How locked-in setup, TikTok broke the ice for Gabby and Sanya
Sanya Lopez’s first impression of Gabby Concepcion was that the actor seemed “very formal”—someone she can’t joke around or have casual chats with. But before she knew it, he was doing TikTok videos with her and the rest of the cast of GMA 7’s new primetime series, “First Yaya.”And they have the locked-in taping setup to thank for that.
“I’m very kalog, so I wasn’t sure if I could just talk to him naturally, or show my jologs self. But that changed during our taping. I would have never imagined we would be able to make him dance for TikTok, which he had never done in his life,” Sanya said in a recent virtual conference for the romantic comedy show.“I got to know him better. I learned that he’s actually very good at connecting with different people,” the Kapuso talent added.
Gabby agreed. If it weren’t for the taping bubble, the actor surmised that he and Sanya wouldn’t have been unable to build the kind of onscreen rapport they have now.
“I don’t think we would have gotten the chance to bond if not for the locked-in taping. The closeness (between actors) is a big thing,” he pointed out. “In that kind of setting, it’s either you grow fond of or get annoyed with each other. Thankfully, things worked out and the rest was history.”
Directed by LA Madrilejos, “First Yaya,” which airs weeknights starting March 15, follows the story of Melody (Sanya), a high-spirited and diligent young woman who perseveres through adversities just to provide for her family. One day, while working at a playground, she instinctively saves a child from harm.
Later on, she finds out that the child’s father is actually Philippine Vice President Glenn Acosta. Melody gets offered to work as a nanny to the kids of the widower Vice President, who, after unexpected circumstances, finds himself ascending to the presidency.
Despite the age difference, Sanya, 24, admitted that there’s still a kilig factor when doing scenes with Gabby, 56. “I was actually intimidated by him, especially at first, but the kilig was still there,” Sanya related. “However, only the viewers can say if we have chemistry together.”
Gabby, meanwhile, joked that he was looking forward to working with Sanya because he grew up watching her. “Sanya is very simple and likeable … Sometimes, you get a sense from some actors that they’re going to be hard to work with. Not the case with Sanya. It was nice working with her,” he said.
Sanya said that Gabby isn’t one to give unsolicited advice, but shows his concern for others in other ways. “I think he’s shy about giving advice. He’s the type of actor who just lets you grow on your own, because he believes in you. That’s what I feel,” she said. “But he always gives us food!”
When it comes to portraying the Vice President and, later on, the President, Gabby said he didn’t have specific character pegs. “I watched different politicians, how they talk and act, especially those in films. And they have their own ways. Anyway, my role is more about the President as a person, as a father behind the scenes … what he’s like when there are no cameras, press and other politicians around. That’s what we’re tackling here,” he said.
For Sanya, playing a nanny isn’t the challenge per se. After all, she grew up taking care of some of her family members. “We didn’t have help at home. It’s just me and my brother (actor Jak Roberto), so we were used to doing household chores. I also took care of my lola and young cousins,” she related. “I have learned from experience.” The hardest part, she said, is playing a more lighthearted character, because she had become so used to doing heavy drama. But with her director’s help, Sanya managed to adjust and make that transition.
“What stuck with me was when he told me to just be myself,” she said.
And while Sanya and Gabby get top billing, the success of the project doesn’t rest solely on them.
“Whenever I work with new people, I see what I can learn from them. And I enjoy working and being with them. I learned how to do TikTok,” Gabby related, laughing. “I loved the camaraderie, not only with the cast, but the whole crew as well. It’s a concoction of different elements, finding the right spices and flavors.” INQ
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