Rachel Alejandro revealed what really went down on set while filming the buzzworthy confrontation scene in ABS-CBN’s The Broken Marriage Vow (TBMV).

The dinner scene already made iconic by the show’s predecessors — Doctor Foster, the BBC original series (where it was aptly dubbed “dinner party from hell”), as well as the hit Korean version A World of the Married — has long generated interest over how it would play out in the Philippine adaptation.

When Episode 31 aired on March 7, the TBMV scene obviously delivered as it ranked among the top trends on Twitter in the Philippines. If you haven’t seen it, this is where all hell breaks loose as Dr. Jill Ilustre (played by Jodi Sta. Maria) is done having a pity party and exposes the two-year affair between her husband David Ilustre (Zanjoe Marudo) and his young mistress Lexy Lucero (Sue Ramirez) before the latter’s parents and the couple’s “friends” Fred and Nathalia Lucero (Art Acuna and Rachel).

Sue Ramirez as Lexy Lucero and Zanjoe Marudo as David Ilustre are shocked after their illicit affair is exposed.

“Your daughter is sleeping with my husband. Nabuntis ni David ang anak ninyo at pumunta siya ng Amerika para ipa-abort ang bata,” so goes the lethal blow from the betrayed wife.

A fuming Lexy smacks the back of Jill’s head in reaction, but the unflappable Jill scene simply fixes her hair and makes her way out of the dinner with a subtly triumphant expression on her face, as chaos erupts in the background. David and Lexy land on the floor — he, bearing the brunt of Fred’s anger and she, wailing over the unexpected bombshell. The full episode is available on iWantTFC and Viu.

Jodi Sta. Maria as Dr. Jill Ilustre exits from the dinner chaos after dropping the cheating bombshell in the ABS-CBN Dreamscape series The Broken Marriage Vow.

According to Rachel, the explosive dinner scene actually took a while to shoot.

“It took us two days. It had to be done in two different days because hindi talaga kinaya na gawin sa isang araw because it’s a very long scene and dami talagang kinunan na iba’t-ibang reaction shots,” she told The STAR in a recent virtual one-on-one.

From left: Zanjoe, Jodi, Art Acuña (as Fred Lucero), Rachel and Sue in the dinner scene where all hell breaks loose.

“I thought it came out very well. I mean the fact that I saw different re-enactments (laughs) on TikTok na sobrang funny, well, it really made a mark on a lot of viewers. I think it’s a scene that they will remember for sometime.”

Rachel recalled it was one of the most difficult things she had to do for TBMV, which incidentally is her first ABS-CBN drama.

“Even if I have been singing for so long and the acting I’ve done has been mostly on stage, I’ve also done a few films, but as a teleserye actor, I still think of myself as a newbie. Hindi talaga ako ganun ka sanay sa mga paspasan… na you come to the set, tapos take na.

“Of course, nagkaroon ng conversation with direk Connie (Macatuno), she was very clear with what she wanted to achieve. And I also saw the original version, Doctor Foster. So, somehow, may idea naman ako kung papaano tatakbo yung eksena. But I have to say, I felt really nervous because I don’t really know… As an actor, you don’t really know kung anong lalabas sayo, anong performance yung lalabas sayo. And once na tumingin na ako sa mukha ni Jodi na talagang wow, she’s so powerful, kinabahan ako.

“Of course, si Sue hindi rin naman talaga nagpatalo, and Zanjoe as well and of course, Art. He’s just so, so powerful and excellent as Fred Lucero, particularly in this scene, parang I felt like a little mouse (laughs)!”

But Rachel held her own in the scene, her character registering wordless shock and looking torn between reining in her husband’s rage and trying to comfort her only child.

“Anong nangyari kay Nathalia dito sa eksena, she’s really shocked di ba, because she had no idea that this was in fact happening. Feeling niya kasi good friends sila ni Doc Jill… In my mind kasi, the way that I formed the relationship with Doc Jill, there is so much admiration there. She is such an aspirational person, isa siyang accomplished doctor, professor, gustong gusto ko siya. So, as the scene is unfolding, gumuho yung mundo ni Nathalia bilang fashionista and all, na masaya lang buhay niya, tapos boom! All of a sudden, here’s this revelation.”

Asked how many takes they had to do for the scene, Rachel said there were countless as direk Connie’s filming style was to repeatedly shoot the scene per different angle.

She also hinted that they went off-script. “When Lexi was on the floor, naghahagulgol na and all, actually nahirapan medyo kami duon kasi siempre she was in tears and yun kasi mahirap ‘pag iyakan scenes… it’s difficult because… lalo na ‘pag may nagkamali sa lines or minsan talaga kahit na medyo nadala ka na sa eksena and medyo yung lines na supposedly andun hindi na nasunod, kailangan you roll with it because sayang naman yung organic na emotion di ba? So, I think that’s what happened there,” she said.

But hands-down, the scene left her in awe of Jodi.

“Nganga nalang talaga ako kay Jodi. She’s so watchable. I think there are actors, they’re so magnetic that they pull the eye, you know. So even though marami nangyayari sa eksena, nandito si Lexi, nandito si Art… ako yung talagang natutulala kay Ms. Jodi.

“I think she deserves something. I think this is an award-winning performance if ever there is one. I think this is one of the finest performances that she has ever churned out in her career.”

(The Broken Marriage Vow can also be seen on weeknights at 8:40 on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, TV5, and Kapamilya Online Live on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.)

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