Acting battle galore: Carla Abellana, Beauty Gonzales play dual roles, even switch characters, in ‘Stolen Life’

The Kapuso network is all set to showcase the acting mettle of two its lead actresses
— Carla Abellana and Beauty Gonzales — by making each of them play dual roles in Stolen Life, an afternoon series premiering on 13 November at 3:20 pm.

The series’ storyline has them switching at one point the respective characters they play. Abellana portrays Lucy, the well-off wife of Darius Rigor, played by Gabby Concepcion. Gonzales is Farrah, Lucy’s cousin who has to work as Darius’ assistant since she can’t find a job due to some crime in the past. 

Farrah is so envious of Lucy’s fine luck and decides one night to take over Lucy’s entire being through an esoteric practice the show’s writer (Glaiza Ramirez) calls “astral projection.” (In serious esoterica, there is no such thing; what some people claim to practice is the so-called “astral travel.”) In turn, Lucy begins to behave like the pesky and aggressive Farrah.

Ramirez pointed out in an interview that the switching of characters gives the actresses a chance to play both protagonist and antagonist at certain points in the storyline. The switch also prevents their characters from becoming purely white or black. 

The characters grew up together as cousins. In the story, both eventually discover they’ve been stealing each other’s lives through “astral projection.”

At the recent media presser for the series, Abellana and Gonzales were in mutual admiration mode for their ability to take on each other’s characters.

Abellana said she considers the dual role her hardest acting job yet. “Pinakamahirap sa mga nagawa ko. Ang hirap pong hindi mabaliw dun sa pag-switch ng character! (The hardest I’ve done yet. It’s so hard not to get crazy over my character’s switch)”

Still, she the experience was “mahirap pero enjoy,” she added.

Concepcion also gushed at what his two leading ladies have done so far in the series, which is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng.

Stolen Life is the second series team-up of Abellana and Concepcion, the first having been Because of You in 2015, also on GMA 7, with Mark Reyes and Ricky Davao as directors. Rodriguez turned up at the Stolen Life media launch and was all praises for Abellana and Gonzales. 

Welcome back, Celia Rodriguez

Stolen Life  is also notable for reviving the acting career of Celia Rodriguez, now 85 years old and portraying the mother of Darius Rigor and a younger brother played by Anjo Damiles. 

Rodriguez has not been seen in movies for some time, but has had acting parts on TV, mostly with the Kapuso network. She was included in the sitcom Who’s Your Daddy Now? (2007) and the romantic-comedy series I Heart You, Pare! (2011) starring Dingdong Dantes and Regine Velasquez.

In 2013, the durable and always glamorous Rodriguez returned to afternoon TV in the highly acclaimed Magkano Ba Ang Pag-ibig, with Maryo J de los Reyes at the helm. She was the supreme contravida to the sweethearts played by Heart Evangelista and Sid Lucero. The series, which ran for a year, had a powerhouse cast that included Alessandra de Rossi. 

Concepcion, who turned 59 this 5 November, has just had a well-attended reunion concert with ex-wife Sharon Cuneta. The concert Dear Heart is set to be staged in Cebu City on 17 November at NuStar’s Convention Center. 

Abellana is 37 and seems to be doing exceptionally well after her controversial separation from husband Tom Rodriguez, who has gone back to the US where he grew up (though he was born in Samar). No one asked Abellana about her ex. Instead, the journos asked about her supposed rift with her father, actor Rey Abellana. 

Abellana denied the rumor, saying that while she and her dad haven’t seen each other in person for some time now, they do text each other. 

Abellana’s mother is former actress Rhea Reyes, a daughter of long-retired actress Delia Razon. 

Meanwhile, Gonzales is 32 and has strong Spanish blood, since her dad was pure Spanish and her mom has Spanish blood, too. Her husband is art curator Norman Crisologo and they have one child, a daughter.