Director took risk with ‘Tadhana’ leads
MANILA, Philippines—Actor JM de Guzman relates the prescription that he followed to recover from his breakup with actress Jessy Mendiola: “You let go of the memories that you once thought were too good to forget—they drag you down. Then you create new memories, good ones, to replace the old.”
JM is happily back at work and his current starrer, the romantic comedy “That Thing Called Tadhana,” is a certified hit. Also featuring Angelica Panganiban, the Star Cinema production directed by Antoinette Jadaone (“Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay,” “Beauty in a Bottle”) opened nationwide on Feb. 4 and is still running in numerous theaters.
“Tadhana” follows two heartbroken individuals, Mace (Angelica) and Anthony (JM), who meet in a Rome airport and, once back in Manila, embark on a random trip comparable to the one taken by Celine and Jesse in the 1995 US film “Before Sunrise.” Except, of course, Mace and Anthony find themselves in Baguio and Sagada, mountain destinations some 200 kilometers north of Manila.
Jadaone admits that she was at first uncertain that JM and Angelica’s pairing would work. “I had long been their fan. I knew they were good, individually, but I wasn’t sure they would deliver as a love team,” the director told the Inquirer. “I made JM read from the script and, by the third line, I had found my Anthony. As for Angel, I was sure she was my Mace when we worked on our first project together, ‘Beauty in a Bottle.’ When the cameras began to roll, their chemistry was undeniable.”
The screen romance did not thrive outside of work. Angelica is dating John Lloyd Cruz and JM never even considered courting Angelica. “I like her,” he says, “but there’s not that kind of physical attraction between us.”
He’s not dating at the moment. “I have interesting conversations with several women, but a serious relationship is not my priority these days.”
In a television interview late last year, JM revealed that he asked his grandfather to bring him to a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts. He said his drug dependence was among the reasons that he and Jessy split in 2013.
While filming “Tadhana,” JM says, he was more taken with Baguio’s fast pace than the laid-back atmosphere in Sagada. “The trip to Sagada was more memorable than our actual stay. Once there, all we could do was stare at the mountains.”
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