the actor said at the press con for GMA 7’s “Kagay-an Festival 2014” recently.
The couple will tie the knot on Dec. 30.
Dantes kept mum about the wedding sponsors but volunteered,
“On Sept. 7 (today), Marian and I will have an initial meeting with them. We
will issue a video release.”
Photo by Oliver Pulumbarit
The actor’s visit to this province involved donating books
and school supplies to an elementary school. “It’s our fourth stop since we
started early this year,” Dantes said. “We aim to identify key areas—where
school bags are needed most. We are also giving away comic books and
[materials like] pencils, etc. It varies because we have different donors at
every stop. But it’s all to inspire better education.”
Dantes, currently commissioner-at-large for the National
Youth Commission, graced a Comelec registration event at a nearby mall. He
shrugged at speculations that the activities are part of preparations for a
“I’ve just always done what I think is right,” he quipped.
“That’s what’s important.”
Was that a yes then?
He told the Inquirer: “Right now, if you ask me, I don’t
have an answer because I’m occupied with so many things—projects with GMA 7,
duties at the National Youth Comission. These require my [undivided] attention.
It would be unfair to [think of other major things] now.”
Dantes, 34, said he is able to juggle show biz and outreach
duties because he has “good managers.” He elaborated, “You have to [farm out
duties] to people you trust. Schedule-wise, there’s time management; I make
sure I never leave anything half-baked.”
At this point in his show biz career, Dantes wishes to
accomplish more things with his home network and people who continue to guide
him. “I entered the business in my formative years, more than 15 years ago.
They are still there for me. I owe them so much,” he said.
His relationship with the network is at that stage, he said,
where it’s giving him new opportunities. “We’re coproducing our Metro Manila
Film Festival entry, ‘Kubot,’ sequel to ‘Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles.’
I’m always looking forward to new engagements.”
As for reprising his “Tiktik” monster-slayer character
Makoy, Dantes revealed that shooting has become more challenging: “No more
green screens; it’s even more high-tech now with animation over the footage.”
I was a teenage Jim Lee clone, part ten: The Regulators, circa 1991. I drew a comic book that starred classmates. I was heavily influenced by Jim and Whilce (I enjoyed the latter's X-Factor stint that year). I did two "issues" of this, the pages placed in two separate clearbooks. I threw pages away, eventually, because they made me cringe.