‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’ actors have fun working together

(From left) Romnick Sarmenta, Cai Cortez and Kat Galang. | PHOTOGRAPH BY JOCELYN VALLE FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Aside from lead stars Kim Chiu and Paulo Avelino, the other cast members make Dreamscape Entertainment and ABS-CBN’s remake of the hit Korean drama series What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim truly Pinoy and thoroughly entertaining.

For starters, they all enjoy playing their characters and working together in the romantic-comedy series directed by Chad Vidanes and can be streamed on Viu Philippines. This was evident in the way they talked about their experiences making What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim during its mediacon.

Janice de Belen, a self-confessed fan of anything Korean, recalled getting very excited when contacted by the production to play Carlota Castillo, the mother of Avelino’s character Brandon Manansala Castillo. Her husband is portrayed by Franco Laurel. She then quipped, “Ang lungkot ko lang, akala ko ako si Secretary Kim. Hindi pala. Mali pala ako. Sayang (It’s just sad that I thought I’d be Secretary Kim. But no. I was wrong. Such a pity).”

Chiu was tapped instead to play the titular role of Secretary Kim, who works for the overbearing and narcissistic Brandon as the vice chairman of a big corporation played by Avelino. Brandon’s life turns upside down when his trusted and dependable secretary decides to resign from her job.

De Belen went on talking about Avelino and Chiu: “I’ve already worked with them before, so this time is not different. In fact, hindi ko nga sila masyadong nakikita (I hardly see them). Hindi madalas kaming magkita (We rarely see one another). But working with them is always a pleasure.”

Jake Cuenca, who plays De Belen’s other son, Cyrus, and the rival of his brother Brandon, found working on the series “really fun,” especially since he and Avelino are real-life best friends. “This is not a typical project that Paulo does. It’s not a drama. It’s not an action… I got nervous because I’m acting with my best friend, and I know how good he is.”

Over at Chiu’s character Kimberly Liwanag’s family, she has Romnick Sarmenta playing her father Felix Liwanag, Cai Cortez as her sister Klarisse and Kat Galang as her other sister, also named Kat. Sarmenta shared his thoughts as part of the show: “I’m truly honored. It’s always been a pleasure to work for our bosses in Dreamscape and ABS-CBN. It’s a great privilege.”

He added, “It’s also my first time to work with Paulo and Kim. I enjoyed myself immensely on the set. We have a great captain, si Direk Chad. He’s always fun to work with… I have a great family here — si Miss Cai and Kat. I have Kim and Pau. I play something very close to my heart: being a father. It doesn’t really feel like work.”

Cortez explained how they play their characters, “Actually, hindi kami masyadong nag-focus kung paano ginawa sa Korea. Kasi, as sila Direk Chad said, gusto nila ’yung Filipino touch talaga. So, mas nag-focus kami sa chemistry naming apat at sa closeness na puwedeng ma-relate sa screen (We didn’t focus on how the series was made in Korea. Our director wanted it to have the Filipino touch. We focused on building our chemistry and closeness as a family that we can show onscreen).”

Galang agreed, “Naging natural lang talaga siguro. First time naming magka-work together — si Kim, si Sir Nicko (Romnick), si Ate Cai. Pagdating namin sa look test at sa first day of work, click naman kami agad. Siguro kasi I feel like ang common denominator naming lahat ay very family-oriented. Masarap yapusin ang Liwanag family kasi gano’n sila (It came out naturally, I guess. We’re working for the first time. At the look test, we clicked right away. Maybe because we are all family-oriented. Because of that, the Liwanag family is so easy to embrace).”