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"Sobrang Suwerte Ko"—Janine Gutierrez Airs Her "Dirty Linen" Thoughts and Experiences

ABS-CBN and Dreamscape kicked off the new year with the explosive and trending mystery thriller series "Dirty Linen," and Janine Gutierrez, one of the show’s lead stars, is here to fuel all the excitement about the drama

Blazing like a red-hot vendetta!

That’s how the ABS-CBN series Dirty Linen made a grand entrance into primetime viewing as it captured the interest and captivated the Filipino audience with its riveting plot of revenge. The story takes dark twists and turns each time the show airs—and it’s only the beginning.

Dreamscape’s Dirty Linen is a revenge drama centered on the quest for justice after the tragic demise of the people working for the Fiero clan. The show is impressively made up of a stellar ensemble cast led by Janine Gutierrez, Zanjoe Marudo, Francine Diaz, Seth Fedelin, Joel Torre, Janice de Belen, Tessie Tomas, Angel Aquino, John Arcilla, Epy Quizon, Jennica Garcia, Christian Bables, JC SantosXyriel Manabat, Raven Rigor, CJ Navato, and more.

The series was also marked by the inclusion and special participation of Golden Globe nominee Dolly de Leon along with Liza Diňo, Ruby Ruiz, and Karl Medina. At the helm of this thriller are directors Onat Diaz (Wildflower) and Andoy Ranay (The Broken Marriage Vow).

The warm and wild reception of viewers and on social media about Dirty Linen’s pilot week is something that trending actress Janine Gutierrez did not expect.

“I try not to expect anything ever so I wasn’t really expecting kung gaano ka-grabe and happy iyong response. Even noong lumabas iyong unang trailer, si Sir Deo [Endrinal]—our boss in Dreamscape—was sharing na grabe iyong response sa trailer. That was exciting to hear. But now, after week one, sobrang nakakatuwa,” Janine quips, even sharing that during a Pilates session, a couple tapped her just to let her know how much they’re enjoying the show. 

The actress admits she delights in the crowd reaction and feedback so she tries to interact with the viewer, too. “I try to tweet kapag umeere iyong show. Na-e-enjoy ko na nakikita iyong excitement at kaba nung mga nanonood. Favorite ko kapag napapamura sila sa takot or sa excitement kasi damang-dama ko iyong suspense and it’s so fun! It’s my way na rin of thanking everybody for being so involved and excited,” she smiles, admitting she gets a kick out of this.

In a way, Janine felt that luck was on her side when the Dirty Linen project came her way. It was a project pitched to her by Dreamscape after being asked what types of project she’d like to work on. She may have initially expressed wanting to work on a rom-com (Marry Me, Marry You) but Dirty Linen as a second project with ABS-CBN granted her the versatility she wanted.

“I was so happy kasi ito naman iyong drama na heavy na suspense story na may pagka-dark. I was so happy to be a part of a story na iba naman and to showcase another side of what I’d like to do, and grabe iyong cast—sobrang swerte and thankful ko na I was chosen to be a part of Dirty Linen,” she says.

“Actually, noong pitch pa lang, ‘Oh my God! Yes, let’s do this!’ Ang ganda kasi talaga ng kwento. It’s really an ensemble. Every episode, somebody else shines and ang lalim ng story. Ang galing how everything is intertwined. I really love how, s’yempre iyong mahihirap, lumalaban sa mayayaman. Kasi ’di ba, sa totoong buhay, ang hirap talagang makalaban ang mga tao who have all the connections, have all the money, and so with Dirty Linen, [we’re taking charge]. Ang ganda kasi ng pagka-plot na it shows you what happened and it takes you back kung paano nangyari ito na may plano, may scheming. It’s interesting how we, Filipinos, can show that kind of story din,” Janine enthusiastically continues.

The actress plays the dual role of Alexa/Mila as the child of slain Fiero clan’s house help Olivia (Dolly De Leon) who’s out to avenge the mother she lost. Playing the character is one of the things that made her excited to be a part of the project.

“I’ve always liked strong female characters. It shows another side of a woman and being feminine—that there’s also this strength behind women and when push comes to shove, kaya talagang lumaban ng babae. So happy talaga na si Alexa ay palaban, but at the same time focused and calculated,” Janine explains.

Though she likes her character very much and she has already played a tough woman in the indie film Babae at Baril, the actress admits she still finds it tough and challenging to play Alexa/Mila. “Very complex eh. Especially with Dirty Linen. Kasi ang nangyayari is I’m essentially playing two characters. Our director, si Direk Onat, he’s very specific while directing na kailangang maipakita mo talaga iyong shift na kapag kausap mo iyong mayayaman as Mila na kasambahay, kailangan talaga pleasant, pero kailangan meron pa ring inner turmoil na I’m here for something else. It was very challenging for me at first to get that shifting na how can I really differentiate Alexa from Mila. But I kind of got the hang of it and sobrang saya [when I finally did],” she recounts, the satisfaction gleaming in her eyes.

As an actress, one of the things that Janine had to find was the character’s motivation she could relate to. She narrated how acting coach Ana Feleo helped her find her character’s essence that resonated with her. “We discovered na at the core, si Mila talaga is a daughter na nawalan ng nanay. That’s the point of where I can relate na, as a daughter, mahal na mahal ko iyong nanay ko and I want to protect her. But all these things happened as Alexa so wala pa siyang magawa noong time na iyon. I’m sure we’ve all seen our parents struggle din when we were younger and we didn’t have the power yet to do anything about it. Tapos kapag tumatanda tayo, especially tayong mga Pinoy, we work hard to help our parents and our family, so doon talaga. Lahat gagawin natin para sa pamilya,” she pensively shares and discusses.

Thankfully, as heavy and dark as Dirty Linen’s theme goes, the interactions on the set among the cast members behind the scenes are quite the opposite: the atmosphere is light and fun.

“Everybody gets along. Ang laki-laki ng cast pero kapag nasa standby area kami, we all eat together, we all hang out, kwentuhan, and we talk about the script. Ang ganda kasi may balance talaga na we also can’t help ourselves na pag-usapan iyong script, like pati kami sobrang excited naUy, nabasa mo na ba iyong week 9 or week 10? Shucks, excited na ako!’ It’s such a collaborative project and everybody is… ang gagaling nilang artista! It’s really so fun kahit challenging iyong scenes,” Janine describes the set.

Apart from flexing her acting chops, Janine also gets to work with veteran and legendary actors on Dirty Linen, giving her the chance to be both an actress and a fan girl at the same time. “Sobrang idol ko silang lahat but everybody is so accommodating. Ako, especially bilang first time ko to work with Joel Torre, John Arcilla, Janice de Belen, Epy Quizon, you really learn by watching them and they’re so helpful, so generous. Sobrang nasta-starstruck ako eh. If anything, they make the job easier for you kasi sobrang galing nila, nadadala ka rin talaga pag kaeksena mo sila,” the actress muses.

She happily shared how co-stars Tessie Tomas and Janice de Belen would generously share lessons and experiences not just about work but also about life, and she values those so much. She also learns from the methods and examples of the veteran actors she’s working with.

Gushing like a true fan girl, Janine also shared her on-set interaction with Triangle of Sadness actress Dolly de Leon

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to shoot any scenes with her. Pero nakasabay ko siya sa taping. There was one specific day, I think it was her last day on set before she flies to the US and then we sat together for a while, we chatted, nagkukuwento siya about Triangle of Sadness and sobrang precious nung moment na iyon for me kasi we also all dream of being something that gets to showcase Filipino talent internationally. We’re so proud of her, cheering for her and it was nice lang to have that moment. And she was like ‘O, balik ikaw ulit sa indie!’ and how she watched Babae at Baril. It was a really nice moment and I’m such a fan,” she happily shares.

While Janine feels blessed working with her co-stars, she is equally grateful for the chance to work with the writers and directors of Dirty Linen. She credits the writers for the amazing script they work with.

“A lot of the things people tweet me about na ang galing nung pagtingin niya or pag-crack ng knuckles niya, that’s all on the script so I’m just really acting it out. The way it’s written kasi para siyang libro na it’s so detailed and descriptive, so thankful for our writers and creatives sa Dreamscape. The directors naman are super collaborative—si Direk Onat and Direk Andoy. Ang galing nila. I just try to give kung ano ang hinihingi nila,” she says.

All these experiences mark her second year as a Kapamilya and for Janine, it’s been a dream making her feel “so grateful and at the same time, valued and seen.”

The good projects she’s been working on as well as the positive feedback from the viewers keep her going this 2023. “Mas nakaka-inspire mag-taping ngayon, seeing the response of everyone. Kapag dinner break sa set, pati kami nanood sa YouTube kasi we’re so excited. For now, my work is focused sa Dirty Linen and on reviving my YouTube channel,” she says.

Janine hopes the public continues to enjoy the show.

“It’s such a ride. It’s another kind of Filipino project that we can really be proud of,” she happily declares.

Lead photos from @janinegutierrez