Kathniel grows up

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo said that they are in their most mature project yet in Star Cinema’s She’s Dating The Gangster. Directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, She’s Dating the Gangster is adapted from a Wattpad story-turned-book of the same title, wherein Kathryn and Daniel (or Kathniel, as their loveteam is called by fans) play two sets of young lovers — one star-crossed (Kenji and Athena) and the other, an unlikely couple (Kenneth and Kelay).

Kathniel comes into the movie buoyed by the success of their previous project together, the soap opera Got To Believe. Even with its teen rom-com theme, not yet a marked departure from their past works, Kathryn said that She’s Dating The Gangster, “(is) the most serious and most mature of them all. Nahirapan din kami ni DJ (Daniel’s nickname) gawin yung mga characters namin.”

Daniel, for his part, said the movie is nothing like they’ve done in the past. “Ibang-iba because first of all, Kathryn and I matured in the film. Personally, ngayon ko lang naramdaman na nag effort ng sobra-sobra. We really learned a lot.”

The movie version had to undergo some tweaks to broaden its audience. According to direk Cathy, “I cannot quantify it (the changes). But the changes needed to be made because as we all know the book is meant for teens and my movies medyo mahina sa teens, but I want the film to appeal (also to mommies like me) so we had to adjust the story, add a little, change something so as to expand the story.”

The lady director also stressed that in the light of news items on hazing, school fraternities and campus violence, they were very careful that the film doesn’t promote the negative connotations of the word “gangster” as it takes on a different meaning in the movie.

Meanwhile, Kathryn is happy over Daniel’s success not just as an actor but also as a recording and concert artist. In the two years since their team-up was born (on the set of Princess & I), Daniel has had two major concerts at the Big Dome. “Nakita ko kasi nung pasimula palang si DJ. I can say I’ve seen how he has grown as a person and as an actor. We’ve done soaps and several movies together. I’m very proud of him because I’ve seen how much he loves his job. Before, it was like he was just playing around. But now, he has done so much. I’m so proud of him.”

Describing Daniel as the guy she’s closest to and most comfortable with in showbiz, Kathryn also said that they’ve not grown tired of each other’s company. “Habang tumatagal kami nagkakasama hindi ako nag-sasawa sa kanya kasi masarap kasama si DJ. Parang may baby na kasama, literal na baby!” Kathryn joked.

That they are given one project after another on ABS-CBN (not counting the endorsement deals), it says a lot about the standing of the Kathniel loveteam at the moment, and only time will tell if it’s in for the long haul.

Direk Cathy, who has handled some of the most successful team-ups like John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo (who despite being eventually partnered with other people still maintain a strong following), wouldn’t attempt to even compare Kathniel to their predecessors. “They’re very unique. Maybe there will never be a Judy Ann-Piolo, John Lloyd-Bea because Daniel is Daniel, iba siya, we cannot compare him to whoever else. Kathryn also. If the basis is the kasikatan, I hope that they would reach the stardom of John Lloyd-Bea or Judy Ann-Piolo. (But) they will always be Kathniel.”

As for Daniel, he’d like to look at the loveteams before them as an example and inspiration since “they’re successful not because they’re good-looking but because they’re good actors.”            

Kathryn added, “Ayoko pong sabihin na gusto naming tapatan sila or maangatan sila because ang dami pa naming dapat matutunan. But one day, we hope to be like them.”

Asked if the rumored real-life romance of the two young stars, now both 18, is helping their reel pairing, direk Cathy won’t be baited, only saying: “Daniel is very vocal with his attraction or crush on Kathryn. But I don’t know anything beyond that. Yes, it can help. But it shouldn’t matter kung sila ba or hindi.”

She’s Dating The Gangster also stars Khalil Ramos, Sofia Andres, Pamu Pamorada, Marco Gumabao, John Uy, Alex Diaz, Igi Boy Flores and Yana Asistio. Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta have special roles in the film, which forms part of the ongoing 20th anniversary celebration of Star Cinema. She’s Dating The Gangster is opening in theaters on July 16. 










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