Meet The Stars of Niño: Miguel Tanfelix, Bianca Umali and Renz Valerio

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It was a great day to have been able to talk to the lead stars of GMA's upcoming series Niño. This particular program will air this April 28th replacing the Marian Rivera starer Carmela. It's a tough job but it seems that these teens know what they're up against in other channels. They all seem optimistic and glad that GMA trusted them with this. If you haven't seen them before, they're the same kids who did the very successful "Mga Basang Sisiw" remake a few years ago. From left to right, he's Renz Valerio, Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. They had a very sunny disposition and were all having fun. The time spent together during that series made them a bit closer than usual. This interview happened during the taping for GMA webisodes that you should also watch out for, check for that!

They don't come as promising as this young guy Miguel Tanfelix. I was thinking I've seen him somewhere before and didn't know that he was that cute little kid that got the role of Pagaspas during the "Mulawin" days. He was a little chubby and cute back then, but look at him now. He's bound to become a really recognized teen idol in a few days. He's good looking, charming, a little on the moreno side which isn't quite common these days. Plus when we talked to him, I really sensed he's quite a smart guy because he answers questions eloquently. 

He is by the way starring in the new GMA program Niño. When asked about his role, he said that he's going to portray a mentally challenged guy who's around 15years old but acts and speaks like a 7 year old. His journey in Niño is like a mix of religious stories starting from being sent to a river when he was born, to getting adoptive parents which I felt was quite similar to Moses' story. He adds he is also going to be in this story with friends, one of which is also named Niño where you'll see something that would generally make your heart melt right from the very beginning. Even if they are young, they will show how much they wanted their community to change and you'll see their journey, how their personalities and lives change. 

The Niño character that he's playing will be initially a little easily annoyed so he doesn't quite get along with other people. Comparing this to his previous role in "Tinik sa Dibdib" who was also about a mentally challenged kid, he says that it was a little younger because the age of the kid in that story would probably be around 5 years old and it had some physical acting done on it too. This one however entails a little bit of speech and emotion involved plus they wanted to have him a little bit close to Sean Penn's "I am Sam" role without the physical aspect of that happening and leave the kid a little normal looking. He also had to modify his speech because he would need to have a stutter/impediments in this series. He's having a bit of  delay in learning and he'll try his best for that character to show.

He prepared quite extensively for the role of Niño and have undergone several days of workshops with the Director of the series Maryo J. delos Reyes and promises to deliver whatever he's been able to learn from that experience. The workshop he says was quite hard because we know how serious Direk is about his craft, but you just have to be thankful in that situation because you know you're learning a lot from someone very respected in the industry. He also says that even if that day only lasted like 4 hours, he felt that it was already an eternity because he's got the tendency to squeeze everything out from you. It was all worth it though because you'll get to realize later on that you can use what you've learned from that bit to projects such as this. He's also glad that he's being paired in Niño with Bianca Umali. They're very close friends and that's that. When I asked how he feels that he's being groomed as the next Dingdong Dantes, he says he's happy and a little pressured because he knows how big of a star Dong is - not to mention his achievements also. This is one of the reasons why he is so thankful to GMA because they continue to trust him as far as work is concerned. This guy has a lot of promise and I'm sure there will be thousands or maybe millions that would soon adore him. I bet. He's a cool one!

She's beautiful no? She's Bianca Umali. You probably also saw her in "Mga Basang Sisw" and other shows in GMA. She's going to be Angelica Guevarra in this series. Her role is vital since she'll be the best friend of Miguel. She'll be his number one supporter no matter what it is. She's also bound to actually take care of him because as we know, Niño has a condition. She adds no matter what Niño does or have problems with, it'll always be Angelica that will be by his side. Just like Miguel and other artists under GMA Artist Center, they undergo workshops under Direk Maryo. 

As far as the soap goes, she would like to have everything better. Not just because there's existing pressure since their previous project was successful but she just wants to do her job the best way she can whether it'll be future ones or the ones in the past. Their show is on prime time and she totally understands how much responsibility that entails. She also hopes that the new project would eventually show high ratings because after all this is a business that GMA is running. She's also confident that they will perform quite well even topping other shows in the same time slot. 

She expects everyone to like the story and appreciate everything that will happen every day of the week because this is totally different and hopes the show gets extended because of that. As for getting paired with good looking Miguel Tanfelix over there, she says she's always open to be paired with other stars and working with different actors as part of a love team or not. She's very comfortable working with Miguel because she has already worked with him in three shows before this happened like Paroa, Mga Basang Sisiw etc. She says "It was really nice to find out that your co actors in the project would be someone you already know on cam and off cam." She also is currently home schooled and she told us that she misses the whole formal school setup because she doesn't have a normal social life. She adds "Showbiz is already my social life but if it's the regular student social life, I don't have one talaga". She doesn't go out at all but she shops with family. She would want to eventually go out with friends and do what normal girls do. A little sad but I guess that's still a bonus if she's still able to study right? Anyway, she's really articulate and bright. I like her.

This guy right here is Renz Valerio. Aren't they growing up so fast? :) He just recently won the Pepsters Award Male Childstar of the Year. He didn't really expect to win that because it was just mentioned to him by his supporters through Twitter. Plus, the competition was a little tough since stars from ABSCBN were included on that list. He says he didn't give enough attention to it because he was a little busy taping for Mga Basang Sisiw that time. This was at the time when Honesto and Santino were all on top. He won because of the help of his fans and he was really so happy about it. 

About Niño, he was so happy when news got to him that they're doing a story conference on it already. When he got there, he was surprised to also see his co actors from the previous project more so because it's his best friend who was also there. They are sharing their adoration for Bianca Umali though and felt that she was already being a little "Ate" figure because she was always helping them in the scenes. He's so happy GMA trusted them with this because this isn't simple having Niño on the title. It'll delve on religion, family and friends and he thinks it's one of the most iconic roles to play on TV so far. He also is honored and hopes the religious ones would find nice things about the story. Just being one of the actors that will play something on this project is enough for him and he wants to prove that they are worthy to be trusted to do this. 

Even if his role in Niño would involve him to be a nasty little jerk, he says he always plays the good guy so this is something different that would make him go into other roles not just the goody two shoes kind of person he always plays. He doesn't see this as a threat but actually considers this as a good opportunity to see how his acting ability can do different facets of life. 

I asked if he's afraid of getting haters, he doesn't mind it and says he's even inspired to do it much like his Ate Maxene Magalona in Mga Basang Sisiw. That role irked a lot of her fans to the point that they hated her already and wanted her to quit that show. That's also his goal. He just wants to show how versatile he is as an actor and says he hopes the audience would be intelligent enough and appreciate the work put into portraying a bad guy in this series. It's an opportunity to explore and step out of his comfort zone. He says "Sana makita ng mga fans na "Ginawa to ni Renz" kahit mahirap para sa kanya" and hopes it doesn't affect how nice his fans see him. He is going to be the third wheel in this project and will be the love interest of Bianca Umali which will make the story a little more interesting. He wishes to be paired to Marian Rivera (that's a wish!) or Bianca Umali because she knows her a lot already. Acting wise, he has learned a lot with Bianca in making them to be "in character". He also says Direk Maryo is a little strict when they got into a workshop in the past. He's a little nervous now but he hopes he lives up to the expectations of the Director. He wants to have a good start so he's going to be professional while doing the series. He's a good chap and I like the positive aura he en-vibes. He hopes the role of Raphael will be a good test to see if he's fit to play an antagonist to a pretty well loved character soon.

They hold a LOT of promise and it looks like the stable of GMA Artist Center has a good bunch of talents set to get you be in love when prime time comes this April 28 when they replace Carmela in this time slot. Thank you guys, you were such an ease to talk to! Thank you also to GMA Social Media and GMA Artist Center who hooked us up on this interview! :)


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