Challenging role in medical drama series a fulfillment of Jillian Ward’s dream | Inquirer Entertainment

Challenging role in medical drama series a fulfillment of Jillian Ward’s dream

By: - Reporter
/ 12:25 AM September 05, 2022

Jillian Ward

Jillian Ward

When she was 5 years old, Jillian Ward dreamed about becoming an actor, singer and doctor. At 17, she has already achieved the first two. Working as a medical professional seems unlikely at the moment, but at the very least, she gets to portray one in the new afternoon drama series, “Abot Kamay na Pangarap.”

“I remember my parents asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I would tell them, ‘Artist, singer and doctor’—those three things, really. But now, because of my current character, I’m like, ‘It must be hard being a doctor.’ Playing one is challenging enough. What more being an actual part of the medical field?” she said in a recent virtual conference for the said GMA 7 show.


Premiering on Sept. 5, “Abot Kamay” is a “heartwarming” drama about illiterate single mother Lyneth (Carmina Villarroel), who will do everything to raise her intellectually gifted daughter Analyn (Jillian), who would later on become the Philippines’ youngest neurosurgeon. Richard Yap plays Robert, a passionate doctor who, unknown to Analyn, is her father. As part of her preparation, Jillian watched medical dramas like “The Good Doctor,” and underwent hospital immersion with the creative team. “We toured a hospital. Sir Richard and I observed a live brain surgery with the production staff. I really learned a lot from that experience,” she related.


Difficult genre

Medical drama is one of the most difficult genres to execute on local television: every detail is scrutinized, and inaccurate portrayals of medical procedures or protocols become fodder for memes on social media. And “Abot Kamay’s” director, LA Madridejos, was fully aware of this challenge.

“It’s challenging. Medical scenes often get bashed, regardless of whether it’s a local or foreign show. That’s why I’m thankful to the network for giving us the time we needed to shoot the scenes, including the ones in the operating room. We never felt that we had to rush,” LA said. “Our mindset was, ‘Let’s do this and finish this well.”

An actual neurosurgeon also supervised the filming of scenes that involved technical elements. “There was a neurosurgeon behind me who gives feedback. I would ask him, ‘Doc, OK ba?’ We would retake the scenes until he was satisfied with them. If he saw anything that needed correcting, he would correct it,” LA related.

As such, this show, Jillian, said may be the most challenging role she has ever accepted. “I felt a bit nervous. I always asked if what I was doing was right, if I was doing something wrong,” she said, adding that delivering medical terms while acting out emotionally charged interactions tested her mettle as an actress.

“I have to memorize all sorts of medical or technical terms. We did a scene set in an emergency room where I had to give directions on what medicine to give and what to do with the patient. It was a fast-paced scene, so I really had to know the medical terms—all while giving the right emotions and minding my blocking,” she said.

“But I’m super excited,” the Kapuso star added. “Not only is the show challenging, but I also get to work with veteran actors who are all very good at what they do. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”


Overwrought melodramas

The afternoon block on local television is typically reserved for loud, overwrought melodramas. “Abot Kamay,” however, will set a different tone with its understated inspirational themes. “Afternoons are usually for loud genres, but this one is inspirational. Our dramatic scenes aren’t all out. I hope this works,” LA said.

Unlike his “Prima Donnas” costars Sofia Pablo and Althea Ablan—who are headed down the love team route—Jillian seems to be taking a different path. “I started out as a child actress, and I’m used to character roles… I have never really had a steady love team,” she pointed out.

Does she prefer that to being part of a love team? “I just accept what’s given to me. I trust the network and its decisions. Now I think they prefer I do solo projects. Besides, my character Analyn is so busy as a doctor and has no time for a love life,” she quipped. “The show is more about Analyn’s profession and her relationship with her mother.”

“There are different kinds of love,” LA added. “There’s love born out of shared duties and responsibilities; love between a mother and child. It doesn’t try to oversell the concept of love where two people need to end up together… There’s also the importance of family.”

The show also highlights the value of family in one’s journey toward achieving his or her goals. “No matter your profession, your loved ones and the people who support you play a big role in your success,” Jillian said.

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Can she say that she has already achieved her dreams at this point in her career? “Yes, but I dream nonstop. Once I have ticked off items from my bucket list, I make another list of things I want to achieve in the next five or 10 years,” she said. INQ

TAGS: Entertainment, Jillian Ward

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