Vilma Santos's movie launches Cassy and Darren's love team

Vilma Santos – Christopher de Leon film to officially launch ‘CassRen’ tandem

/ 12:03 AM November 08, 2023

Vilma-Christopher filmto officially launch ‘CassRen’ tandem

Lagaspi in “When I Met You in Tokyo” and Darren Espanto | PHOTOS: JG PRODUCTIONS

We owe it to our fans. They waited for this for nine years,” said Cassy Legaspi of the fact that “CassRen,” her tandem with Darren Espanto that was first created online, has now been legitimized with a film project, titled “When I Met You in Tokyo” (WIMYIT).

“Yes, this is an official CassRen project. Hopefully, there’s more to come. [Our fans] have been patient. They deserve a CassRen project,” she told reporters during the recent media conference to promote the movie starring Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon.


“Since there’s no more network war, especially between our respective networks, ABS-CBN and GMA 7, working on more projects together is something that Cassy and I look forward to in the future,” assured Darren. “There are a lot of possibilities for us to work together someday, other than for endorsement shoots. I hope it won’t just be for this movie. It’s so funny because even our parents would sometimes talk about it and say, ‘Tayo na lang ang mag-produce.’”The film, codirected by Rommel Penesa and Conrado Peru, is an entry to the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in December.


Cassy considers being a part of WIMYIT a “huge honor,” especially since her own mom, Carmina Villarroel, once played Vilma Santos’ daughter in the movie “Kapag Langit ang Humatol.”

Darren added: “Even though we’re Team Philippines, to be part of this film, which is also an MMFF entry, is a huge part of my life and career. It’s really a privilege for me. I was also starstruck with the people I was able to work with on the set. My mom is Ms Lotlot de Leon and my grandma is Ms Gina Alajar. Of course, my love-team partner is Cassy. It’s something that I hope people will like.”

While some scenes were shot in Japan, particularly those of Vilma and Christopher’s, the other scenes, including Darren and Cassy’s, were filmed in the Philippines. Cassy plays Vilma’s grandchild.

First encounter

Vilma-Christopher filmto officially launch ‘CassRen’ tandem

Darren Espanto (left) and Cassy Legaspi —CASSY LEGASPI/INSTAGRAM

Borrowing the film’s title, Darren and Cassy first met during a production number for the Sunday variety show “ASAP.” Cassy was with her twin, Mavy.

“I met Cassy’s mom first. She was a cohost of ‘Kris TV’ and I was a guest. They asked me about Cassy and what I thought about her. I said I’ve never met Cassy before. Sakto! I finally saw her during the concert of Ariana Grande in Manila (in 2015). My group first rode the elevator, then the whole Legaspi family went in,” Darren recalled. Cassy is Carmina’s daughter with actor Zoren Legaspi.“Both of us were like, ‘Si Darren ‘yon!’ ‘Si Cassy ‘yon!,” Cassy interjected.

“That was our first encounter, but we didn’t really meet. We only met when she appeared in our variety show. She wasn’t part of any network yet when we did this production number together,” Darren said.


“We felt super awkward toward each other,” Cassy recalled. “Look at us now. No awkwardness at all,” Darren added.

Darren said their tandem started when people began teasing them to each other. “Because you kept trying to manifest things, this is it,” Cassy told their supporters, implying that she and Darren now have a movie together.

Darren said they didn’t want to keep their hopes up when they first heard of an inquiry for a film project. “I was the one who asked Cassy if she already heard about it. We were told that the cast wasn’t 100 percent complete yet. We just knew it was a Vilma-Christopher film. We both wanted to do something together. This is an official CassRen project,” he declared. “It’s easier to be able to work with someone you’ve known for a long time. It makes a big difference when you’re comfortable with your partner onscreen and off.”

“I’m happy that I’m with D. We’ve both been wanting this for so long. On the set, there were times when we both felt nervous. He would just look at me and then I’d calm down. I realize that when we’re on the set, we don’t really need to act because it shows that we click,” she observed.

More than best friends

Darren said that while they have known each other for a while, it was during the pandemic lockdowns, through social media, that he and Cassy really connected. “That’s something that definitely had a big part to play, it added up to where we are today,” he said.

This led to reporters asking if the two now consider themselves “more than friends.” To this, Darren replied: “We’ve answered this question in a lot of interviews already. The answer has always been ‘yes.’ We’re more than friends … we’re more than best friends.”

Without admitting anything, Cassy added: “He’s a special person to me. I guess since we know each other well, we accept each other’s flaws. It comes naturally.”

Cassy said even her dad asked her about her relationship with Darren once. “I didn’t answer. I just laughed [at the question]. My parents think he is very nice. He is such a gentleman. My parents know I’m in good hands with him.”

Darren’s parents seem to feel the same toward Cassy. “They trust Cass. When they know I’m with her, they don’t ask anymore what time I’ll be home. Both of our parents are secure when we’re together,” he added. In fact, recalling a trip to Japan in February with their respective moms, Darren said, “Cass and I went out, just the two of us, and they didn’t ask us for updates.”

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“When I Met You in Tokyo,” produced by JG Productions, also features Kakai Bautista, Gabby Eigenmann, Lynn Cruz, John Gabriel and Jacky Woo. The 49th MMFF will run from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7.

TAGS: Cassy Legaspi, Christopher de Leon, Darren Espanto, Vilma Santos

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