We last saw her on Primetime about three years ago and it seems her first project since then was truly worth the wait.
WATCH: Janella Salvador’s colorful, wide-ranging TV stints through the years
A whole new Janella Salvador is set to amaze us starting August 12 with her most difficult role to date as the young mortician Emma in The Killer Bride.
“This is the most challenging character na naibigay sa akin kasi napakadami niyang layers. ‘Yung back story niya medyo malalim,” Janella tells Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com in an exclusive interview. “Tapos ‘yung character ko kasi mysterious siya. So pagdating niya sa probinsya, walang nakakaalam kung saan ba siya nanggaling.”
And the hardest part of all, she said, was portraying two characters—her own and the one possessed by Maja Salvador’s character Camilla, who is out on a vengeful curse on those who wronged her in the fictional town of Las Espadas.
“At sinasapian siya ni Camilla, which is portrayed by Ate Maja. So parang kailangan makita nila sa akin si Ate Maja tapos minsan kailangan character ko mismo so mahirap talaga work ko,” Janella emphasized.
The character is at the core of the narrative, and Janella said, its importance was laid out to her quite clearly.
“Sabi ni Direk (Dado Lumibao) sa akin, Janella, ‘di mag-wo-work ang soap na ito kung di mo gagalingan ‘yung role mo. So, na-pressure talaga ako. Pero I’m just gonna give it my 100 percent.”
What makes the role utterly different from her past romantic lead-type roles?
“This is the most mature role I’ve done on TV. So it’s going to be a more mature Janella. And hopefully, since it is the most challenging, one of the best roles na magagawa ko,” she said. “It’s more sensual. It’s not super mature, na parang masyadong sexy. It’s sensual na merong ganoong mga scenes na parang sexy ‘yung feel pero di bastos,” she noted.
This is primarily directed at her character’s love interest, Elias, played by Joshua Garcia. “Si Joshua first time ko makatrabaho. First time na makaka-partner kami dito so it’s really a big thing for us.”
And despite this, it seems they would hit it off quite well.
Working with Joshua
“Kami ni Josh, we get along. Sobrang galing niya katrabaho,” Janella stressed. “Nagte-training workshops kami ni Josh, sensuality workshops, na parang ‘pag nakita ka na onscreen, makita mo ‘yung connection para gumanda chemistry namin.”
She would also reveal a scene with Joshua that brings undeniable kilig.
“Meron kaming scene ni Josh na nagra-ride kami ng horse together tapos, basta intense kasi mga scenes. Cute din ‘yung first time namin magkikita ni Josh. Cute ‘yun. Kilig pa rin siya kahit horror gothic siya,” Janella divulged.
Apart from those sensuality workshops with Joshua, Janella also took horseback riding lessons, since the role calls for it. And of course, the quite macabre nature of her character is her affinity with the dead—as a young mortician. “My role is a make-up artist ng patay. I love doing make-up pero pina-aral din sa akin kung paano mag-embalm kasi doon kami nagta-trabaho sa funeraria so nag-aral din ako nun.”
‘My first ate in showbiz’
But nothing is stranger to the teleserye aficionados than a lead character serving as a spirit medium to another—and this calls for her own close affinity to the actress playing the dead Camilla, Maja Salvador, a distant relative, whom she considers as a close elder sister.
This calls for Janella to actually mimic Maja’s peculiar expressions and movements—a difficult process that needs their close collaboration.
“First time ko makakatrabaho si Ate Maja,” she said. “She is such an Ate to me na I’m just so glad to have one. Kasi na-realize ko wala pa akong ganoon dito sa showbiz. Siya ‘yung first.”
Such dedication shows how much Janella is excited and thrilled about the unprecedented drama, which she describes as “parang eerie siya na ‘yung feel niya medyo nakakatakot parang makikilabutin ka, pero at the same time ang root cause ng lahat is love.”
Janella added: “Every time nagte-taping kami, kahit hirap na hirap kami, I really believe in the project kasi we are dedicated to our roles. Tapos si Direk, super dedicated siya. We really hope na makita ng mga tao kasi ang ganda talaga ng story. It’s something for people to get hooked on the story.”
Passion for the craft
The Killer Bride is indeed one groundbreaking teleserye that will truly make a difference for its cast, especially for the comebacking Janella, whose hiatus in lead primetime roles left a lot of avid Kapamilya viewers wondering.
“Kasi life happens in showbiz na minsan napapahinga tayo. May mga nangyayari talaga,” she explained. But what kept her going was her incessant passion for her craft.
“At the end of the day, I love what I’m doing,” Janella declared. “’Yung pagiging performer ko, pagiging actress, I love my craft so that’s what keeps me going and that’s what makes me excited to come back kasi there’s always a different opportunity lalo na sa mga roles na binibigay. There’s always a different opportunity to present a story to give life to a character.”
Catch Janella with her groundbreaking portrayal of Emma Banaobra in The Killer Bride, premiering August 12, Monday, on Primetime Bida.