Julie Ann, Elmo had to ‘improve’ before director said yes to movieBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Just One Summer” director Mac Alejandre said he agreed to do the film on one condition: First, he had to see improvement in the acting of the movie’s lead actors, Elmo Magalona and Julie Anne San Jose.
Alejandre told the Inquirer shortly before the movie’s premiere at the SM Megamall on Monday night: “I based my requirement on the [negative] reactions they got for their first film (‘Tween Academy: Class of 2012’) in 2011. When GMA Films hired me for this, my reply was: ‘I have to see improvements!’”
The director said the screen partners were sent to attend an acting workshop under theater singer-actress Ana Feleo, who also served as acting coach for the film.
“You’ll be surprised at how better they’ve become as actors,” the director pointed out. “What was good … was that we were able to show that they could portray lovers as well as they could sing.”
Alejandre claimed to have “witnessed their transformation.”
“[Now,] they take work seriously,” he observed. “They come to the set prepared for a scene. They listen [to suggestions].”
He added: “They gave their all—I only had to guide them.”
In the movie, San Jose plays Beto, a provincial lass struggling to save money for her college education. While working at a nearby farm, she reconnects with her childhood friend, Nyel (Magalona), also the farm owner’s son.
Excerpts from the Inquirer’s interview with Alejandre:
Julie Anne and Elmo have a considerably large following in social networking sites. Do you think this will translate to box-office success?
There’s no assurance that the fans will go to the theaters. That only means that Julie Anne and Elmo have a solid fan base, that they’re not starting at zero. What we can assure fans is that if they go and watch the movie, the experience will be more than merely seeing their idols on YouTube.
From among the onscreen partnerships you’ve handled in the past, which one do you compare “Julielmo” to?
I think of them as the young Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin when I made “Let the Love Begin” (2005). As I was viewing the rough cut, I remembered the first time I saw Richard and Angel together. There was chemistry. That film had a very simple story, but it’s GMA Films’ highest earner so far.
I’m saying this because, like Richard (son of 1960s movie heartthrob Eddie Gutierrez), Elmo also has show biz lineage, being the son of (the late music icon) Francis Magalona. Julie Anne doesn’t have that, but like Angel, she worked her way to the top. You will see chemistry here, too.
How do you think they can preserve their love team?
They should love and respect each other. I don’t believe there’s no romance happening between the two. I see magic onscreen. You can’t just ignore that.
Didn’t you have a hard time making them do the kissing scene?
They were very obedient. They did what they were told to do with no complaints. People should watch out for this scene—it’s very dramatic. They’re both crying while they’re kissing. The kiss will take about six to seven seconds. We finished the scene after three takes. We didn’t rehearse it, but I gave them specific instructions. I wanted it to look spontaneous.
Didn’t you just sign an exclusive contract with TV5? How was making a film for GMA Films possible for you?
Movie-making is independent from my TV work. Yes, I signed up for TV5 for four years but only to do TV. I will always work for film producers who want my services, and whose belief in me equals my belief in the project. (GMA Films president) Annette Gozon-Abrogar and Joey Abacan (VP for program management) are my friends. I promised to keep working with them.
Completing the cast of “Just One Summer” are Arkin Magalona, Sheena Halili, Lexi Fernandez, Sef Cadayona, Steven Silva, Diva Montelaba, Benedict Campos, Ken Chan, Joanna Marie Tan, Ana Feleo, Mon Confiado, Mega Unciano, Maey Bautista, Betong Sumaya, Alice Dixson, Boboy Garovillo, Cherry Pie Picache and Gloria Romero. The film opened in theaters nationwide last Wednesday.
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