GINA Alajar is one talent who switches easily from acting to directing. In “Start Up Ph”, she plays the pivotal role of Lola Joy who is dear to both Alden Richards and Bea Alonzo in the story. And we noticed that she is also given credit as a director, aside from Jeffrey Sineneng and Dominic Zapata.
“I saw the original Korean version and I really enjoyed it,” she says. “So when they asked for my photo, talagang nag-ayos ako, in character ako as Lola Joy, as I really want to be part of the local version. At nang mapanood ko ang scenes that we shot, I felt so proud. Ang gagaling nina Direk Jerry and Direk Dominic, ang ganda ng visuals, iba yung look, hindi tayo pahuhuli sa mga Korean! Totoo yan!”
She believes the Pinoy adaptation will be a big hit. “Ang tambalan nina Alden and Bea is really someting to look forward to. Maski ako, kinikilig kapag kasama ko sila sa eksena. They really have very good chemistry, pareho silang looking good and radiant on screen. Gusto ko nga silang biruin, but bilang respeto sa boyfriend ni Bea na si Dominic Roque, di ko ginawa. But they really look good together, on and off screen! At hindi lang sila as all the actors in the show are very good, like Yasmien Kurdi as Bea’s sister, Jeric Gonzales as Dave na 3rd wheel sa relasyon nina Bea and Alden, pati sina Boy2 Quizon and Royce Cabrera na comic relief as Jeric’s best friends.”
How did she interpret the role of Lola Joy who is a well loved character in the original? “I will admit na nahirapan ako nung una. At first, I thought parang may mali ako sa mga ginawa kong eksena as Lola Joy and I even asked Direk Jerry kung puedeng mag-reshoot. But he said, don’t worry kasi kundi naman tama, talagang ipapaulit ko sa’yo, e so far okay naman daw ang trabaho ko and I just have to trust him.”
She realized she should not compare herself to the original Korean actress who played the role. “Well loved character si Lola Joy so may pressure talaga for me. Lola naman ako in real life but maliliit pa yung mga apo ko. The eldest is Catalina na 12 lang, anak ni Ryan. So iniisip ko, hindi ko puedeng basta gayahin si Lola Joy na Korean. To begin with, Filipino ako, so I have to maintain my own emotions as a Filipina grandmother. Magaling si Mrs. Choi na original but dapat ako, gawin ko lang kung ano ang nararamdaman ko bilang Pinay and I felt my intuition as an actress won’t let me down. To begin with, ang itinitinda ko rito is turon, si Lola Choi, corn dog. So magkaiba talaga kami. Hahahaha!”
And she’s right. We’ve seen the pilot episode of “Start Up PH” and she is really able to hold her own as Lola Joy, even in the comic scenes where she appeared to the young Good Boy (played by child actor Marco Masa) in the rain and he thought she is a ghost and got scared. We never doubted that Gina will deliver as she is one of our most seasoned actresses. She is really one reason why you have to watch every episode of “Start Up PH” that starts airing this Monday at 8:50 PM, right after “Lolong”.