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Second (but best) choices

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MARIAN’S GAIN – Years back, when Angel Locsin was GMA queen, she was supposed to star in the Tagalized version of Mexican telenovela “Marimar.” Marian Rivera, then languishing in so-so roles in GMA’s shows, took over the title role in “Marimar.” Angel left GMA and transferred to ABS-CBN.

Marian turned out to be the perfect “Marimar,” her Castillian features doing justice to the part of the feisty and lovely lady by the sea. From then, there was no stopping her ascent to the top. She also married her leading man in “Marimar,” the handsome Dingdong Dantes.

SECOND BUT BEST – Highspeed recalls more second choices, which turned out to be the best choices.

Did you know that Albert Martinez was the first choice to play the lead in the Peque Gallaga masterpiece “Oro, Plata, Mata”? But Albert had other assignments in Manila, so his manager, director Joey Gosiengfiao, said no.

Peque opted to take a gamble on his former student at University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, Jose Rizalino Torre.

Well, the rest is history. Joel was brilliant in OPM and went on to become one of the country’s finest actors.

To be fair, Albert also became a very good actor. He and Joel shared the limelight in Butch Perez’s “Mumbaki.” Joel was the dedicated doctor and Albert the mountain warrior.

MORE EXAMPLES – The late Jay Ilagan had started shooting Lino Brocka’s “Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” but early rushes showed he was too healthy for the impoverished provinciano part. Lino and Mike de Leon, then the cinematographer, had no choice but to replace him with Bembol Roco. Lino discovered Bembol at DARE, a rehab facility for drug addicts. At that time, Bembol was fully rehabilitated and was doing volunteer work at DARE.

Bembol won a best actor award for “Maynila,” his first starring role.

In “Sister Stella L,” Joel Torre was first tapped to play Vilma Santos’ ex-sweetheart. But a closer examination showed Joel looked too young then for the part.

Enter Jay Ilagan…by that time perfect for the part. Jay won an Urian for “Sister Stella L.”

GINA IN, ALMA OUT – Several actresses were considered for “Salome,” but Alma Moreno was the “final” choice. Which was not “final” after all as she was committed to do Gil Portes’ “Carnival Queen,” to be shot in Rio, Brazil.

Gina Alajar took over and “Salome” was hailed as a masterpiece, the best of director Laurice Guillen.

So, there. Often, second (or even third or fourth) choices are the best choices

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