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Rita Avila joins ‘Never Say Goodbye’ as Alice Dixson’s nemesis, not as Nora Aunor’s replacement

Rita Avila.

Although she’s regarded as versatile enough to take on any role, not too many people can recall Rita Avila playing a kontrabida, let alone a wealthy and glamorous one, like Greta Pendelton who is now turning things upside down and inside out in TV5’s “Never Say Goodbye”.

“Oo nga, ang madalas maalala ng tao sa kin, eh yung nanay na laging ipinagtatanggol ang anak,” she admitted. “Pero excited ako sa character ni Greta kasi edgy ‘yung pagka-glamorosa nya at although maldita siya, ‘yung pagkamaldita niya medyo nakakatuwa naman. Natatawa nga ako rin whenever I read her dialogues in the script.”

Indeed, Greta is likely to be a kontrabida a lot of people would root for, thanks largely in part to a mysterious back story that will reveal that she was actually a victim of the ambitiousness and cruelty of Criselda (Alice Dixson), the villainess every fan of the series loves to hate.

“Sobrang bitch at sobrang brat ang character ko dito. Ang laki ng galit ng character ko kay Criselda so whatever she has, aagawin ko, including her husband, Javier,” she added.

More importantly, Greta was also the lone witness to the crime committed by Criselda and Javier (Cesar Montano) and is the only who can vouch for the innocence of Marta (Nora Aunor). Her re-appearance will open old wounds and bring forth a shocking revelation.

So, no, it’s not true that Rita was brought in to replace Miss Nora Aunor whose character Marta seems to have been recently killed off in the series. Perci Intalan, TV5 head of creative and entertainment production, denied that Ate Guy, who departed for the US, had also left the series and clarified that Rita’s character is part of the story right from the start.

“We just advanced Greta’s entry in the story while pushing Marta in the background while Ate Guy is in the States. May mga twists pa kami na lalabas in the weeks to come. We have created ‘Never Say Goodbye’ with Ate Guy in it and we worked around the scheduling problems that we have,” Intalan declared.

“But this much I can say, hindi pa tapos ‘yung character ni Marta. Makikita n’yo pa rin si Ate Guy sa ‘Never Say Goodbye’, that’s for sure,” he guaranteed.

For Rita’s part, she is also looking forward to taping scenes with the one and only superstar, whom she has had the pleasure of co-starring with in several films in the past, most notably in Joel Lamangan’s “The Flor Contemplacion Story”.

“I do hope magkaroon kami ng mga eksena dito sa ‘Never Say Goodbye’. Love naman ako noon,” she proudly beamed in referring to her relationship with Ate Guy.

Other than being reunited with Ate Guy as well as former Seiko Films co-stars Cesar Montano and Gardo Versoza, the series also finds Rita working with lead stars Sophie Albert and Vin Abrenica. Being a “That’s Entertainment” alumna who had started very young in the business herself, Rita was also asked about the difference between today’s young stars compared to the ones during their time.

“I think they’re very lucky, mas marami nang workshop for them to hone their skills and now they even have an acting coach on the set which we didn’t have during our time. Nung nag-umpisa kasi ako parang napaka-basic ng lahat, although the directors also helped us then,” she pointed out.

As for the projects that keep coming in, Rita said she feels blessed and grateful for the work opportunities that have poured in since she lost her baby in 2006.

“After laying low in my career for a while to focus on having our baby, I thought it would be difficult to come back. But after I lost the baby, I have accepted na ‘yan ang siguro ang fate ko, to come back to acting. I can only be grateful na meron akong binalikan, and I’ve been blessed to have been given many projects ever since,” she said.

The blessings do not end there. As for other endeavors, Rita was also happy to announce that she had been asked to write another series of children’s books following the success of “Si Erik Tutpik at Si Ana Taba”.

“Inuunti-unti ko ang pagsusulat kasi nga nagkasunod-sunod ang mga projects ko. This time, the new books will feature my dolls, sila ang mga bida dito and it will be more about values,” she revealed.

Having been in the business for so many years, Rita noted that one thing she had yet to try out was theater, a medium her husband, TV director FM “Erick” Reyes, was urging her to explore.

“Strangely, I’m still shy when it comes to acting in front of an audience kasi nga baka makalimutan ko ang lines ko. I can only be a character in front of the camera. When I’m asked to speak in front of kids, the fear is still there. But maybe one day, I just might give it a try,” she said.

As far as having a new baby or at least adopting a child were concerned, giving it another try was something that Rita and her husband had not ruled out. But Rita said she was leaving everything to God and to fate, though.

“Ako kasi ‘yung tao na kung ano ‘yung nandyan, I can adjust. Hindi na namin pinaplano ‘yun. I know I’m old na rin and I have accepted na whatever comes, okay na ako,” she concluded.