Director Cathy Garcia-Molina was challenged to alter actor Sam Milby’s view on the complexity of love when they were about to start filming Forever and a Day.
Despite his romantic nature and fondness for love ballads, the Kapamilya actor expressed misgivings about portraying a guy who is caught in a whirlwind romance with a complete stranger.
"Sabi ko kay Sam, ’I will prove you wrong!’" Direk Cathy told Sam.
Several months after, and with the movie only a few days away from hitting the theaters, Sam finally relented by saying, "After doing this film, sasabihin ko, ’Oo, I believe it is possible.’"
Direk Cathy is now hoping that Sam’s experience will also be felt by viewers who will have the chance to see the movie when it opens nationwide this Wednesday, June 15.
"I believe naman po that every movie is unique in its own right. Ito po, ang seed po talaga nito, galing sa akin—malapit po sa puso ko ang kuwento nito.
"This is something that just doesn’t talk about love. It talks about life and it talks about love for life.
"Ito po ang una kong pelikula na broader ang scope nung story other than just love story and pa-kilig," said Direk Cathy.
LOVING LIFE. Forever and a Day is the story of Eugene Servero (Sam Milby) and Raffy Salvador (KC Concepcion).
Eugene’s competitive personality is the complete opposite of Raffy’s more cautious approach to life.
The two meet and embark on a journey that teaches them to overcome their fears both in love and life in general.
Fate, however, will determine whether Eugene and Raffy are capable of sharing more than just happy moments together.
"I think in one way or another, each one of us has experienced loss. Whether it be a breakup or death, in any form, nawalan tayo and pareho silang [Raffy and Eugene] nawalan dito—mawawalan pero makakabangon.
"I think ito yung pinaka gusto ko sa film more than it tells us about the kilig stuff and love story, it tells us to love and appreciate life," explained Direk Cathy.
REEL ROMANCE. Both KC and Sam acknowledged that they were friends even before they started doing the Star Cinema project.
Bringing together two close friends for a project sounds practical since chemistry will play an important role to sell romance and make it appear realistic before the viewers.
But it can also be a dilemma for both to the actors and director.
"Actually po, naging problem ko is naging magkaibigan sila. Even Sam was telling me, and KC, na they’re having problems kasi sobra silang magkaibigan and they couldn’t look at each other as if they could be lovers. It is my problem, yes! Nahirapan ako," confessed Direk Cathy.
It definitely helps that Direk Cathy has mastered the art of working with actors who are not romantically involved in real life, yet capable of immersing themselves into the characters that they are portraying on film.
This was evident with the box-office success of the tandem of John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo (Close To You, One More Chance, Miss You Like Crazy); Sarah Geronimo-John Lloyd Cruz (A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life); Toni Gonzaga-Vhong Navarro (My Only U); and John Lloyd Cruz-Toni Gonzaga (My Amnesia Girl).
The award-winning director once again summoned her experience to motivate Sam and KC to completely surrender to their roles for the sake of escaping their real-life platonic relationship.
"I always believe po na hindi naman sila yung nai-in-love on screen but rather the characters. So for as long as they become the characters, it is enough.
"Sam may not fall in love with KC, but Eugene can fall in love with Raffy, and so Raffy can fall in love with Eugene—so ganun lang po.
"Kasi kung aasahan ko po ang personal nilang mga buhay baka wala po akong mapala. So ako po ay kumakapit na lang sa characterization nila and make them fall in love with their characters and not with themselves."
PUSHING KC’S LIMITS. Part of the motivation was convincing both actors to trust in the story and their respective characters.
"The first thing that Direk Cathy told me to do was to trust her and it helped me a lot. Talagang nabigyan ako ng lakas ng loob to continue acting lalo na sa pelikula, and confidence din po na meron pang room to grow, and meron pang magagawa na talagang hindi pa nakikita ng tao, or na posibleng mas tanggapin pa ng tao kesa sa mga nagawa ko po dati," confided KC, who is starring in her fourth film. This is her third time to work with Star Cinema.
Direk Cathy, on the other hand, recalled seeing KC act both on television and the movies, and seeing the young actress-host’s potential.
"I can vouch for KC, by the way, magaling siya dito. She really put a lot of effort in this, and I’m very proud of her," mentioned Sam.
Direk Cathy added: "Bago ko po makatrabaho si KC, when I watched her first film... Of course nakikita ko si Kristina [KC’s real name] sa set ko nung bata pa. Sabi ko nga dati nasa likod lang ’yan ng mga tao—bungi, mataba, malaki ang panga.
"And then one day I saw her sa bahay ng nanay niya nung buntis, and then I saw a beautiful pretty girl. Now, I have watched her first film [For The First Time], sabi ko, ’Meron ’tong bata na ’to.’
"I want to work with her. I really did and I really hope, and it took me how many years pa bago ko makatrabaho si KC.
"The expectations were met and in fact, exceeded my expectations as an actress. May katigasan lang ng ulo. But I think lahat ng artists may ganun.
"Grabe po ang pinagdaanan sa akin ni KC. Lahat ng pride niya tinapakan ko—walang natira sa batang ito sa akin.
"Through it all wala akong narinig. Nung kinausap ko po kasi si KC sabi ko sa kanya, ’Whatever it takes, mapalabas ko lang kung anong meron ka, gagawin ko!’
"And she agreed, and because she agreed she had to suffer. I hope po makita ninyo ang result sa pelikula because I’m very happy and I respected her more than ever in this film."