As one of today's most followed tandems with hosting stints and musical collaborations together, it's only a matter of time until we see Maris Racal and Inigo Pascual star in their very own feature film. And, as we all know, we won't have to wait too long for that. The two are slated to release the coming-of-age comedy entitled I'm Ellenya L soon, where MarNigo supporters are about to witness a different side of their beloved on-screen sensations.
According to Maris and Inigo, they couldn't have gotten a more perfect story to bring to life for the first time. The film, directed by Boy2 Quizon, follows "Ellenya L" (played by Maris,) a girl trying to make it into the influencer-driven world of social media, and Peng (played by Inigo,) her best friend who she got into a deal with to help her create content.
Maris describes her character as "trying hard to the point na magkicringe ka." Inigo adds, "Nakaka-cringe, but it works kasi nakakatawa talaga 'yung character niya," emphaszing that they focused more on the comedic vibe rather than the "kilig" aspect for the overall feel of the film. But if you're a die-hard MarNigo fan, seeing them together in every scene alone can already get you squealing. After all, their vibrant chemistry is palpable whether they're playing a role or not.
Given that this is Maris and Inigo's first film together, there were certainly new things to discover about each other. What were they like when they immersed themselves in this challenge? "Si Maris is the type of person na 'pag hindi siya masaya sa eksena na ginawa niya, uulitin at uulitin niya hanggang magawa niya nang maayos," Inigo starts. "Maraming eksena sa movie na ’to na talagang hindi siya kumportable. Kahit takot na takot siya, siya na mismo 'yung nagsasabing, 'Direk, ulitin natin. Feeling ko mas kaya ko pang galingan.'"
Maris also has praises to say about her trusty co-star. "Alam kong nagstop siya mag-act for a while," she tells. "Nakita kong willing siyang matuto and very open siya sa director, hindi 'yung in denial na nahihiya siya. Ina-admit niya din sa akin, and he would ask for help."
But aside from their on-set jitters, another thing that tested their skills as actors was the fact that they're doing comedy. Truly, it takes a different set of wits to have an outcome that would translate to the audience without it falling short or corny. "It’s harder to make people laugh kasi siyempre you don’t want to be seem trying hard," Inigo reveals. "It's all about the timing and delivery. And iba 'yung marunong ka sa humor ng mga Pilipino. Kailangan updated din yung humor mo."
For Maris, the humor factor made it all the more challenging for her. "Nahirapan ako kasi, off-cam, corny akong tao," she bares with a laugh. As expected, Inigo knows this fact about his partner all too well. He says with utmost endearment, "'Yung jokes niya talaga 'yung tipong as in 'di ka tatawa. Mapipikon ka, na parang, 'Ba’t ka pa nagjoke?'"
While it would be a sure feel-good trip, I'm Ellenya L's message to its target audience will certainly hit home just as well. "'Yung pinaka-story nito is to be yourself. Sometimes when you try the hardest, that’s when you’re not accepted. People don’t appreciate you because you’re not who you really are as a person," Inigo says.
This reminder hopefully resonates to our generation that's constantly bombarded by diverse, sometimes harmful ideals and concepts brought by the digital age. Maris finishes, "If mapakita mo 'yung flaws and insecurities mo, I think 'dun ka mas mamahalin ng tao."
ALSO READ: #ChalkLovesMarNigo: Maris Racal And Inigo Pascual On What Makes Their Tandem Work
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Ryuji Shiomitsu (Maris) and Aaron Mangsat (Inigo)
Makeup by Jelly Eugenio
Hair by MJ Rone
Grooming by Jay Herrera