Thalia gives blessing to Jessy as 'Maria Mercedes'

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Jessy Mendiola

MANILA -- Mexican superstar Thalia has given Kapamilya star Jessy Mendiola her blessing in taking on a character she popularized in the early '90s.


The 41-year-old singer-actress appeared in a taped message during the segment launching the Philippine remake of "Maria Mercedes" and "Kwentuhan Tayo" at the ABS-CBN trade event held Tuesday night in Pasay City.

Following the debut of the series' first trailer at the event, Thalia was shown in a video addressing Mendiola. She thanked the 20-year-old actress, and wished her luck in taking on the Maria Mercedes role.

"Thank you to Jessy! All the luck in the world. You're going to make an amazing job. All the production and all the cast, good luck," Thalia said.

Mendiola is the fourth Filipina actress to portray a role made iconic by Thalia, whose numerous "telenovela" became big hits in the Philippines throughout the '90s.

Before Mendiola, actresses Marian Rivera and Carla Abellana played the title characters in the GMA-7 remakes of "MariMar" and "Rosalinda," respectively.

Kapamilya star, Erich Gonzales, meanwhile, became "Maria la del Barrio" in the ABS-CBN adaptation of the hit soap.

In the original "Maria Mercedes" -- which aired on ABS-CBN in 1996, four years after its original Mexican run --Thalia portrays a street urchin whose life takes a turn when she agrees to marry a rich man who is terminally ill.

For the Philippine remake, Mendiola earlier said several changes were made to cater to its target audience's taste.

"Maraming changes dito. Same pa rin 'yung basic flow but maraming parang iniba ng konti para ma-adapt siya sa pagiging Pinoy," she said.

Joining Mendiola in the upcoming Kapamilya series are Jake Cuenca, Jason Abalos, Vina Morales, Dominic Ochoa, Nadia Montenegro and Vivian Velez. It is directed by Rechie del Carmen.