Nathalie Tomada – The Philippine Star

September 20, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lovi Poe has expressed her desire to play the female version of Panday, as she dedicated her recent transfer to ABS-CBN to her late father, Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), who was also known as the “king of Philippine movies.”

“Oh my gosh! I would love to do Panday as a woman,” the former Kapuso star said in a mediacon when asked about projects she wishes to do as a newly-minted Kapamilya star.To recall, FPJ originated the role of Panday, when the fictional comics character created by Carlo J. Caparas was first adapted into an action-fantasy film in 1980, also produced and directed by the late action star.

Lovi’s dream might just come true as ABS-CBN has been entrusted with the late National Artist for Film’s body of works after acquiring the rights to his exclusive movie library, considered as one of the largest libraries in Philippine cinema.

The 32-year-old is also open to appearing in the ABS-CBN action series Ang Probinsyano, the TV adaptation of the 1997 FPJ film with the same title.

If given the chance, Lovi will explore the genre her father was noted for. “I haven’t done an action series,” she said. “Of course, happy ako that I’ve been doing drama. I’ve done romantic comedies somehow, but one genre I haven’t done is action.”

Reflecting on what her father might have thought of her move to ABS-CBN, Lovi said, “Being around people who have worked with my dad or who even took care of my dad and made him grow to become this person, I’m sure he’d feel so happy… He would say that I’m in good hands. I’m sure my dad is smiling right now.”

She disclosed that her half-sister, Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, was informed beforehand of her decision. “Si Ate Grace, she’s really one of the people I’ve spoken to. She’s been there for me ever since, and especially this whole thing. Malaking pasasalamat ko because si Ate Grace, you know, with the absence of my father now, even if she really doesn’t have to play this kind of role, she’s giving me so much support that I don’t feel the loss of our dad. So, I’m really grateful for Ate Grace and Tita Susan (Roces) for being completely supportive and amazing this whole time.”

Lovi also welcomed the recent Senate approval of the bill seeking to rename Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City after FPJ. “That’s such great news because, you know, Papa’s been for the people ever since. And I think it’s just such a nice way to keep his legacy going and, you know, remind people as well what my father FPJ had done.”

Meanwhile, after her contract-signing with ABS-CBN, Lovi is set to fly to the UK and start shooting for the international film project The Chelsea Cowboy with British stars Alex Pettyfer and Poppy Delevingne. She will portray the British blues diva Dana Gillespie in the movie executive-produced, among others, by Avengers actor Idris Elba.

“I’m just happy and grateful for doing projects abroad. That’s definitely something I wish a lot of us (Filipino actors) would be able to do. I mean, of course, me getting into this different playing field is already a huge thing and I believe for everybody who would love to do the same thing. Just to be part of this movie is a real blessing for me.”

She’s been taking classes with a dialect coach as her preparation.

After filming in the UK, she’s expected to return to the country to shoot for her first project as Kapamilya, the Philippine TV adaptation of the hit Korean drama Flower of Evil, with Piolo Pascual.

Lovi appeared to be unaffected as well by those unhappy with her choice to begin a new chapter with ABS-CBN — just the latest in a series of surprising network transfers over the pandemic — after being with GMA for 15 years. In an Instagram post, she thanked her former home network for taking a chance on an “unknown dreamer.”

If there’s one thing she has learned through the years of being in showbiz, it is that, “It’s very important to focus on your own lane. And never compare yourself to others. I think that’s one important truth because when you’re busy watering your own garden or your own area, you won’t end up comparing yourself because you’re busy growing or making yourself grow. It’s also important to always take the extra mile; it’s like you do more than what’s asked of you.”

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