For the second time, Toni Gonzaga was able to work with her director-boyfriend Paul Soriano in the indie film titled A Journey Home. The singer-actress was first directed by the grandson of the late Nestor de Villa's in her music video "Catch Me I'm Fallin'."
A Journey Home is the first indie film of both Toni and Paul.
Before anyone can speculate, Toni explains that it was just a coincidence that she and Paul were chosen to be part of the movie. "Nagkataon lang," she told the media during the press conference of A Journey Home last September 19 at Dulcinea on Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
She continued, "Alam kasi ng Jubilee [Evangelical Church, film producer] na I also do ministry sa Church namin sa Taytay. I didn't really think twice about the project. Actually, nagkaroon lang kami ng problema with regard to the schedules, kasi naging tight ang schedule noong nagsimula kami. Pero gaya ng lagi kong sinasabi, binibigyan ko ng panahon ang ibang proyekto, bakit hindi ko bibigyan ng panahon si Lord? Siyempre, sa Kanya naman galing ang lahat ng ito."
Was there any awkward moment during the shooting of the film?
The 25-year-old actress replied, "Honestly, walang ilang factor, wala ring weird factor. Like what I said kanina, we go to the set, we get into our characters, and we play our roles. Talagang lahat kami, we work as a team."
She also pointed out that she and Paul separate their personal lives from their respective jobs as actress and director. She elaborated, "Si Paul naman po ay hindi ko ka-loveteam. So, hindi po namin kailangang magpa-sweet, hindi naman po kailangan 'yon sa pelikula. You can ask the people around who we worked with, 'yong crew and staff. We see to it na may distance kami—I stayed with the cast in the dressing room. Siya naman, he prefers to stay with the crew para talagang ma-separate 'yong work sa totoong buhay."
The Entertainment Live! host also said that through this movie project, she saw how meticulous her boyfriend is in directing.
"Sinabi ko noong una, si Direk Paul may pagka-professional na tao, may makaka-attest po diyan. Medyo detalyado po siya, kahit sa totoong buhay po ay hindi naman siya detalyado. Ngayon ko na-discover ang pagka-detalyado niya. Nakaka-seven takes para lang makuha ang gusto niya. Pero siyempre, nirerespeto ko 'yon dahil 'yon ang craft niya."
She also gave credit to Direk Paul for helping her in portraying a mother role in the film.
Toni said, "I think team effort po 'yon, sa director, kung paano niya na-explain ang character ko, sa lahat. Team effort 'yon kasi kapag nagsimula na kaming mag-roll at naramdaman ko na they're all in their characters, playing the role, mararamdaman mo talaga na pamilya kami."
FROM ROM-COM TO DRAMA. Toni is known for playing funny characters in her hit movies like, You Got Me (2007), My Big Love (2008), and My Only You (2008). In A Journey Home, Toni attempts to play a more serious role by portraying the character of Gayle, a loving wife to Joem Bascon's character.
The shift from romantic comedy to full time drama was hard, according to Toni.
"Mahirap po talaga," she confessed. "But like I said, noong binasa ko po talaga 'yong script, 'yong story, noong nabasa ko talaga 'yong draft, naiiyak na ako. Noong unang draft pa lang na in-email sa akin, naiiyak na ako. I told myself na siguro malaking honor din sa akin na maging parte ng ganitong project for the Lord. Kasi, this is also one way of giving back to the Lord sa lahat ng mga natanggap ko."
Toni added, "Playing 'yong from wacky to a serious role, medyo mahirap po talaga. I have to admit na mahirap talaga kasi sanay ako na kapag nasa set masaya lang, perky-perky lang, puro kasiyahan lang ang dialogue. Ito, talagang serious, may anak, so talagang medyo seryoso lang nang konti. Pero kapag behind the scene naman, talagang doon na lang kami bumabalik sa totoong buhay."
A Journey Home is a film produced by Jubilee Evangelical Church in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Youth for Christ Ministry. It will have its one-day-only screening on October 3 at SM Megamall Cinemas 8, 9, and 10.