Scenes shot abroad, actors with good chemistry, and a compelling story that Filipinos can relate to: These are one of the many characteristics one can find in an Olivia Lamasan-directed movie. In addition to these characteristics, Direk Olive is also known for pushing actors to their limits in her efforts to level up their acting skills.
“Focus, love your craft, and go out of your way to always improve yourself,” this is what direk Olive would remind her actors, as she shared during the blogcon for upcoming movie Barcelona: A Love Untold, where she got to work with phenomenal love team Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.
The movie talks about Ely (played by Daniel) and Mia (played by Kathryn) as they try to cope with their past and start anew, with Ely in search of a mystery character named Celine. The trailer alone showcased how KathNiel tackle more mature roles for the movie. Whatever glimpse of the storyline we got is giving us serious feels already:
Ely: "Mia, mahal kita."
Mia: "You don’t have to. ‘Wag mo akong mahalin dahil mahal kita. Mahalin mo ako dahil mahal mo ako, because that is what I deserve."
“The challenge for me was to transition the two [KathNiel] from teenage teenyboppers to more adult roles,” direk Olive added. In the 52 shooting days direk Olive worked with KathNiel, there were ups and downs but the director saw how the pair strived to do better every time, making her praise both actors for their dedication to the craft, even when direk Olive reprimanded them on set.
"But in fairness to the two, they took it in. And after that, nary a complaint, nary a time that they got late on my set, nary a time that they were not able to memorize," direk Olive recounts. “Happy ako sa passion and commitment, and all throughout working with them [KathNiel].”
Before we all fall in love with Barcelona: A Love Untold (mark September 14 on your calendars!), let's take a look back at some of Direk Olive's most notable films that were also shot in picturesque cities abroad:
1. Sana Maulit Muli
While Jerry (played by Aga Muhlach) was doing well as an advertising executive in Manila, Agnes (played be Lea Salonga) had to deal with struggling in the United States as she reconnects with her estranged mother. The movie tackled the struggles of a long distance relationship, and eventually, of a couple trying to make it in a foreign land, similar to Mia and Ely's situation in Barcelona. Will Mia and Ely have their happy ever after like Jerry and Agnes?
Who would forget: This pivotal moment between Jerry and Agnes when the former decided to go back to the Philippines, after accepting that Agnes has grown into a person all her own in the United States:
Agnes: "So let’s drink and get married."
Agnes: "Let’s get married, babes."
Jerry: "Babalik na ako sa Pilipinas."
Agnes: "Bakit? Ako ba Jerry?"
Agnes: "Is it because I’ve changed?"
Jerry: No. "Natutunan ko nang tanggapin yun. Natutuwa nga ako because my baby has grown up."
Agnes: "Mahal kita, babes."
Jerry: "Mahal na mahal din kita, babes.
Agnes: "Bakit mo ko sinasaktan?"
Jerry: "Babes, mas nasasaktan ako."
Agnes: "Huwag mo ako iwan."
Jerry: "Kailangan eh. Hindi naman dahil sa iyo kung hindi dahil din sa akin, pero hindi naman lahat ito para sa akin kung hindi para din sa iyo, babes. Kahit ilang beses tayo magpaalam sa isa’t isa tandaan mo palagi na wala akong minahal at wala rin ako sigurong mamahalin tulad ng pagmamahal na ibinigay ko sa iyo, babes."
Ely’s character in Barcelona: A Love Untold reminds us of Lino’s character (played by Piolo Pascual) in Milan as both traveled abroad in search for their loved ones who have gone astray. In the process, Lino meets Jenny (played by Claudine Barretto), and their lives will be changed as they get to know one another, just as how Ely and Mia become close as they talk about their past.
Who would forget: How Lino confessed to Jenny that he loves her, but Jenny said they should just remain friends.
Jenny: "Hindi pala naibibigay ang kaligayan, hindi ito nahahanap sa ibang tao o sa isang lugar, nasa sa iyo yun. Ikaw mismo ang makakahanap at makakapagbigay nun sa sarili mo."
Lino: "Pero Jenny…"
Jenny: "Hindi ko kayang punuan lahat ng pagkukulang mo Lino, dahil meron din akong sariling pagkukulang na kailangan kong punuan."
Lino: "Jenny, mahal kita."
Jenny: "Mahal mo ba ako dahil kailangan mo ako? O kailangan mo ako kaya mahal mo ako? Kasi yun din ang ramdam ko sa sarili ko Lino eh. Hangga’t di mo alam ang sagot, siguro nga mas mabuting ganito muna tayo."
3. In My Life
The characters of Shirley (played by Vilma Santos), Mark (played by Luis Manzano), and Noel (played by John Lloyd Cruz) have to adapt to life in a foreign country (in this case, New York City), as they deal with conflicts between one another. While In My Life focuses more on a mother’s love and homosexual relationships, Direk Olive's signature multi-dimensional, self-analyzing characters are just like Ely and Mia who had to triumph over the conflicts within themselves in order to move on with their present lives.
Who would forget: That confrontation scene between Shirley and Noel, after Shirley found out that Noel is her son Mark's boyfriend:
Shirley: "Anak ko siya! Sa akin siya nanggaling!"
Noel: "Hindi mo siya pag-aari! at hindi lang ikaw ang may karapatang magmahal sa kanya! Hindi lang sa iyo umiikot ang mundo at hindi titigil ito kahit mawala ka pa!"
We sure can't wait to see how she, along with Kathryn and Daniel, will make us cry. laugh, feel, love, and live life to the fullest with Barcelona: A Love Untold.
ALSO READ: In Focus: A Closer Look at the Must-Visit Spanish Landmarks Shown on “Barcelona: A Love Untold”
Artwork by Jana Jimenez. Photographs taken from movie stills of "Sana Maulit Muli", "Milan", "In My Life", and "Barcelona: A Love Untold".