Susan Roces shares how FPJ and Coco Martin are similar

Vernise Tantuco
Susan Roces shares how FPJ and Coco Martin are similar

Rob Reyes

Veteran actress Susan Roces, wife of the late Fernando Poe Jr, says that Coco reminds her of the actor. The two star in the TV version of 'Ang Probinsyano' with Maja Salvador

MANILA, Philippines – In 1997, the late Fernando Poe Jr starred in Ang Probinsyano, a movie about policeman Ador and his twin brother Cardo.

Today,16 years later, a TV adaptation of the movie is airing soon, with Coco Martin as the lead, and a new character played by FPJ’s wife Susan Roces. Maja Salvador joins the cast as well as Cardo’s love interest, Glenn. (READ: Coco Martin: I’m going to be careful about endorsing anybody in 2016)

At the press conference for the show on September 21, Susan talked about working with Coco and how much he reminds her of her late husband. The two worked together on the show Walang Hanggan too, before Ang Probinsyano. (READ: Coco Martin, Angel Locsin on PNP SAF ‘MMK’ tribute episode)

“Ang masasabi ko, may’ mga bagay na kahawig sa pag-uugali ni FPJ at ni Coco, lalo na sa pagtrabaho. Katulad ng nabanggit, ang working relationship namin ay ganun din noong panahon namin ni FPJ,” she said.

(What I can say is, there are some things that are similar in the behavior of FPJ and Coco, especially when it comes to work. Like what was mentioned before, my working relationship wih Coco is the same as during my time with FPJ.)

COCO MARTIN. The actor plays twins Ador and Cardo in the TV version of FPJ's film, 'Ang Probinsyano.' Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler.com

Earlier at the conference, Susan had nothing but praise for the young actor, saying that he wasn’t only talented, but also a very humble and considerate person. “Bilang fellow actor, ang masasabi ko, napakahumble ni Coco sa stature niya bilang Teleserye King at popular na aktor sa pelikula.” (As a fellow actor, I can say that Coco is very humble in his strature as the Teleserye King and popular actor in movies.)

Coco is known for his work in independent movies like Kinatay and TV series like Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin. Coco had to go through a lot of rejection and challenges though, before he made a name for himself in the industry. (READ: Coco Martin: They said I couldn’t act)

He also usually stars in dramatic roles, but for Ang Probinsyano, Coco did most of his own stunts, including jumping off a bridge and into the river below.

“Makatotohanan, palagi na kadalasan ninenerbyos ako kapag ginagawa niya yun dahil pwede namang hindi, kasi off-cam naman yun (Honestly, I always get nervous whenever he does those stunts because he doesn’t have to, those can be done off-cam),” said Susan, who according to Coco, is like the cast’s mom.

CAST MOM. Coco Martin says that he and co-star Dennis Padilla always go to Susan Roces for advice, because she's the cast's mother figure. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler.com

Coco returned Susan’s sentiments, saying that not only does Susan always makes sure everyone is well-fed, but is also great with giving advice. He and co-star Dennis Padilla always visit her tent just to talk. “Sabi ko nga po yung meron nga si Tita Susan na hindi matatawaran, yung wisdom niya bilang isang tao. Grabe pag nagsalita siya, parang kahit napakabigat ng problema mo maliliwanagan ka,” said Coco.

(Like I said, the one thing Tita Susan has that can’t be matched, is her wisdon as a person. When she speaks, it’s like no matter how heavy your problem is, you’ll find clarity.)

“Coco, Coco tama na, baka sabihin nila meron tayong ‘mutual adoration (Coco, Coco, stop it, they might say we have a ‘mutual adoration),'” Susan said to the laughter of the cast and press, interrupting Coco’s stories about her.The two seemed close at the conference, not only because of their praise of each other, but also because of their easy banter.

She added that only Coco is allowed to call her “Lola (grandma),” his term of endearment for her.

At the end of the conference, Susan thanked Coco during the press conference for coming up with the idea of making Ang Probinsyano into a TV show. Coco used to watch the late actor’s movies when he was younger, with his grandmother.

Mahigit na pong 10 taon nang siya (si FPJ) ay pumanaw pero sa tulong ng mga pangyayaring ito, ay nananatiling buhay ang kanyang alaala (It’s been more than 10 years since his (FPJ’s) death, but with the help of things like these, his memory lives on),” she said.

“I’m very, very proud to be a part of this cast, masaya ako sa ginagampanang role. Hindi masyadong malaki, hindi po ako yung bida, hindi po ako yung leading lady ni Coco pero madalas ko siyang nakakayakap,” finished Susan.

(I’m very, very proud to be a part of this cast, I’m happy with the role I have. It’s not that big, I’m not the star, I’m not the leading lady of Coco, but I embrace him often.)

CocoJam tandem back again

COCOJAM. The Maja Salvador and Coco Martin tandem is back again in 'Ang Probinsyano." Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler.com

Fans of the CocoJam tandem will be happy to know that Ang Probinsyano will bring Coco Martin and Maja Salvador back, in their first TV series together in 4 years.

Their last project together was Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin in 2011.

During the press conference, Maja said that Coco is different now, but in a good way. “Parang panibagong Coco yung nakikita ko kasi kung sobrang grabe na nung passion na nakita ko nung Nagsimula sa Puso at Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, dito habang nagte-taping kami ng Probsyano iba, iba yung binibigay niya,” she said, following it up with the highest praise: “Sabi ni direk [Malu Sevilla] hundred percent [ang binigay ni Coco], direk, parang kulang, parang 1000 talaga.

(It’s like I saw a new Coco because if his passion was great in Nagsimula sa Puso and Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, where we were taping Probinsyano, it was different, he gave something different. Director [Malu Sevilla] said he gave a hundred percent, director, I think that isn’t enough, I think he really gave 1000.)

Maja added that Coco was concerned about how her character was presented in the show, and how they could present their tandem in a fresh way in Ang Probinsyano.

“Siguro yun yung namiss ko kay Coco, na talagang bawat eksenang gagawin, hindi lang simple,” she said. “Talagang kung kayang mas pagandahin, mas pabonggahin pa, mas lawakan, gagawin niya para sa ikakaganda talaga ng show.”

(I guess that’s what I miss about Coco the most, that each scene that we do isn’t just simple. If there’s a way to make it more beautiful, grander, broader, he’ll do it to make the show better.)

With the Coco and Maja together again after so long, reporters asked if the other tandems the two are part of might be affected by their reunion.

“Definitely iba yung pinapakita namin on screen, kahit sa stage (Definitely what we show on screen, even on stage, is different [from real life]),” explained Coco. “Pinapakita namin, yung ginagawa namin, yung mga bagay na ‘yon, para pasiyahin ang mga manonood. Pero pagdating sa personal na buhay mayroon kaming kani-kaniyang personal na buhay at hindi po namin pinakekealaman yun.” (PHOTOS: Coco Martin, Julia Montes in ‘A Moment in Time)

(What we show, what we do, those things are to make the viewers happy. But when it comes to our personal lives, we have our own personal lives that we don’t interfere with.)

TEASING. Coco Martin and Maja Salvador laugh as they discuss the CocoJam tandem at the 'Ang Probinsyano' press conference. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler.com

Maja added that she and Coco are lucky that the CocoJam fans understand that as actors, they really get paired with different people. “Tsaka maswerte po kami ni Coco dahil katulad nun, ang tagal naghintay ng CocoJam [fans]. Maswerte kami na hindi bumitaw yung mga CocoJam na 4 na taon sila naghintay, nagtiis, nagrequest ng kahit picture lang nitong magkasama kami,” she said.

(We’re lucky that CocoJam [fans] waited so long. We’re lucky that the CocoJam fans didn’t let go in the 4 years that they waited and requested for even just a picture of the two of us together.)

The 4-year wait, she said makes the show even more special. “Maswerte kami ni Coco dahil meron kaming mga fans, may supporters kami, na malawak yung pagiintindi at sobrang mahal kami na kahit iba-iba yung naging kapareha namin, sinuportahan pa rin kami. At doble, triple yung suporta na ibinibigay nila ngayong magkasama na kami ulit, so sobrang proud ako sa CocoJam, sa mga CocoJam fans kasi talagang wagas, kakaiba yung pagmamahal nila.”

(Coco and I are lucky because we have fans, supporters, who have a greater understanding and love us so much that even though we’re paired with other people, they still support us. And the support that they give is double, triple, now that we’re together again, so I’m so proud of CocoJam, of the CocoJam fans, because their love is complete, it’s different.)

Ang Probinsyano will air its first episode on September 28. – Rappler.com

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.