Dawn Zulueta revealed that she was tapped to do the role in Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin as soon as ABS-CBN’s official statement came out that Maricel Soriano is out of the said teleserye. “Dreamscape asked for a meeting. At that time, I didn’t know what the meeting was all about. Aaminin ko na sa inyo, Dreamscape, along with ABS-CBN, has really planned on a teleserye, but I was supposed to start it in June, which is after the elections. I have already been vocal about it because this coming summer, when the kids get out of school, I need to be in the province for the campaign (her husband Anton Lagdameo is seeking for reelections as Congressman of Davao del Norte). So nung pinatawag kami, wala naman akong idea. The meeting was about this. That’s how [I came to be part of the project],” said Dawn during a press con earlier today (January 28), wherein she was officially introduced as the newest addition to the cast of the said soap.
Truth be told, the former Walang Hanggan star was also shocked when she first heard about the alleged shouting match incident involving the Diamond Star and Gerald Anderson. As it is, Dawn maintained that she has the utmost respect for Maricel as an actress. “Si Ate Maricel, I really look up to her, she's a very dear colleague in our industry. And when I heard the news, parang hindi ako makapaniwala. We were just together last Christmas. I was telling her, ‘Wow, congratulations, may teleserye ka ngayon.’ Who would have thought that this would happen? It’s very unfortunate. But I guess the question was how did I feel when I heard about it? Nalungkot, kasi bilang kapwa artista mo, ayaw mo nakakakita ng ganyaan ‘di ba? Lalo na sa mga gaya namin, andalang-dalang na nagkakaroon tayo ng mga offers na meaty roles and to be part of a really big production. It must have been a big misunderstanding. It’s too unfortunate.”
Although she didn’t have the chance to call up Maricel about accepting the project in her stead, Dawn said that she will not hesitate to talk to the former if they happen to see each other. “Hindi na eh. Hindi ko na ginawa yun. It happened so fast. Right now I find myself immersed in studying the role, researching about the role… [But] when the opportunity presents itself, if we happen to see each other, of course [I will speak to her about it]. In all honesty, I want to make Maricel proud because this was a soap that’s really dedicated to her. I really hope to try to come up with a character that she will also be proud of .”
As to being second choice for the role, Dawn maintained that she doesn’t mind the fact that she’s not originally part of the teleserye. “To put it plainly, I did not really intend to work so soon. Like I said, I was set on campaigning this summer. As far as being second fiddle or what, no, that’s not really an issue to me.”
Fortunately, she was able to find a way to do this project and still have time to be with her husband during the campaign period for the coming May elections. “When this was offered to me, they pitched the story, I liked it. I only needed to figure out what kind of schedule they were willing to work out with. I need to talk also to my husband about it. Hindi naman kami agad nag-agree. I asked them to give me a couple of days to think about it. Dreamscape and the management had a discussion with my management team. I also talked to my husband in private. Siyempre when it came to the schedule, medyo hirap siya. We came up with a sort of a compromise. Starting March, when the kids get out of school, that’s when we fly to Davao, that’s when we commence na I come in only once a week to shoot for two days. Pero starting next week, start kami ng regular taping.”