Newbie actor Gil Cuerva feels a lot of pressure now that he's headlining a primetime series with one of GMA Network's most prized leading ladies, Jennylyn Mercado.
Gil and Jennylyn were both cast as the new Matteo and Steffi, respectively, in the Kapuso remake of the hit Korean drama series My Love From The Star.
According to teasers aired by GMA-7, the Philippine adaptation will air this May 2017.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertanment Portal) and other members of the press got to know more about the new Kapuso heartthrob at a pocket presscon held on Wednesday, May 10, at Relish restaurant in Quezon City.
During the interview, the 21-year-old model-turned-actor admitted he's under a lot of pressure since he is a newbie in the entertainment industry.
"There's an immense amount of pressure, especially when it comes to proving my worth.
"But I also fully understand that this thing isn't overnight. Hindi ako magiging magaling na actor, you know, from the get go.
"I guess, it's just great. I'm just embracing the process. I understand that right now, I'm very new, very raw and the skill isn't there yet because I had no experience.
"But the only thing I can do is embrace it, embrace the process and keep on working on myself and improving on myself as each day goes by."
Before joining showbiz, Gil was busy with his studies at Ateneo de Manila University while working as a full time model.
JENNYLYN MERCADO. Gil said he admires Jennylyn for her humility, considering that she is an A-list celebrity in the country.
"Wala siyang, even the smallest hint of ere," Gil described.
He added, "Wala siyang ere at all. And it makes it very easy for someone as new as me to work with her.
"Yung tipong it's easy to ask her, approach her how to go on a certain scene. Madali lang mag-throw lines sa kanya.
"And, just how she is as a person, her demeanor [is] very nice and very proper.
"It helps, it really helps for someone as new as me to just be myself and see where things go."
To relate with his co-star, Gil makes it a point to bond and get to know Jennylyn, helping them improve their chemistry onscreen.
He told the press, "Siyempre it starts po with mga small talk po, like off-camera, you take the time to know your leading lady.
"So I had the time to get to know Jen, and the process, we were able to see na may mga similarities kami.
"Some similar interest and hobbies. I guess, in a way, I was able to relate to my leading lady."
One of the highly-anticipated moments in the Kapuso series is Gil's kissing scene with Jennylyn.
Members of the press asked Gil how his first onscreen kiss turned out.
The Kapuso actor admitted, "I was very nervous. It wasn't like I was just going to have a kissing scene with anyone.
"Si Jennylyn yung ka-kissing scene ko so I'll admit, I was very nervous.
"I guess that's the best word to describe the feeling but nakaya naman. We were able to get through it."
PINOY MATTEO. Gil confirmed that there would be some differences from his version of Matteo and the one in the Korean version.
He explained, "I think this role is very Filipinized, this is the Philippine remake of My Love From The Star.
"So I guess what fans can expect is that this Matteo will be more Filipino than Korean."
The newbie actor added that Filipino viewers will be able to relate more with his character.
Gil said, "Siguro po mas makaka-relate po yung audience sa Matteo ng Philippine remake.
"Siyempre andun pa rin yung pagka-stoic, pagka-reserved ni Matteo.
"But at the same time, there are some nuances na mas related sa mga Filipinos, sa mga Pinoys versus sa original version which is the Korean version."
As for his topless shower scene, Gil said they haven't shot the scene yet and he asked director Joyce Bernal for more time to prepare his body.
"Hindi pa! I told Direk until kailangan na talagang i-shoot yun para I have time to really... I've packed on a lot of weight since December.
"So that the shower scene would look good and I wouldn't look like malnourished."
Aside from the shower scene, Gil encountered another challenging scene which they shot back in December.
He recalled, "I remember there's this one scene, it was my last taping day for December. Ang kaeksena was Christian [Bautista] and Jennylyn. I kept on buckling on my lines.
"So I was frustrated and frustrated and frustrated until it just piled up.
"I can't even read the first line any more because the only thing in my head is, 'Man, I'm messing up! Man, I'm screwing up!'
"And Direk had to change the line into a one-liner instead of like... it was a long line and I couldn't even say half of it kasi I was too frustrated.
"Right after kinausap ako ni Christian, and he just told me to relax and not to be too hard on myself.
"And just learn, you know, just chill."
THE DREAM. Members of the press also asked Gil what inspired him to join the showbiz industry.
The young actor revealed that he has always dreamed of being an artista.
He names Eddie Redmayne, Tom Cruise, and George Clooney as his biggest idols.
Gil recalled, "Growing up po kasi, I watch a lot of movies with my mom. That's how I actually got interested.
"I used to watch movies with my mom tapos yung mga gusto niyang movies, yung mga movies nina Tom Cruise, George Clooney. Yun po kasi yung mga crush niya, e."
He added, "So I kind of...growing up, watching them I subconsciously absorbed them as well, so thay's why I learned like the way they act."
Luckily, he was able to audition for the role back in 2016, and eventually have it in the bag.
"I guess, somehow, through a bit of luck and timing kasi it ended at the time I least expected it.
"I was modelling in Hong Kong, and then I had plans of modelling in Thailand right after.
"I came back to have a two-week break to fix my visas and then, nagkataon minessage ako to audition for this role.
"And when I was here sabi ko, 'Why not? Try ko lang.' I just wanted to see where it go.
"I didn't really think I'd get it but then I got it so ayun, that's how it entered my life."
At the moment, Gil would like to continue learning about the craft and become a better actor.
He said, "Right now yung focus ko po is I want to establish myself as a leading man.
"And while doing so, improve my acting skill and then, once I believe my skill is at par with my own expectations, it's when I'll start figuring out which roles best suit me.
"But for the mean time, I would like to focus again on being a leading man and developing the acting skill."