Kathryn Bernardo on doing ‘Hello, Love, Again’ before 'Elena 1944'

Why Kathryn Bernardo is doing ‘Hello, Love, Again’ before comfort woman film

/ 12:15 AM May 25, 2024

Kathryn Bernardo, Alden Richards to reunite in ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ sequel

(From left) Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards. Image: Courtesy of Star Cinema

Preproduction work for the period movie “Elena 1944,” where Kathryn Bernardo is expected to play a comfort woman during Japanese occupation, is taking longer than expected, that’s why the actress was offered to do a sequel of her hit movie with Alden Richards, “Hello, Love, Goodbye” (HLG), instead.

The sequel, titled “Hello, Love, Again” (HLA), will not be submitted as an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival in December, but instead will be shown on Nov. 13. To be directed by Cathy Garcia-Sampana, the film is credited as the first collaboration between ABS-CBN Films and GMA Pictures.


These were reported by Star Cinema head Kriz Gazmen, who also said that GMA Network’s Annette Gozon-Valdez (SVP for programming, talent management worldwide and support) has long been requesting that they work on HLG’s sequel together. Alden Richards, Kathryn’s leading man, is one of the top talents of the Kapuso network.


READ: Alden Richards wants to keep it ‘personal’ with Kathryn Bernardo

When Inquirer Entertainment asked Kriz to explain the unexpected choice of playdate for HLA, he said he was also surprised that a lot of people were asking the same question. “People were sure that this would be shown during the MMFF, but we are very confident with HLA. We feel that this movie can stand on its own during a regular screening. We also wanted to prove that there is a market for films outside the MMFF, that people—regardless of the playdate—if they are really interested in the material, will make time to see it in the cinemas,” Kriz said during the project announcement on Sunday held at the ABS-CBN Compound, where even GMA Network executives were present.

More accessible

“Second, a huge chunk of the gross of HLG was from its international release. It did well in terms of the overseas market. We also noticed that in relation to behavior, only Filipinos have made it a tradition to watch movies during the Christmas season, while people in other countries go on vacation instead,” Kriz began.

“We wanted to position HLA at a playdate that we feel the movie will be made more accessible to its target audience. More than the domestic audience, we also want to reach out to Filipinos abroad. Based on our research, the OFWs are very busy during December—they either head home or go on vacation with their families. This also factored in the decision,” he said.

Another factor, said Kriz, was the need for more time to prepare for the movie “Elena.” He explained: “Right now, we’re already developing it, but it takes so much preproduction work. I don’t think we’ve ever done a movie of this scale, so we want to give it our best.


“When we laid out the whole calendar, that’s when we realized the amount of time it requires to do ‘Elena.’ We didn’t want to waste Kathryn’s time just waiting for us. The idea of doing a sequel to HLG, after it became the highest-grossing movie of all time, has always been there, anyway. The story is open-ended, too, so why not do a follow up?”

‘Familiar but different’

We then asked him to recall Kathryn Bernardo’s reaction when the idea of HLA was first pitched to her. Kriz said: “In the beginning, we saw the glow in her eyes, then she started asking a lot of questions. She thought that if she and Alden would make another movie, is a sequel still a good idea or is it better to make a new movie instead? I guess the idea of working again with Alden appealed to her because she had a really fun experience when she did HLG.”

Kriz believes that coproducing HLA with GMA Pictures is “a good break-in” for their relationship. “Annette was telling the truth when she said that we have been talking even before doing ‘Unbreak My Heart’ with them, or even before ‘It’s Showtime’ started airing on GMA 7,” he said.

“We had ideas that we threw back and forth, but nothing came to fruition. Through it all, Annette would always suggest the sequel for HLG. When we finally decided we’re going to do it, Carlo (Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and CEO) talked to Annette,” said Kriz.

He added that, since HLG is a property of Star Cinema, they will be in charge of the whole production process. “Of course, we’re going to seek their inputs in relation to the material,” he pointed out. “When it comes to the creative and production part, we’ve got them covered. What we really need is for GMA to help us amplify the word on HLA and bring more people to the cinemas. That’s an important part of the equation.”

Writers Carmi Raymundo and Crystal Hazel San Miguel head the creative team. “The sequel is just how Alden described it. It’s familiar but different. There has been a lot of changes in the five years since HLG was released, since Kathryn’s character Joy flew to Canada to work there. A lot of things happened to the world during that period, too. We’ve experienced a pandemic and the world has shut down. HLG was about these two characters and the world around them,” Carmi explained.

‘About Filipinos abroad’

Crystal added: “The world has changed so much, so, for sure, our characters have experienced personal changes in their relationship, as well. The biggest question here is whether or not their love for each other remains unchanged.”

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Director Cathy reported to have recently flown to Canada and Hong Kong for ocular inspection and to conduct interviews with OFWs there. “We’re thankful to all the Pinoys in Canada who helped us. Of course, there will be no HLG without the help of OFWs in Hong Kong,” she pointed out. “We will merely transfer location, but this is still about Filipinos working abroad. We just learned that the journey of OFWs in Hong Kong and the life lessons they’ve learned, are very much different from the stories of those living in Canada. This excites me more because I know we will be able to offer something new.”

TAGS: Alden Richards, Kathryn Bernardo

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