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Perfect strangers in ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’

July 12, 2019

Casting actual strangers in the role of strangers was the simplest idea that turned box-office director Cathy Garcia Molina’s latest vision into perfection.

Asked to helm another Kathryn Bernardo-starrer after their winning trio with Daniel Padilla resulted in the highest-grossing Filipino movie of all time [2018’s “The Hows of Us” which raked in P915 million], Molina knew she needed to bring out something new and something more from the promising actress.

“Given that ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ is a story about two strangers who meet and fall in love, to actually have actors who are new to one another would be the perfect way to do it. So we asked ourselves who would best fit the role opposite Kathryn, and for some reason, we couldn’t think of anyone in ABS-CBN to cast in this movie,” the fiery filmmaker, who made movie stars out of John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Sarah Geronimo, Toni Gonzaga and of course Bernardo and Padilla, admitted at a press conference on Tuesday.

“It couldn’t be DJ again,” she went on, using Padilla’s nickname, “because they’ve been together in almost all their movies; and it couldn’t be any other actor from the network either because Kathryn has worked with almost everyone here. And like I said, I wanted to see fresh emotions, fresh reactions and basically a fresh pairing for Hello, Love, Goodbye.”

The prized talents of rival networks GMA and ABS-CBN are grateful for the rare opportunity to work together in a movie.

In the course of what Molina described as “a very lengthy process” toward finally shooting the romantic drama by Carmi Raymundo [t[the same wri­ter of “The Hows of Us,” “My Ex and Whys” and “Finally Found Someone,” among others]Star Cinema’s top executives suddenly came up with the name Alden Richards.

“Of course I knew that Alden’s a talent of [rival n[rival network]t I immediately liked the idea. Ang fresh sa akin ni Alden and true enough, natuwa ako sa nabigay ng tandem nila para sa pelikula.”

While there was nothing simple in pulling off the pairing of these two stra­ngers — both prized and carefully-guarded talents of the country’s competing media giants — Molina was only too happy that both their managements eventually saw beyond the industry’s strictly enforced practice of exclusivity in favor of granting their wards a rare opportunity.

After all, just like most things in life, it is usually when one steps out of one’s comfort zone that a lot of growing up and self-discovery happens.

Box office director Cathy Garcia-Molina wanted a fresh feel to her latest love story and her headliners ably delivered.

Major changes

At the same press conference, Alden was first to acknowledge how crossing over to Star Cinema became an eye opener for him in terms of approaching his career.

“I’m really happy I was able to work with these amazing people, with Kathryn and such an amazing director. Binago po ni Direk Cathy how I see my work na hindi puwedeng half-baked ang commitment,” he opened up when asked to talk about his experience in unfamiliar territory.

To cite an example, he recalled how Molina told him point blank that he wasn’t registering well on screen and needed to lose weight.

“When we were doing test shots at the very beginning, hindi na po napigilan ni Direk na sabihin, ‘Alden halika dito. Tingnan mo ang taba mo.’ And I appreciated that [rather [rather than take offense in what she said] ‘yon po talaga ang nag-drive sa akin [to lose[to lose weight]k my best for the movie.”

“He promised me he won’t look the same when I see him next and he kept his word,” the famously exacting director cut in proudly.

What network war? Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards easily fall in step on location in Hong Kong.

Alden lost between 20 to 25 pounds in one month sans trainers or special diets, and perfectly achieved the image of a handsome and confident playboy who works as a bar tender in Hong Kong.

“To actually portray the role, Direk made sure we had our immersion—ako among the Filipinos in the bar [where w[where we shot the scenes]er OFWs na kinausap ko para magkuwento kung ano talaga ang buhay nila doon sa Hong Kong,” Alden continued.

All these, besides taking a crash course in bartending before flying out to Hong Kong, and of course the guidance of his admittedly demanding director all made for a performance Alden didn’t know he could deliver.

“Very clear yung mga pinagagawa sa amin ni Direk and nakakagulat when you see on screen na mas maganda pa pala sa akala mong nangyari yung kinalabasan,” the actor added in amazement.

In return, Molina, who is hardly known to be generous with her praises, floored the erstwhile stranger from the rival network when she later said, “Nu’ng sinabi nilang si Alden ang makakasama ni Kathryn, sabi ko ‘Hmmm, mataba lang pero mukhang marunong umarte itong batang ito…’ Pero nagkamali ako — hindi lang siya marunong, magaling siyang artista.”

Natural friendship

Kathryn, who found it refreshing, challenging and constructive to act across someone whose responses she can neither predict nor second guess, also values the friendship she forged with Alden.

“One thing that I’ll always remember is the day we had a press conference to announce we’d be doing this movie together, and I saw yung mic ng ABS-CBN at GMA na magkatabi sa harap namin ni Alden,” the blossomed actress recalled. “Naisip ko n’un, pwede palaya yon, and doon sa Hong Kong, walang ABS or GMA. We were a family working on this movie.”

Alden agreed that everyone’s openness only helped to pull the entire movie together, especially the way he and Kathryn forged their friendship.

“Hindi pilit yung naging friendship namin,” he explained. “Walang nagsabi sa amin na ganito kayo dapat off cam para makatulong sa inyo on cam. Everything happened naturally and I’m really grateful for that.”

Amid a supportive team, Kathryn also eased into the character of Joy, a domestic helper who is determined to provide for her family and save up for a future back home. She lets nothing distract her from her plans until she meets Ethan, who seems content with building a permanent life as an OFW. As they fall into a deeper friendship, they become each other’s joy against the grime and grind of the city, but only “for now” as their respective realities and priorities eventually come between them.

Hello, Love, Goodbye is set to open in theaters nationwide on July 31.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net


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