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Francine Diaz On Her Character In “Dirty Linen”

In this exclusive catch-up with Francine, she tells us about how she took on her “difficult” role in the revenge drama, her team-up with Seth Fedelin for the first time, and many more

Although the series was an act of fate and something that she did not foresee, Francine Diaz was grateful that she landed its gates. It was wide open, and without her having to knock or turn a key, Dirty Linen was offered to her in short order. “Actually po, last year ko lang nalaman na mayru’n po akong gagawing show, and hindi ko pa po alam nu’n kung sino ’yung mga makakasama ko,” she recalled. 

With no roundabouts whatsoever, she was summoned into the show to start filming. “I was very nervous kasi feeling ko, ang tagal kong hindi umarte. Drama siya agad. Mabigat ’yung story,” she shared with Metro.Style. “Nag-start na kami ng story con and then, nagkaroon agad ng photo shoot namin. And then, diretsong taping na po,” she continued. With pride and confidence, Francine also added: “I didn't audition for Chiara Fiero sa ‘Dirty Linen.’ Inoffer po siya sa ‘kin.”

Francine Diaz on Her Character Chiara in “Dirty Linen”: “Hindi ako ganu’n in real life”
Francine Diaz as Chiara Fiero | @dreamscapeph

To her, being part of the project is a blessing, especially that the show is earning praises from the public. “I feel very blessed and lucky na mapasama sa Dirty Linen kasi pinag-uusapan po talaga nila, and I’m very happy po sa mga good reviews nila.” After landing the lead role in the miniseries Bola Bola (2022), Francine is ready for another ABS-CBN masterpiece. “Parang napakalaking gift nu’n for me, and parang ’yun ’yung unang regalo sa’kin itong taon na ito.”

On what Francine thinks of Dirty Linen: “Too much for my age”

Since Dirty Linen came in as a surprise, Francine, at only 19 years old and without a hint of what was up in the air, initially thought that the primetime project literally lives up to its title. “It’s really funny. Medyo kinabahan din po ako kasi nga, ‘dirty,’” she imparted. “Muntikan na nga po akong hindi mapasali because akala rin ng mom ko na baka too much for my age and too early [para] sa’kin, sa career [ko].”

Thankfully, her bouts of thinking twice and the back-and-forth strikes of fear toned down when she finally decided to break the mystery box open. The offering, after all, marks another mileage in her acting track as she is also teaming up with Seth Fedelin for the first time following their string of small screen stints. The pair’s partnership, which was announced alongside the release of Dirty Linen, finally received a green light.

Sobrang halong kaba and excitement” is how Francine would describe her work in Dirty Linen. According to the actress, there is more to the series than meets the eyes as it is an elaborate concoction of stories and characters. “Hindi lang siya basta tungkol sa revenge, e. Sobrang lalim ng pinaghuhugutan ng bawat character at ’yung mismong story. Ang daming makukuhang lesson du’nmapa-family, friends, sarili, parents—lahat na, nandu’n.”

A tale about an affluent, tyrannical family, Dirty Linen follows the inexplicable disappearance of the Fiero household insiders and the mystery that surrounds their murders. Starring Janine Gutierrez, Zanjoe Marudo, Francine Diaz, and Seth Fedelin, the thriller series tackles an abundance of issues, atrocities, and social stratifications within the family unit up to the upper funnel of society.

Francine Diaz on Her Character Chiara in “Dirty Linen”: “Hindi ako ganu’n in real life”
Francine With Zanjoe Marudo (Aidan Fiero) | ABS-CBN Entertainment

The ship has sailed: “FranSeth” makes a new mark

Before burgeoning into a love team, Francine Diaz and Seth Fedelin were two lone individuals working their ways toward a cutthroat industry—she was a child star; he was a Pinoy Big Brother hopeful. Separately, they have their own dreams and occasional difficulties, but now that they are a newly-minted match, both will likely share the same lived realities and career roadmap. 

The creation of FranSeth may have stemmed from fans shipping and matching them together, their beefed-up talents, or simply, their supercharged chemistry that caters to every FranSeth enthusiast. Although an “awkward” phase has persisted at first, Francine admits that she has the freedom to laugh with Seth now. “Right now po, masasabi ko naman na kahit papaano, pumupunta na kami sa mas nagiging smooth na kapag magkasama kami sa isang scene.”

Apart from getting acquainted with each other, Francine and Seth exclusively bond on a random basis and even attended an event together. “Mayru’n kaming pinuntahan na event ng isang K-pop star—si Choi Minho ng Shinee,” Francine told us. Luckily, there are a lot of things to share and tick off the FranSeth bucket list as they bet on a brand new beginning. “Nakakatuwa lang po na kahit off-cam, nandu’n pa rin ’yung friendship,” Francine narrated.

When asked what is in store for the viewers of the show and the supporters who tune in tirelessly to FranSeth, Francine said in a swift: “Ayaw ko pong magbigay ng expectations sa viewers,” she emphasized, stating that she and Seth do not want to disappoint. However, what she guaranteed is that the people’s trust will not go down the drain. “Hindi namin sasayangin ’to and hindi kami gagawa ng bagay na makakasira sa show namin.”

On how Francine resonates with her role

Nakaka-relate ako sa kaniya, e, kasi she’s not very quiet. But maybe, kapag tahimik siya, kinikimkim niya lahat ’yung type na mayru’ng napagsasabihan ng problems. Although me naman, I have friends. I have people around me that cares about me, but sometimes, may mga pagkakataon lang na sa’kin na lang ’yung problems ko.”

“But si Chiara, as in wala siyang napagsasabihan ng kung ano talagang nafi-feel niya. So madalas, kapag nati-trigger ‘yung emotions niya, sumasabog na lang siya bigla,” Francine continued, justifying her character’s “dark” personality. In her defense, Chiara is what she is because of the way her parents and the people around her acted toward her. Francine touched on the topic of mental health, too, highlighting the truth of the matter.

Sana makakuha rin ng aral ’yung mga adults because hindi porke’t ganito ’yung asal ng isang bata ay nagpapaka-rebelde na siya or nag-iinarte,” she argued. “Sometimes, nagiging ganu’n ’yung response ng bata because of your actions.” As a modern-age woman, Francine seems to make sense of what is truly going on with today’s generation and how to address the cancel culture that we are all subject to submitting to.

“I think mas makaka-relate sila du’n sa part na tina-try nilang maintindihan sila, pero shina-shut down sila,” she ultimately concluded. Unafraid to speak her mind, Francine’s stark interest in behavioral issues is testament to her ability to take on Chiara Fiero even more. Her empathy extends to the characters that she portrays, and that is enough proof of how capable she is as an actor.

Although Chiara is far from the framework of Francine’s persona, it is a work in progress that she tries to tackle. “Medyo du’n ako nahirapan, kasi mayru’n siyang mga eksena na ang taas niya. Nahihirapan din ako every time na nagtataray siya sa character ni Ate Janine and ’pag sumasagot siya sa mom niya, ’pag sumasagot siya sa lola niya, kasi hindi ako ganu’n in real life, so I don’t know kung paano ba ’yung ganitomag-maldita?” 

“’Yung respect ko po kasi sa mga co-actors ko, mas nangingibabaw. Parang mas natatago ko si Chiara. Mas lumalabas si Francine—na kada nga po mayru’n akong ganu’ng scene sa kanila, especially kay Ate Janine, sobrang nagso-sorry ako and lagi kong sinasabi, ‘Si Chiara po ’yun. I’m really sorry.’” A lighthearted, humble lady, Francine shared that Chiara’s being a snob made her struggle the most whenever she delivers her dialogues.

“It’s just me na hindi po sanay talaga because Chiara is very maldita kasi siya ’yung princess ng mga Fiero, so ang tingin niya, talagang mataas siya and dapat iginagalang,” Francine added. “Parang minamaliit niya ’yung mga tao sa paligid niya, especially ’yung mga maids nila sa bahay, so du’n po ako mas nahirapan—’pag nawawala ‘’yung respeto niya sa mga nakakatanda sa kanya.”

On the contrary, the actress contested, “The best thing about Chiara is she’s trying her best kahit nahihirapan siya. Talagang ginagawa niya lahat. Talagang tina-try niya kung hanggang sa’n ’yung makakaya niya para maibigay ’yung best, especially sa mom niya.” A seemingly spoiled little brat, Chiara is actually being left to her own devices oftentimes, even with her academic accomplishments and educational merits.

Because of this, her beastly side would surface and get the best of her, beating up the good. More than that, Francine mentioned that Chiara mostly confides in his brother Aidan (Zanjoe Marudo) despite being conceited. “She’s very maldita, pero ’yung kuya lang niya ’yung nakakakita ng soft side niya. Mas pinapakita niya kasi ’yung bad side niya kaysa sa good side so mas naja-judge siya nga mga tao.”

With all the buzz around town and the trending scenes that Dirty Linen has served up to the audience scalding, the acclaim-worthy series is a watchlist item too important to miss. As Francine puts it, it is a “masterpiece” that excites even the cast and the crew. “I’m very excited na mas makilala pa ng mga viewers si Chiara and lahat ng characters sa show because may kaniya-kaniyang timeline ’yung story ng characters.”

Directed by Onat Diaz and Andoy Ranay, Dirty Linen is a revenge drama that centers on the aristocratic and cunning Fiero family. The series follows the tale of a laundry and cleaning lady (Dolly de Leon) whose tragic death and disappearance is linked to the clan.

With a star-studded cast like Janine Gutierrez, Zanjoe Marudo, Francine Diaz, Seth Fedelin, Epy Quizon, Angel Aquino, Janice de Belen, Joel Torre, Tessie Tomas, and John Arcilla, Dirty Linen is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Lead photos courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment

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