Alden Richards is thrilled that he got to work with Jasmine Curtis-Smith for GMA-7's new drama anthology I Can See You.
They are onscreen partners for the week-long romance-drama series titled "Love On The Balcony," which will start airing this Monday night, September 28, at 9:15 p.m.
"Since Jasmine transferred to GMA, I've always wanted a chance to work with her," says Alden.
Jasmine, who was previously an exclusive star of TV5, signed an exclusive contract with GMA-7 in 2018.
"Love On The Balcony" is their first team-up on the small screen.
But as early as 2016, Jasmine played Alden's girlfriend in the movie Imagine You & Me, which paired Alden with his then perennial leading lady Maine Mendoza.
Recalling their rapport at the time, Alden says of Jasmine, "Walang nagbago. She still gets better in her craft every day."
The homegrown Kapuso actor continues to say that he hopes to work with Jasmine again for future projects.
"Being an actor as well, that's what I look forward to—yung seryoso sa trabaho, yung gusto yung ginagawa.
"Kasi that brings out the best in me, as much as I bring out the best in that person as well.
"Yun yung nabigay sa akin ni Jasmine with this project, and hopefully, this will not be the last."
Alden, Jasmine, and Pancho Magno were interviewed by the entertainment press, including PEP.ph, via Zoom call last Friday, September 25.
Jasmine, for her part, is equally vocal about how she enjoyed working with Alden during the four taping days for "Love On The Balcony."
"I have to agree. If makukuha mo yung energy ng ka-partner mo, it makes your job so much easier," she says.
"Ever since, I've always felt that about him with the way he works. So I'm glad nothing's really changed.
"It's really the work ethics of someone that, more than anything, makes you impressed with them."
Jasmine points out that she noticed how she and Alden both like collaborating with their director.
"We like to speak with our directors. We like to share conversations about the story, about our character.
"We pay attention every time our director speaks with us. When he speaks to us, it's not necessarily to direct anymore. It's just to share an insight about the scene.
"Pareho kaming interested ni Alden sa ganung bagay."
They're among the select number of Kapuso artists who resumed taping during this quarantine period.
Noting how well they coped with the restrictions on set, Jasmine relates, "It's nice to experience yung fast-paced...
"Paano ba kung nagmamadali? How do we handle pressure? How do we navigate on a production set for TV?
"Nakita namin sa isa't isa how attentive we are with our work and how we really want to put an effort there."
SHORTER DRAMA SERIES DURING THE PANDEMIC
For the first installment of I Can See You, program manager Ali Nokom-Dedicatoria explains that the "Love On The Balcony" stars were required to stay at a hotel on a Friday.
Then they taped for the whole weekend and ended on a Monday.
Ali adds that the show has already taped three other anthologies that will last for a month of airing time.
The program manager elaborates, "At the start of the year, meron kaming mahahaba na series.
"But after this pandemic, ni-review namin how we do things even sa mga tapings.
"We decided na better pa yung mga shorter series rather yung mga 16 or 20 weeks or the rest na inaabot ng one year.
"Better pa rin na before we go on air, halos tapos na or tapos na yung buong series."
Ali admits that it's difficult to mount a full-length drama series when the taping schedule highly depends on safety restrictions that the government will enforce because of the ongoing pandemic.
"Para just in case there's a problem—like nung nangyari nung March, biglang naputol ang mga airings, dahil sa ECQ. So okay, how do we continue with this?
"So, para yung network, hindi na ulit kami mapunta sa mga ganung sitwasyon.
"As of now, yung entertainment group, ganun muna gagawin namin. Shorter siya [yung mga series], tatapusin siya agad before we air it, so editing na lang, hangga't may pandemic."
At the same time, Ali agrees that her team can tap more Kapuso stars for the next batch of week-long episodes for I Can See You.
"Tama, more opportunities for the artists to work.
"Actually, we want to do more pa of this I Can See You. If this will really fly, we plan to do another batch na we'll air.
"For next year, ganun na ulit ang plano."
BOY-MEETS-GIRL LOVE STORY
"Love On The Balcony" tells the story of a wedding videographer who falls in love with his neighbor who's a frontliner.
Alden says, "Everything was shot based on the new normal. Sa character ko, wedding videographer siya during the pandemic.
"Meron siyang dinadala sa sarili niya na ayaw niya pag-usapan, even with his best friend played by Pancho.
"As soon as he meets Lea [played by Jasmine], everthing will change."
While it's a typical boy-meets-girl type of love story, Alden hopes that Kapuso viewers will feel inspired that finding love is possible even during these difficult times.
Alden muses, "How do we talk to peoople sa new normal natin? Is there even a chance for new beginnings with what's happening?
"Yun ang paano natin gagawin sa mga story na puwede nating ikuwento with this kind of anthology."