KimPau ‘kilig’ overload!

Remaking a hit Korean drama series is a tall order, especially if it banks on the chemistry between the lead actors, as in the case of the wildly popular romantic comedy What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018), starring top stars Park Seo-joon and Park Min-young.

Their counterparts, Paulo Avelino and Kim Chiu, in the Philippine version produced by Dreamscape Entertainment for the Hong Kong-based video streaming provider Viu, have more than chemistry going for them.

PAULO Avelino and Kim Chiu in ‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim.’ | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ABS-CBN

They also have easy rapport and genuine care for each other. Well, it helped that they worked together in the suspense-drama Linlang just before taking on this new project.

While Avelino was answering a question during a recent mediacon for What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim about the pressure in making the adaption, Chiu told the audience, “Mas pogi naman s’ya kay (He’s more handsome than) Park Seo-joon, di ba (right)?” He was visibly taken aback, but still succeeded in keeping his cool with a cute comeback, “Ano bang gusto mong dinner mamaya (What do you want for dinner later), Kim?”

Chiu could only reply with her trademark bedimpled smile as she let Avelino go on explaining their work in the adaption. “What we did was stick to the script and draw on our culture on how we can do it well as Filipinos,” he said.

Kim then added, “Actually pag pinanood mo (if you watch it) side-by-side, parehas s’ya (it’s the same with the original Korean). Pero ang (But our) story natin mas Pilipino at makaka-relate ang karamihan (is more Filipino that can be relatable to the majority), like being family-oriented.”

Thus, their characters’ respective family backgrounds are explored more in the adaptation. Avelino as Brandon Manansala Castillo, the narcissistic vice chairman of a major corporation, has his parents Robert and Carlota Castillo (played by Franco Laurel and Janice de Belen) and brother Cyrus Castillo (Jake Cuenca).

On the other hand, Chiu’s Kimberly Liwanag character, the thoroughly efficient secretary of Brandon who suddenly announces her resignation, has her father Felix Liwanag (Romnick Sarmenta) and sisters Klarisse and Katrina (Cai Cortez and Kat Galang).

Love matters

When the two leads were asked at the media huddle about the most unusual thing or a gesture they’ve done for love or a past relationship, Chiu was stumped. “Ang hirap naman…Ano ba ang love? Nakalimutan ko na!” she said, laughing, and turned to her seatmate and leading man. Ipapaalala mo nga! Ikaw muna (That’s difficult to answer. What is love? I forgot about it already. Remind me. You answer first).”

Avelino asked for clarification, “Can it be love for a friend or a co-worker?” He then declared, referring to his leading lady, “Ito, itong (This) Secretary Kim. Bilang katrabaho ka at sa lahat ng binigay mo (As a co-worker and everything you’ve given here)…” Chiu cut in, “Sobrang (He’s so) funny s’ya dito (here), hindi na s’ya si (he’s no longer) Paulo Avelino dito (here).”

He pointed out, “Teka lang, pag love ang pinag-uusapan (Wait a minute, when love is being talked about) change topic.” She stated, “Pinupuri kita (I’m praising you).”

Avelino went on, “I think if it was offered to me and it wasn’t Kim [as my leading lady], I’d probably have second thoughts. [I took it] because of Kim and sir Deo.” He was referring to the late founder of Dreamscape Entertainment, Deo Endrinal.

In response, Chiu just offered her hand to his leading man for a handshake. She finally found a way to the question about love: “Sobrang giving ko na tao, na parang ayokong may nale-left out or may nao-OP or something. I always give as long as I can give. Wala namang mawawala sa ’kin kung magbibigay ako, e! (I’m a very giving person, like I don’t want anybody to be left out or out of place. Anyway, I have nothing to lose if I give).

Di ko alam. Sagot n’ya kasi nalito tuloy ako…Unusual na bagay…Siguro marami kang magagawa na unusual kapag nagmahal ka. Hindi na ’yun unusual sa ’yo. Parang normal na sa ’yo ’yun kapag ando’n ang love. So, hanggang doon na lang (Oh, I don’t know! His answer threw me off. Unusual thing. Maybe you do many unusual things if you love someone. It doesn’t become unusual to you. It comes out natural to you if there’s love. Let’s leave it at that).”

In What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, which is directed by Chad Vidanes, there will be many unusual things Avelino’s Brandon character will do to woo Chiu’s Kimberly character back not only under his employ but also in his heart. After all, the series just started streaming yesterday, 18 March, on Viu.