ABS-CBN might have hit into another ratings gold mine, despite the uneasy geopolitical topics involved, in the military drama tele-serye “A Soldier’s Heart,” but that does not mean their longtime television rival GMA7 is going to take that lying down. They are in fact hard in development for their own counterpart to that weekday primetime soap. While not original, it is no ordinary show either, being a remake of a South Korean series or K-Drama, “Descendants of the Sun.” While working on the upcoming soap, the experiences of portraying military personnel has given insights to its primary cast of actors.
The Manila Bulletin has it that the production of GMA7’s localized remake of the K-Drama “Descendants of the Sun” has done much to instill appreciation for the real-life Philippine military among its principal cast, which includes Rocco Nacino and Jasmine Curtis-Smith. Dingdong Dantes might also be included, though he already knows much about the military life, not just from his Naval Reservist status but also his family. His grandfather Sixto Dantes joined the Philippine Army in World War II, survived the Bataan Death March, and continued serving until 1971. His son, Dingdong’s father, was also a Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer.
“Even though I never met my grandfather – he died before I was born – I saw how he instilled discipline in the way my father, in turn, raised me,” says Dingdong, who plays Army Captain Lucas Manalo (counterpart of Capt. Yoo Si-jin). The notion of discipline was also made plain to Nacino and Curtis-Smith, who had joined Dantes in Army training at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija in preparation for their roles.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith, as Capt. Moira Defensor (Yoon Myung-ju) remarked on the extra effort she needed to control her very facial expressions as befits a female Army officer. “I was used to acting by showing emotion,” says Jasmine. “But here, it’s not allowed! It was challenging.” The same goes for Rocco Nacino, as Tech. Sgt. Diego “Wolf” Ramos (Seo Dae-young). He needed to be stiff and monotone, so Rocco decided to relive his early acting days where he was not yet good at expressing visible emotions.
The three are joined by Jennylyn Mercado, who plays Dr. Maxine (Kang Mo-yeon), a surgeon who crosses paths with Dantes’ Capt. Manalo and, despite knowing the potential emotional turmoil of his dangerous job cannot help but fall for him and spend more time with him.
GMA7’s “Descendants of the Sun” premieres next Monday, February 10.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star