In Directing the series Legal Wives, Zig Dulay had a main goal. He wanted to narrate a story about a man who has three wives in such a way audiences in a dominantly Catholic country would understand.
Speaking to Manila Standard Entertainment, the television director shared what his vision was being at the helm of the ground breaking drama.
“I’ve done a few stories about indegenous peoples, so somehow, I try to be culturally and politically correct when tackling them. We are aware that sometimes misrepresentation happens so I try to be as sensitive as possible. So, our main vision was to share a breakthrough drama in the best way possible,” the television director explained.
While in production, Dulay and his team encountered numerous challenges including creative and cultural limitations. The TV director relied on his experience dealing with indegenous peoples and on the creative team behind the project.
“We are dealing with a very sensitive theme, a culture that most people will not easily understand,” Dulay started.
“In relation to the series’ cultural aspect, we had seminar and we had an expert on board. As a director, I wanted to direct the series na wala yung stereotype or kung paano ko ihahandle ang kultura ng polygamy. I had to learn and understand that culture,” he carried on.
Legal Wives, which premieres tonight on GMA primetime block, also explores the many facets of love. It features a casting coup top-billed by Dennis Trillo as Ismael Makadatu, an honorable man from a well-off Maranaw family who will equally love three women out of obligation, dedication, and compassion; Alice Dixson as Amirah Alonte, the virtuous and pious daughter of a sultan and Ismael›s first wife; Andrea Torres as Diane San Luis, Isamel’s second wife who is a feisty modern Catholic woman who will go to great lengths to fight for herself and Ismael›s love; Bianca Umali as Farrah Valeandong, a smart and innocent lady who becomes Ismael's third wife in hopes of saving her family's reputation.
Dennis, who considers this series as his primetime comeback, expresses his enthusiasm for what›s in store for the viewers, “I felt important when the project was offered to me. Maganda ang latag ng kuwento, magagaling din ang lahat ng kasama ko na artista. Manghihinayang ako kung hindi ito napunta sa akin.”
“I wanted to share the colorful culture of the Marana with the audience. Kagigiliwan nila ang bawat characters na siguradong kapupulutan nila ng aral,» he added.
Alice, in turn, hopes that their series would bridge Filipinos and shed some light on the culture of Muslim people, “They’re actually very loving, God-fearing people. They have the same goals and desires. They have strong family bonds. Magandang paraan itong TV show na ito para ipakita kung ano 'yung differences at kung ano din ‹yung likenesses natin as Filipinos.”
Andrea, on the other hand, reveals how different and challenging her role is in the series and how she works her way into channeling her, “I think ang pinaka-challenge is to find that balance kasi there are so many layers to her character, napakadami niyang pagdadaanan dito. So binantayan po namin ni Direk Zig na you’ll always understand where she’s coming from and why she’s doing those things. Love is her weakness but that’s also where she’ll get strength to fight back.”
Meanwhile, Bianca shares her gratitude for landing the role of Farrah and looks forward to learning more as an actress through the show, “I am very honored na ako po ay pinagkatiwalaan na mapasama sa cast ng proyektong ito. I felt so nervous acting alongside the veteran stars. “
Making this series even grander is the stellar roster of cast headlined by Cherie Gil, Al Tantay, Juan Rodrigo, Irma Adlawan, Tommy Abuel, Maricar De Mesa, and Bernard Palanca.
The original series also features the special participation of Derrick Monasterio, Alfred Vargas, and Mon Confiado.
Legal Wives introduces two of the network’s rising artists Shayne Sava and Abdul Rahman.
Also part of the cast are Kevin Santos, Ashley Ortega, Jay Arcilla, Divine Aucina, Raquel Paren, Melbelline Caluag, Chanel Latorre, and Brent Valdez.
Set in Lanao Del Sur, the story begins with a Maranaw man named Ismael (Dennis) from the affluent and noble family of Makadatu. Although a devout Muslim and a muezzin (sever of the mosque), Ismael falls for Diane (Andrea), a dentist who is part of the Catholic minority in their province, and whom he keeps from his family as she is considered a non-believer.
In a sudden turn of events, Ismael gets entangled in a clan feud which leads to his marriage with his brother›s widow, Amirah (Alice). Ismael follows the disheartened Diane in Manila and tries to woo her unbeknownst to his parents. Just when the two are starting to build a happy marriage, Ismael is met with another conflict. Upon his return to their province, his friend – who he is greatly indebted to – seeks his help in saving their family›s reputation by marrying Farrah (Bianca), her daughter who is involved in a scandal.
How will Ismael›s three wives deal with each other’s socio-cultural differences along with the idea of them sharing one husband? Is the idea of a man loving more than just one woman, equally and all at the same time, really possible?
The enthralling tale of Legal Wives begins tonight after The World Between Us on GMA Network. It is also available for streaming via iQiyi International or IQ.com for subscribers in the Philippines.