YEN Santos wants to thank Mother Lily Monteverde for accepting her as Piolo Pascual’s leading lady in “Once In a Lifetime”. “Actually, puwede silang mag-request ng mas kilalang kapareha ni Papa P kasi wala pa akong nagawa kahit isang movie, pero tinanggap nila ako at pinapirma pa ako ng movie contract sa Regal kaya very thankful talaga ako kay Mother Lily,” she says. “And not only that, mula nang ipa-interview ako sa presscons ng Regal, mas dumami ang nagsusulat sa akin at ang publicity ko. Mas nakilala ako ng tao.”
She signed up with Regal for a four-picture contract and Mother Lily sees a lot of promise in her. “Tipong sisikat,” the veteran producer tells us. “Nakaaarte pa.”
So how is it shooting her very first movie in New Zealand? “It’s an unforgettable experience kasi first movie ko nga, tapos sa ibang bansa pa and with Papa P as leading man no less,” she says. “Noong una, starstruck talaga ako. Nadi-distract ako kasi sobrang guwapo niya. Pero siya talaga ang gumawa na paraan to break the ice at para maging mas comfortable ako sa company niya. Kinausap niya ako, nakipagkuwentuhan siya para ma-relax ako at hindi ako mailang kapag humarap na kami sa kamera. Napakabait niya sa isang baguhang gaya ko. Kahit sobrang lamig doon sa Queenstown where we shot the movie kasi winter doon ngayon, naging mainit ang pagtanggap sa’kin ni Papa P at ng lahat ng kasama namin doon. Unexpected talaga ang mga bagong development sa career ko kaya sobrang pasasalamat ko kay Mother Lily sa breaks na ibinibigay niya sa akin.”
There’s a rumor that she’s the girlfriend of their director, Dondon Santos, who was the one who insisted that she be the movie’s leading lady. “Hindi po totoo 'yan pero ine-expect na naming may ganyang isyung lalabas kasi noong bago kami umalis, sa presscon ng Regal, nagbiro si Papa P about us ni Direk Dondon. Ako rin, nagtakang ako ang kinuha dito sa movie but Direk Dondon said nakita lang niya ang talent ko when he directed me sa afternoon soap na ‘All of Me’.”
It was in ‘All of Me’ that folks also linked her to Albert Martinez who was her leading man in the show. “Ang daming nagtatanong sa’kin kung naging kami talaga kasi totoong totoo raw ang mga halikan namin sa show kaya naghinala silang nagkakamabutihan nga kami. Even my relatives, nagtatanong. Pero hindi po, hindi po talaga, wala kaming naging relasyon at all ni Kuya Albert. Takot ko lang sa late wife niya, baka biglang magparamdam, baka kalabitin ako. But I enjoyed working with him kasi ang galing-galing niyang umarte at tinutulungan niya ako.”
She says she’s loveless at the moment. She admits she and Jason Abalos became on for awhile but he dumped her and she got so hurt. “After that, ayoko munang makipagrelasyon,” she says.
She’s the second girl dumped by Jason. The other one is Bela Padilla who also admitted at the “Camp Sawi” presscon that she felt so bad when Jason suddenly ditched her.
DIREK OLIVE ON MORE MATURE KATHNIEL: THEY NEED TO GROW
OLIVIA Lamasan started directing in 1994 with “Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie”. After that, she directed “Sana Maulit Muli”, “Madrasta”, “Hanggang Kailan Kita Mamahalin”, “Minsan Minahal Kita”, “Got to Believe”, “Milan”, “In the Name of Love”, “In My Life”, “The Mistress”, “Starting Over Again” and now, her latest, “Barcelona: A Love Untold”. That’s a total of only 12 movies in 26 years. How come she’s not as prolific as other female directors, like Cathy Molina who has made 16 movies in 10 years, from 2006 to 2016? Or Joyce Bernal who has 28 movies to her credit from 1998 to the present?
“Kasi directing is not naman my bread and butter,” she says. “I hold a corporate position sa ABS-CBN as head of creative. Okay na rin 'yung output ko kasi when I direct, I give so much of myself to each film kaya nade-drain ako. Like here in ‘Barcelona: A Love Untold’, I wasn’t able to attend the first presscon kasi nagkasakit ako, hindi ko na talaga kinaya. We shot the movie for 52 days. 21 days noon were in Barcelona and we’re shooting there everyday with only 4 hours of sleep. We have to make the most of our stay there kasi we’re spending P1.5 million a day while filming there.”
Kath and DJ said that she really demanded so much from them while doing the movie on location in Spain. “Piniga niya talaga kami nang pigang-piga,” they said.
“I admit, istrikta ako. Hindi sila puwedeng maglaru-laro lang sa set. Ayokong ’di nila memorized ang lines nila at naga-adlib lang sila. Nasermunan ko sila, lalo si Kat napagalitan ko nang bonggang-bongga at 'hinubaran' ko siya, but they took it positively. After that, nag-jell na kami. It led to greater bonds between us. They know they’re not getting any younger and they need to grow and offer something new and different not only to their fans but to the general audience.”
She quickly agreed to direct KathNiel when the project was first offered to her. “I was challenged kasi this is meant to be a transition movie from their being teenyboppers to being more mature actors. So anong klase ng kuwento and atake ang babagay sa kanila? We can’t delve naman into heavy relationship issues showing physical intimacy kasi they’re still young pa rin as millennials. At first, I thought we can make use of Kat’s kikay, perky screen persona but when she did it na, we realized it won’t work for her character in ‘Barcelona’. Also, Kat wants to be more recognized kasi she felt that in ‘Pangako Sa’Yo’, she was being compared to Kristine Hermosa. So we had to make her character in ‘Barcelona’ more real. Sabi ko, trabahuhin natin 'yan, but it would depend on how open you would be with me guiding you. Now, I can proudly say that I have achieved our objective. Both of them, inaral nilang mabuti ang roles nila, nag-focus sila, and they come out as real actors in this movie. Sabi nga nila, they realize
d what craft means while filming it and I’m very happy sa naging passion and commitment nila sa pelikulang ito.”
Her last movie, “Starting Over Again”, which revived the career of Piolo Pascual, was a topgrosser at P410 million. Is she pressured for “Barcelona” to also earn that much or even surpass its box office take? “Ay, hindi ako napre-pressure. I’m 52 years old, ayokong pine-pressure ang sarili ko. Basta lahat kaming involved sa ‘Barcelona’, we did our best to come out with something the audience will find very entertaining and we guarantee them they will enjoy it very much.”