Piolo Pascual talks fondly about Claudine Barretto, his former leading lady in the box-office hit Milan (2004).
"Clau will always be one of the closest friends in showbiz na talagang tumulong sa akin," says Piolo with a smile in an interview held earlier today, August 9, at the ABS-CBN compound.
Does he still have communication with Claudine?
"Wala pa lately. Nakikita ko lang siya sa news pero hindi ko siya nakakausap."
As a friend, how does he feel about the issues being faced by Claudine now?
"Prayers lang... lahat naman ’yan nadadaan ’yan sa dasal and I don’t think I’m in a position to comment about it."
To date, Claudine is in a legal battle with estranged husband Raymart Santiago.
When asked if he will do a movie with Claudine in the future, Piolo answers, "Si Tita Malou [Santos, managing director] ang makakasagot nun.
"Of course, Clau [Claudine] is a good friend of mine and hopefully, one of these days, magtugma ang schedule namin at, yeah, magawa namin.
"I’m very excited for it," says Piolo.
CANNES EXPERIENCE. OTJ (On The Job) had its world premiere at the prestigious 66th Cannes Film Festival in France last May. The film was part of the Director’s Fortnight selection.
Piolo recalls, "It was a very heartwarming experience because everyone didn’t leave the theater after the credits. They all stayed on and it really validated the film.
"From the response of the audience, ang sarap lang ng pakiramdam na alam mong tatanggapin. Alam mong tinanggap abroad, sana locally, tanggapin rin."
The OTJ lead actor says he is excited to see his first action film open in Philippine cinemas by August 28.
"Sabi nga ni Direk Erik, he is so proud of this film just as we are."
He recalls, "I was with Gerald and I was with Ray [Rayver Cruz], Direk Erik, and Joel [Torre].
"But I came late by a day or two so I didn’t get the chance to go around [Paris]."
Last July 26, OTJ also won two major awards during the 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Fest held recently in South Korea.
ACTION FLICKS. Is Piolo open to doing more action films in the future?
"Oo naman, but right now, I’m doing a movie with Toni [Gonzaga] directed by Olive Lamasan, which is our reunion after Milan.
"I’m really excited and nandun ang attention ko ngayon. I’m really excited na nakagawa kami ng pelikula ni Toni."
Piolo relishes the chance to accept physically challenging roles such as OTJ, directed by Erik Matti.
In OTJ, Piolo is cast as a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent who is hunting down hitmen played by Joel Torre and Gerald Anderson.
Piolo admits he loves these kinds of roles because, "Nakaka-work rin out ako. I love to work out, I love to exercise so mga ganitong takbuhan, mga ganitong training sa set, okay sa akin yun."