For Thai actor Mario Maurer, magic happened in shooting his first film project in the Philippines.
At the press conference of Suddenly It’s Magic held yesterday, October 29, at the Dolphy Theater of ABS-CBN, the 23-year-old heartthrob relayed that getting to work with his Filipina leading lady Erich Gonzales and the rest of his co-actors and crew had been a magical experience.
He stated, “Just to be here, to work here in the Philippines is the magic for me too.”
The Star Cinema-produced Suddenly It’s Magic, directed by Rory B. Quintos and written by Vanessa Valdez, tells the story of how a famous Thai actor and a simple, cupcake-baking lass from Ilocos cross paths and fall in love.
The fictional characters of Marco Hanson and Joey Hermosa were tailor-made for Mario and Erich, respectively.
As the production shot the film in Paoay, Ilocos Norte and Bangkok, Thailand, during the first half of the year, Mario was given the chance to let his Filipino co-workers get to know him.
Direk Rory described her lead actor: “He’s really very lovable and very charming. So nakuha niya yung loob talaga ng lahat ng tao.”
In turn, Mario said about the Filipina filmmaker, “She is… very hardworking. She is the first Filipina director that I worked with, [in] the first movie that I have to speak in English.
“So it’s hard for me, you know.
"But after I worked with Direk, I found that she is very nice and she taught me a lot.”
Mario, who is also among the international celebrity endorsers of local clothesline Penshoppe, found Ilocos a beautiful place.
“But everybody told me there’s many more places to go [to],” said Mario who still plans to see Palawan and other tourist spots in the country.
Meanwhile, asked how he found the Filipinos, the Love of Siam star said, “They’re very nice and for me it’s very nice to know…
“On the first day, I came here and I talked to Direk. She told me, ‘When you work here, we’re going to be a family.’
“And all the crew and everybody, including not only the actors and the actresses but the whole team, became like a family.
“I will miss the whole team… I will miss my brother here, Joross [Gamboa].”
Joross, in Suddenly It’s Magic, plays the gay best friend of Erich’s character.
At the press conference, it was made known that it was the Filipino actor who first befriended Mario and the one who taught him his first Tagalog phrases—“Mahal kita,” “Salamat po,” also “Ansabi?,” which is a slang derivative of “Anong sinabi?”
Mario added, “Working with them is very nice. Like I said, we became a family. And they’re all so funny… we laugh until Direk has to stop us.
“Direk has to tell us to focus because we are laughing all the time. We are having fun when shooting.”
A few more forthright questions were thrown at Mario.
Is there a possibility that he would fall in love with a Filipina?
The actor, known to be in a nine-year-relationship with Thai actress Gubgib Sumontip, answered to the amusement of the press, “It’s a secret po!”
Mario was likewise inquired, how does he find Filipina women?
He replied, “Very sexy po. They’re very nice and very kind and I know that they also cook very good.”
In a previous press conference, Mario mentioned that Erich cooked the famous Filipino dish adobo for him and his Thai unit.
When finally asked what magic he possesses that made him win the hearts of Filipinos, the Thai actor replied, “Maybe because I’m myself and I don’t pretend to be someone.”