Barbie Forteza and David Licauco on the impact of ‘FiLay’ tandem
Barbie Forteza and David Licauco were well aware of their love team’s growing popularity while shooting the hit series “Maria Clara at Ibarra.” But it wasn’t until their recent thanksgiving fans’ day that they managed to fully grasp the magnitude of their show’s success and their impact on viewers.
“Nakakawala ng pagod. During the event, I had flashbacks of the challenges and hard work we had to put in for the show but looking at the crowd made everything worth it. It made us realize just how many people support us, how many people we were able to make happy,” Barbie told the Inquirer in a recent Zoom session.
Last Feb. 26 at a Quezon City mall, the “FiLay” tandem —from David and Barbie’s respective characters, Fidel and Klay—drew a huge crowd that the Kapuso stars delighted with musical performances and a thrilling dance number.
As he got up the stage, David was instantly reminded why he decided to be an actor in the first place.
“Things have gotten busy with everything that has been happening after the show. It can be overwhelming, especially for someone like me who’s relatively new in the industry. But the moment we saw the crowd, I thought, ‘This is the reason we do this,’” he told the Inquirer. “It’s from the fans we draw the inspiration and strength to continue what we do.”
“I feel like one of our goals as actors is to make people happy, especially if they’re going through something,” David added. “We’re blessed to be in a position to do that … It can be tiring, but you just have to sit back and remind yourself how lucky you are.”
While “Maria Clara at Ibarra” has already ended, the clamor for the screen partnership—now amusingly called “BarDa”—remains strong. And GMA 7, Barbie and David’s home network, reportedly has a new soap in the works for them. But for now, fans can have their fix of the two Kapuso stars in the Sunday fantasy anthology “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko.”
Lady and Luke
Their four-part installment, which runs until April 2, is titled “Lady and Luke.” The story follows a fussy, authoritative condominium manager, named “Lady,” and her happy-go-lucky sister, Sabrina (Zonia Mejia). Lady’s controlling, cantankerous ways get her into trouble with a tenant named Delilah (Gilleth Sandico), who turns out to be a fortune teller who practices witchcraft.
One day, Lady wakes up to learn that her world has been turned upside down: This time, she’s the one getting controlled. Just like a puppet, Lady finds herself moving or doing things against her will. “Lady can be bossy, to the point of being controlling. But she doesn’t realize it. She micromanages her tenants,” Barbie said.
David, on the other hand, plays Luke, a contractor whose personality is the complete opposite of Lady’s. “He takes a more logical approach to solving problems. Eventually, he falls for her,” he related.
Did they foresee the love team continuing after “Maria Clara at Ibarra”? Barbie said she had an inkling that she and David would be on this journey for a while longer, after the “tinatangi kita” episode aired.
“When that scene aired, the one where Fidel confesses his love for Klay and tells her, ‘Tinatangi kita,’ it really made a mark. There were a lot of heavier developments happening in that episode—our scene wasn’t really the highlight—but it stuck with the viewers,” Barbie said.
“That’s when I realized ‘Iba rin talaga ‘yung David Licauco! Mukhang medyo matagal-tagal pa siguro kami magsasama!’” she said. “And true enough, we’re busy right now. And we were able to cross over to a different project. I’m thankful and I’m so happy. Ang sarap sa puso when something good and unexpected happens.”
The tandem’s chemistry
A lot of the tandem’s success had to do with the characters they played and their cat-and-mouse dynamic. The challenge therefore is for the actors to sustain their chemistry as they take on different roles and projects.
“I don’t think the chemistry will go away. If anything, David and I have only gotten closer. There’s pressure, but more in terms of improving our acting, or meeting people’s expectations when it comes to character development … I think the challenge is doing our scenes, and making sure that it’s not Klay and Fidel they see,” Barbie pointed out.
As an entrepreneur, David couldn’t help but acknowledge that every decision or move can also lead to not-so-good outcomes. “I think people liked me because of my character. What if they don’t like my character in the next series? That’s something that has crossed my mind. But I guess I just have to let go of that kind of thinking,” David said.
It might be for the better, he said, if he just takes things one day at a time. “I have to focus on doing better. I think I just have to enjoy and live in the moment,” he said.
But one thing’s for sure: David wants to continue working with Barbie. “I don’t want to look too far ahead. Whether we end up doing a movie or a series, I will do my best to make the love team work. Barbie always gives good performances, so it would be embarrassing if I don’t do my part,” he said.
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