Love triangle stories often end with two people finally getting together after much confusion and competition. But not many dive into what happens to the one who wasn’t chosen, and whether this third wheel can be given a second chance at love.
This is what James and Pat and Dave does differently. Picking up from the 2016 flick Vince and Kath and James, Ronnie Alonte reprises his role as James, who must move on after Vince and Kath become an item. He winds up in Zambales where he meets Pat (Loisa Andalio) and her ex Dave (Donny Pangilinan). Directed by Ted Boborol, the movie premiered on February 10 to ecstatic fans and just in time for Valentine’s.
We caught up with the cast, where they spoke at length about their experience filming the movie. In our exclusive interview, they also dished on their own learnings about relationships and even themselves.
What makes this project different to you?
Ronnie: James’ story ito. Ako na yung lead. Galing kasi ito sa Vince, Kath, and James—kwento talaga ni Vince tsaka si Kath yun, tapos ako yung hindi napili. Ngayon yung bumibida is yung third wheel na hindi napipili.
Loisa: Samin talaga ni Ronnie. Nung sa General’s Daughter, napakaluwang trabaho namin. Grateful kami nakapasok kami dun sa teleseryeng yun, pero iba pa din itong pelikulang kasi itong matatawag mong kayo bumuo. Kami yung focus sa story. Kumbaga ito yung first launch namin ni Ronnie kasi ito yung first na makikita niyo kami magkasama na tuloy tuloy.
Donny: It’s my first time ever to star in a Star Cinema film. I’ve never worked this much with Loisa and Ronnie too. On our last movie, Fantastica, we worked very briefly and we were a lot in the cast. What also made it different was I had to portray a character that’s gone through things I’ve never experienced.
How did you prepare your heart and mind for the movie?
Loisa: Sa physical, nag-diet ako talaga pero hindi siya lumabas sa movie. Mataba pa din ako. (Laughs) Mahirap pero sinubukan ko.
Ronnie: Sineryoso kong trabahong 'to. Sa lahat ng eksena wala akong tinapon. Hindi porket light lang ng eksena, light lang din yung gagawin kong acting. Binigay ko lahat. Binago ko sarili ko. Ang story talaga ay hindi kami ni Loisa. Mahirap kasi umakting pag napakomportable niyo sa isa’t isa at naglalambingan kayo, tapos dun sa eksena hindi naman kayo. Di ko siya talaga pinansin, di ko sya rin nakausap. Ang tingin ko sa kanya ay di ko siya girlfriend. Sobrang laking tulong din ng workshops. Dun kumapit sakin ni James.
Donny: James is this guy who ghosts Pat. Since I’ve never done it to anyone I had to put myself in a position of asking people, “How did it feel?” or “Why would someone want to ghost?” I didn’t do extra research because when we got to set, Direk already made us feel like the characters. He put into our heads what we had to portray. With the help of the workshops hopefully we were able to pull it off.
How much did you relate to the characters?
Ronnie: Bad boy si James. Kupal kupal at walang pakialam. Nahirapan talaga ako dati kay James kasi di ko pa alam kung paano palaguin yung character. Ngayon nakakarelate ko talaga sa kanya. Feeling ko ako na si James. Parehas kami sa pagiging mabuti niya sa family. Hindi siya aware sa mga sinasabi sa kanya ng tao—naging ganoon din ako.
Loisa: Hindi naman ako masyadong nahirapan sa character ni Pat kasi napakalapit sa personality ko, lalo na sa pagmamahal sa family at sa mga tao sa paligid.
Donny: I relate to his fighting spirit. He never gave up. What I also like about Dave is how there’s this part in the movie where his personality completely switches. It was wrong what he did and he admits it.
Did you ever relate to your characters in terms of relationships?
Donny: I’ve never ghosted, thank God.
Loisa: Hindi. Una, nagkakakilala kami ni Ronnie. Dito kami sa James, Pat, and Dave, nagkakilala kami as strangers. Parang Aso’t pusa. Takot magmahal yung mga character namin kasi hindi na sila napili. Pero matapang kami magmahal ni Ronnie. Gagawin namin lahat para manalo ng pagmamahal.
Ronnie: Di naman kami same na same ni James. May pagkatorpe at may pagkatanga siya. Sa personal, dalawang akong beses hindi napili. Binigay ko lahat, binigay ko sarili ko, gusto ko naman siya, niligawan ko siya, kaya lang talagang di niya lang ako pinili. Tas may third party.
What did you discover about yourself while doing the movie?
Loisa: Nadiscover ko sa sarili ko na kaya ko din pala. Yung pelikulang ‘to, ang daming binigay ni Lord sakin na pagsubok. Winasak Niya muna ako na tinuran Niya ako ng leksyon o kilalabit Niya ba ako na, “Hoy. Nakakalimutan mo na ako.” Siguro yun yung way na bumalik ako kay Lord. Kaya pala ako ni Lord winasak kasi niready Niya ako para dito. Wala talagang ibibigay sa'yo si Lord na masakit, mahirap, mabigat na walang magandang kapalit.
Donny: It was my first time shooting a rom-com. I discovered that I love shooting them! I love the environment as well as working with the actors, directors, crew, and staff. It was a fun experience. I also discovered that when you’re working on a movie, it’s not just all about work. You have to find a relationship with all the other actors as well.
Ronnie: The way na kung paano siya makipagusap kay Pat, dun na ako narealize na ganun na ganun din ako sa personal. Pagdating sa pag-ibig, minsan di ko alam kung anong yung gagawin. Torpe ako, pero kahit gusto ko yung babae, di ko masabi sa kanya.
What did you discover about your co-stars on set?
Ronnie: Kay Loisa, wala naman kasi kami na. Pero naging close kami ni Donny. Magaan matrabaho; relaks lang kami sa set at wala talagang iniisip. Kaya naging maganda yung trabaho namin. Professional kahit bago lang din siya na umaarte.
Donny: I learned how professional they were. Ronnie admitted in the press conference that he purposely had to ignore Loisa on set and I witnessed that because their characters don’t have history together. When they’d have confrontation scenes, or scenes of not knowing each other, they wouldn’t talk and they’d really get in the zone. He made it clear to her though what he was doing. I saw a very different professionalism in them versus the last movie we made.
Your most memorable experience on set?
Donny: Off-cam, we went on an ATV ride around Zambales with a couple of people. We shot on a beach and I love the beach. It’s literally favorite place to be. The fact that if we’re not shooting we get to be enjoying the sand and the ocean was really fun.
Loisa: Ang fun talaga! Ang hindi ko talaga makakalimutan ay yung mga montage naming na naghaharutan kami kasi parang hindi kami umaarte. Parang kami lang talaga siya.
Ronnie: Namimiss ko yung times na magkakasama kami overnight pati yung bonding with Direk. At paggising mo nasa beach ka na, tapos trabaho ka na.
Last but not least. Until when would you fight for love?
Donny: I’ll keep fighting as long as there’s still something to fight for. When it comes to the point where you’re not fighting for anything anymore, it’s not worth it.
Ronnie: Hangga’t kaya. Hangga’t nagkakaintindihan pa kayo sa isa’t-isa. Nagbibigayan kayo hangga’t walang nagbabago.
Loisa: Hindi natin alam kung ano mangyayari satin pag namatay tayo, diba? Pero hangga’t nabubuhay ako, paglalaban ako yung pagmamahal ko na alam ko at alam ko din tama.
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Interview by Angela Sy
Banner image by Kang Garcia