Philippine version of Korean series marks Anne Curtis’ return to TV acting

PH version of Korean series marks Anne Curtis’ return to TV acting

Cast with director Mae Cruz-Alviar (left) —PHOTOS FROM ABS-CBN

Actress-TV host Anne Curtis, who will be portraying a character diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder in her acting comeback on television, has promised to play her role with utmost care.

She will be portraying Mia in the local version of the South Korean hit series “It’s Okay to Not be Okay.” Also part of the series that will be directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar are Joshua Garcia and Carlo Aquino.

Anne plays a popular children’s book author who develops a romantic obsession over Joshua’s character Patrick. Patrick or Patpat works in a psychiatric hospital and has an older brother, Matmat (Carlo), diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

“The series tackles different aspects of mental health, and my character struggles with her own disorder. You can expect me to do my best in trying to portray Mia,” she told Inquirer Entertainment during a recent media gathering organized by producer Star Creatives.

“Do I have worries? None, because I’m crazy like her,” she quipped. “Seriously, what I am super excited about is that, through the series, we will be able to break the stigma and spread awareness on mental health.”

Anne’s last teleserye, “Mars Ravelo’s Dyesebel,” aired in 2014. She said returning to TV acting was worth it because she would be in an adaptation of a series she really enjoyed watching. “I wouldn’t accept a project if I didn’t feel it was worth leaving my family in order to shoot. When this was offered to me, it was an instant ‘yes.’ I couldn’t let it pass,” the actress said.

She added that when she first saw the series in 2021, she even called up her talent management, Viva Entertainment, to find out whether or not it was possible for the company to produce the adaptation. “I told Ms. Veronique (del Rosario), my manager, that if I would resume doing TV acting, I would love to do this particular project, and that if they could please get the rights to it. A week later, she called me to say, ‘Anne, ABS-CBN already got the rights,’ so I just said to keep it in mind that I’m interested.”

‘Storytelling through fashion’

Years later, the role of Mia still ended up on Anne’s lap. “If you look at the original, it’s also storytelling through fashion, which is something that I love. I’m so excited. In fact, Direk and I were already talking about how to best tackle it, to make it our own. We want to make sure there’s Filipino touch to it … We will be working with Filipino animators and illustrators.”

Anne said she is able to relate to Mia in a lot of ways. “I love her journey of growth. You see it from the very beginning. You see it with the way she dresses, how she changes her hairstyle, and how she speaks. I find it very interesting how she goes through all her emotions, including her outbursts,” she pointed out. “She can be relatable to many.”

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Joshua Garcia, Anne Curtis, and Carlo Aquino —PHOTOS FROM ABS-CBN

Anne and director Mae first worked together in the series “Maging Sino Ka Man” in 2006. “We worked so closely in creating my most personal, most loved character Celine Magsaysay. I’m even more excited about how we can work on Mia together. I’m excited to learn how she will grow. Mia will be another awesome collaboration with Direk Mae,” she said.

Anne added that she would be attending a “chemistry workshop” with Joshua soon. “Just like in another project I’m doing, I’m taking acting refreshers. It’s my first time working with Joshua. I’m curious as to how we can bring out the chemistry. We can do this!” Anne said, turning to Joshua.

Meanwhile, Anne and Carlo last worked together in 2009 for the film “Baler.” She claimed to be a big fan of Carlo. “I also expect him and Joshua to be able to form chemistry as brothers. For sure, it’s going to be fun to watch,” she declared.

Emotional struggles

Since the series tackles various issues related to mental health, we asked Anne whether she also experienced emotional struggles, especially during the pandemic, and how she was able to cope with them. “Everyone had his or her own personal struggles back then. Just like in this series, it’s important that you find someone who will help you through it. In my case, it was my family,” she said. “The series is all about family healing, friendship healing and human healing. It’s important that you find key people to help you through whatever it is you’re going through, so you are not alone.”

Mae agreed with Anne, but added: “We all [struggled emotionally at the time]. Some may not be aware, like me, because I would always say, ‘I’m OK,’ that I wasn’t affected. But then, this manifests in other ways. When we were doing lock-in for ‘2 Good 2 Be True’ while everyone was starting to move freely, I felt anxious because I also wanted to step out.

“How did I cope with it? It helped that I have a strong support group to begin with—my husband, the rest of my family, and my faith,” Mae pointed out. “This was something that we all went through. It was a collective thing. I was not alone in what I was going through.”

Joshua was convinced that everyone was affected during the pandemic lockdowns. “It didn’t help that we were also struggling with what happened to ABS-CBN,” he said, referring to the network’s eventual shutdown in 2020. “Patong-patong ang nangyari sa amin noon. Who did I lean on? Of course, my family at home and here in ABS-CBN, like Tita Cory (Vidanes, COO for broadcast). I was able to lean on them, even when this was happening to our company.”

Carlo recalled the time he was forced to keep physical distance from his family during the lockdowns. “I lived away from my parents, so I would only see them once in a while. I would buy groceries for them. When we talked, we were so far from each other. I made sure to check on them every Sunday,” he recalled.

“It’s Okay to Not be Okay,” with Henry Quitain as creative producer, is from the production behind the hit series “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “The Iron Heart.” INQ