When Kathryn and Daniel realized they wanted to take acting seriously
The popularity of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla may have worked wonders for the love team on TV and on the big screen. But theirs is the type of potent chemistry honed even further by years of experience under the gimlet-eyed guidance of their mentors at ABS-CBN.
“KathNiel,” as the duo is fondly called, has paid its dues, especially in projects that have tested their box-office or acting mettle. For their followers, TV shows like “Princess and I” and “Pangako sa ‘Yo,” as well as films like Mae Cruz-Alviar’s “Crazy Beautiful You,” Olivia Lamansan’s “Barcelona: A Love Untold” and Cathy Garcia-Molina’s “The Hows of Us,” immediately come to mind.
When we spoke to Kath and DJ for this two-on-one chat to discuss the eagerly anticipated series “2 Good 2 Be True”—their latest team-up that will be shown on Netflix beginning tomorrow, 72 hours before it airs on free/pay TV—they said that the lessons they take away from every project they appear in aren’t something they take for granted.
We also had a memorable one-on-one time with the duo’s director, the youthful Mae Cruz-Alviar. But we will share that exchange with you in another article, dear readers.
Since most of KathNiel’s starrers examine relationships that are often tested by time and over make-or-break challenges, we asked them if the lessons they learn from their characters also help them arrive at decisions involving tricky personal issues.
“Definitely, some of the lessons from the characters you play get entrenched in your heart forever—hindi mo basta-basta ma-le-let go,” Kathryn explained. “You carry them with you long after the show or the movie wraps up. These projects are like seeds that are ingrained in you.
“But maturity is also a big part of our growth as performers. The mentors who have guided us in different projects should also be given credit for this, because they made us realize that we can work hard and go home with a sense of fulfillment. Malaking bagay ‘yung pagiging proud mo sa ginagawa mo.”
DJ interjected, “They’re life lessons that you can apply to different situations in life.”
In a nutshell, “2 Good 2 Be True” follows Eloy (Daniel) and Ali (Kathryn Bernardo), a nurse, who must come to terms with the heartbreak brought about by the complications of love in their parents’ lives.
And even when Eloy and Ali eventually find their way into each other’s arms, they’re constantly being pulled back by doubts—until they realize that their lives are more connected than they initially thought.
Asked to tell us a little more about its story, the couple said that what makes the production instantly relatable to viewers is the fact that it’s a case of art imitating life.
“For now, we can’t spoil what the show is all about, but this much is true: The series is full of hope … and there are so many lessons and realizations that are applicable to family life, your relationship with your friends, and how you treat the people around you.
“Sometimes, we don’t know how our actions would affect other people. At the end of the day, it’s hard to judge them because we don’t know what they’re going through.
“Another key takeaway from the series is the importance of forgiveness … because, sometimes, the act of forgiving is the only way for people to start fresh and strive for a better life.”
Impressed by Kath’s eloquence, Daniel then turned to his longtime girlfriend, smiled with pride in his eyes, and said, “Ang galing mo, Ma (that was great).”
Speaking of “galing,” we’ve always held Daniel, the actor, in high regard. His acting choices have always been very natural and spot-on, regardless of the complexity of the role he’s tasked to bring to life.
The latest proof of the 27-year-old actor’s innate talent is the award-winning portrayal he had turned in for the recent MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) entry, “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon.” So, we expect nothing less from the heartthrob in “2 Good 2 Be True.”
As for Kathryn, we told the 26-year-old actress how her depth and her character’s pathos in “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” her blockbuster dramatic pairing with Alden Richards, had stayed with us long after the credits rolled.
Do they find it more challenging to act in movies without the other? And doesn’t the other’s presence become a convenient crutch in their projects together?
“Every role comes with a different set of challenges, so I think they’re just the same” Daniel quipped.
“But there’s something about being away from each other that forces you to stand on your own,” mused Kathryn. “However, the challenges are just as similar when we do projects as a love team. In ‘2 Good 2 Be True’s’ case, people might think that the roles are easier to essay because it’s a rom-com.
“In reality, finding the right tone and flavor for something like this requires a lot of focus and experience—mahirap s’yang timplahin. So, that was what we had to adjust to, especially during our first few taping cycles.”
How similar or different are they from their characters?
“Eloy and Ali’s dynamics are very different compared to the one I share with DJ,” Kathryn disclosed. “But that difference is also what makes them interesting to portray … because viewers want to see Ali and Eloy in the show … not just me and Daniel playing another variation of ourselves.
“Ali, who’s a nurse, is like the ‘nanay’ of her family. She’s very hardworking, and she’s a bit allergic to men.”
Daniel said, ‘Even if we have different outlooks in life, Eloy and I have something in common. Like him, I used to be my family’s breadwinner.”
Chiming in, Kathryn added, “And they both love cars (laughs)…!”
Indeed, the two have come a long way since the teen TV drama series “Growing Up” (2011) and the screen rom-com “24/7 in Love” (2012). But at which point in their respective careers did they realize they wanted to take acting seriously and become better actors?
“This probably happened to us at about the same time,” Kathryn told us, before she looked at Daniel for confirmation.
“I think it happened when we did the series ‘Got to Believe’ in 2013,” DJ noted. “At first, it was very difficult for us, especially when it was time to take our characters seriously. But things began to change and really take shape when direk Cathy Garcia-Molina began demanding more from us—binantayan n’ya talaga kami.
“That’s how it all started … It began to dawn on me that I already wanted more from my craft, that I wanted to get better. It became very rewarding when I would be able to execute a scene as intended.
“There’s a sense of fulfillment when your director and co-actors tell you how pleased they are with what you did or how you pulled off a difficult scene. So, I wanted to replicate that more and more. Gusto ko laging ganun … that I’m able to satisfy people’s expectations of me and, more importantly, live up to my expectations for myself.”
“2 Good 2 be True” is coming to Netflix 72 hours before it premieres on free/pay TV.
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