Veteran actresses Jean and Jackie Lou share bits & pieces about working on ‘Widows’ War’

— A multi-layered, nuanced whodunit drama needs established stars who can hold the audience’s attention and keep them thinking instead of guessing.

Jean Garcia and Jackie Lou Blanco are among the featured veterans in “Widows’ War” who can do just that.

What newbies and younger actresses should learn from them is how to be in tip-top shape, remain active and stay relevant.

“Ano lang siguro alagaan ang sarili kasi bilang tumatanda, tanggapin na nag-a-age ka na (perhaps take care of yourself. Since we’re not getting any younger, we should accept that we age),” answered Jean to a question on her secret to maintain a youthful look in a recent press conference, which was also graced by “Widows’ War” fellow stars, including Jackie Lou. “So, dapat mas alagaan ang sarili, mas disiplinahin sa pagkain (we should take care of ourselves more and be disciplined more in what food to take). Like what me and Ate Jackie would tell (and suggest), ‘(Do) more exercise, more stretching, things like that.’ Dapat palaging kumikilos, para, diba?, healthy at manatili ang pagiging youthful.”

With that, Jean and Jackie Lou can keep up with the demands of acting and working on set. Having a healthy mind and body helps any actor get into the character and into the zone, particularly if you’re doing something new.

“It’s the first time that I’m doing something like this,” shared Jackie Lou about being part of the murder mystery drama series. “I think among the things I’ve done to be more comfortable with the genre is to change my perspective.”

“Usually, if it’s drama and you’re a kontrabida (villain), you seem to have this one (mold for) your character. Dito kasi parang hindi pwedeng ganun (here, it can’t be like that). Yes, you know your character, but at the same time, I also seem to put in my mind that, ‘OK, kahit ganito yung character ko, pero baka pwedeng ganito,’ and I have to look at it (my character) in a lot of ways.”

Given the GMA Prime show’s genre, Jackie Lou can’t easily assume or stereotype her character Ruth as the victim or the culprit. The audience is also expected to do the same.

Director Zig Dulay and his actors work on the nuances and the look of every character that may serve as the detour, the pit stop or the lead path for one to figure out the “truth.”

“It has to be, kailangan maraming different colors na ilalagay mo sa character mo (you need to put different colors to your character). So, that’s the adjustment I’ve made (in my portrayal).”

In the GMA Network online exclusive, Jean and Jackie Lou gave bits and pieces about their characters.

“I am Aurora Palacios. I’m the matriarch,” said Jean. “My son here is Paco (played by) Rafael Rosell. My brother Galvan is played by Tonton Gutierrez.”

Even if Galvan is older than Aurora, the authority and power to manage the family’s mining business have been entrusted to her, added she.

“What you can look forward to is her strong personality. She is too empowered,” shared she.

Jackie Lou, on the other hand, plays Ruth, the mom of George (Carla Abellana). The character’s family is not born with a silver spoon but will improve its social standing. Thus, she will eventually wear outrageous outfits. Her daughter George finds a friend in Sam (Bea Alonzo).

“She’s the kind of character who wants to be seen and wants to have the best of what she didn’t have before,” shared she, “pero kahit ganun yung outward appearance o minsan medyo magaspang yung ugali niya (but despite her appearance and sometimes her unrefined manners), ang nanaig pa rin is yung pagmamahal niya sa pamilya niya, sa dalawa niyang anak, George and Edward (her love for her family prevails).”

The lives of Ruth, George and Sam will intersect with Aurora’s when Paco, son of Aurora, and Basil, son of Galvan meet Sam and George. The latter become part of the wealthy Palacios family.

“Widows’ War” has reunited Jean and Bea, who were both part of the TV series, “Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay” and “It Might Be You.”

Jean recalled that Bea was only 13 when they worked for the first time in “Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay,” which introduced the Bea and John Lloyd Cruz tandem. It successfully crossed over to the big screen.

“Walang pinagbago si Bea, same pa rin, magaling naman na siya noon, mas lalo siyang magaling ngayon (she hasn’t changed. She remains the same. She was good then and she’s even better now),” said she.

So far, the two have done intense scenes that viewers will see in future episodes. As actors, they are mindful of how to carry out the scenes properly and professionally.

“As much as possible, maiwasan namin na magkasakitan. So, pinoprotektahan ko siya, pinoprotektahan din niya ako (we avoid getting hurt by each other. I protect her and she protects me),” said Jean. “So, kailangan talaga communication (communication is needed)… kami mismong artista makipag-usap ka at kung paano natin gagawin ang eksena as much as possible na hindi tayo kailangan magkasakitan (we discuss about how to do an emotionally charged scene without getting hurt).” It spares them from doing the scenes again and again, added she. They succeed in accomplishing a one-take shot scene. It speaks about the importance of being efficient and proficient in one’s craft.

(Follow the unfolding journeys of Aurora and Ruth in “Widows’ War” Mondays to Fridays at 8:50 p.m. on GMA Prime).