It’s on to Hollywood for TV5.
International recording artist and American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta planed in fromAfter a very aggressive year of luring talents from leading networks, ABS-CBN 2 and GMA 7, Manny V. Pangilinan’s young media venture has gone beyond borders to find its latest star.
Los Angeles on January 13 to begin shooting a primetime series for the Kapatid Network. The 21-year-old Maimi-native is being cast opposite TV5’s homegrown talents Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Eula Caballero in the teleserye Nandito Ako, where he will play the role of a Filipino-American singer who goes back to his roots in the Philippines.
“To have David here with us now is proof that it can be done,” TV5’s head for Entertainment and Creative Services told The Manila Times. It was his confident reply to the question whether the American Idol is just the first of more Hollywood stars to be wooed by TV5.
Intalan revealed that the David Archuleta coup was the result of the network’s constant aim to push the envelope. It started back in August 2011 over a casual conversation with Sony Music Philippines’ head honcho Narciso Chan, following David’s sold out concert in Manila.
“It was just an idea—a proposal out of the ordinary—but I told Ciso, ‘I’m serious’ if you are’,” Intalan recalled. “Before we knew it, we found ourselves negotiating with David’s lawyers in New York, Los Angeles, Singapore and Hong Kong; and by December, we were told he had accepted our offer.”
All the same, Intalan was hesitant to formally announce the network’s Hollywood acquisition, unable to believe it himself.
“It was only after David blogged about it early January that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief,” he laughed. “Truth is, I’m still pinching myself if all this is real.”
Loved by all
The fact that David Archuleta is loved by all—whether young or old—is the reason why TV5 chose to invite him to do a mini-series for its budding primetime block. More importantly, according to Intalan, the singer—who is a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church)—shares many similar values with Filipinos.
“We couldn’t ask for a better leading man for Jasmine and Eula,” he related. “Everyone loves David. We all know him well enough to watch him on a show every night.”
Intalan is all the more grateful to TV5’s newest Kapatid for agreeing to a hectic three-week shoot, especially since David is preparing to go on hiatus from show business to do missionary work for two years.
In response, David said at a press conference at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Friday that he is very happy for the chance to work with TV5 before he embarks on voluntary service for his church.
Comfy in the Philippines
The unassuming celebrity readily admits that he has hardly any acting background, except for cameos on teen shows Hannah Montana and iCarly back in the States. But his eagerness for new experiences drove him to accept the TV5 offer.
“I felt that since I’m not a pro in acting, I wanted to try it out where I feel comfortable; and I feel very comfortable here in the Philippines,” David shared, as his face lit up with his famously shy and boyish smile. “It’s my fourth time to visit Manila, and I always have a blast when I’m here.”
Ever the down-to-earth American Idol, David didn’t bring a huge entourage for his three-week work trip. “I only have my road manager with me,” he said. “I don’t like to draw too much attention on myself.”
Despite having an undemanding foreign celebrity in their stable, TV5 is pulling out all the stops for the David Archuleta project. A day after the successful GMA 7 primetime “epic series” Amaya ended its run on Friday, TV5 immediately announced that they have signed on its director Mac Alejandre for Nandito Ako.
“We’ll be shooting with David both in Manila and Batangas,” continued Intalan, who is also tight-lipped on how much the network offered the singer to convince him to launch his acting career in the Philippines.
“We’ll try to show him as much of our sights and culture as we can, but like David himself said, it will be a very busy three weeks of shootings.”
David told the press that he took a very short acting workshop in Los Angeles before coming over to Manila to prepare for the mini-series.
“I should be OK,” he smiled. “Most of my script will be in English with only a few Filipino words.”
He will, however, do a cover of the Ogie Alcasid classic “Nandito Ako,” which is certainly something to look forward to.
After his second place finish on American Idol in 2008, then 17-year-old David officially began his recording career later that summer with the single “Crush” from his self-titled album. The song successfully debuted at no. 2, and the CD also went gold in a matter of months.
His next release was a holiday album titled Christmas from the Heart in 2009, followed by and The Other Side of Down in 2010.
According to David, he will be recording as much music as he can when he returns to the States after his TV5 project, in preparation for his two-year sabbatical.
“I want to fill the time while I’m gone with recordings from my fans,” he related.
As for his fans in the Philippines, February will be the next big thing to anticipate as David Archuleta’s very first acting foray premieres on TV5.