JaDine fever will never end

Phoebe Marquez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - “All good things must come to an end.”

This was how director Antoinette Jadaone justified the curtain falling  for the ABS-CBN’s successful teleserye On The Wings of Love (OTWOL), which stars one of today’s hottest loveteams, James Reid and Nadine Lustre, popularly known as JaDine.

OTWOL, which has been giving viewers a massive dosage of kilig and drama every night for the last seven months, will have its series finale on Feb. 26. Viewers will finally know whether Clark and Leah will get their happy ending. But as hinted during the press conference held last Feb. 16, a happy ending might not necessarily mean Clark and Leah will be riding off into the sunset together.

Upon hearing a hint of separation for Clark and Leah, there was obvious dismay from the audience that consisted of entertainment press, bloggers and selected fans club members.

This kind of reaction, though, proves how well invested the audience are in the OTWOL story. “They connect to the characters that’s why they react, but we try not to be fazed,” said creative manager Reggie Amigo. The writers consider reading comments and suggestions online as a happy interaction, and like brainstorming with a thousand participants.

One such aspect of the OTWOL story that had fans rumbling is the inclusion of Paulo Avelino’s character Simon.

“We needed to introduce Simon to show that Clark has his own insecurities, he is not the perfect leading man that we think he is. That’s life, nobody is perfect in real life,” says Antoinette. In fact, the Simon character has long been intended as it was revealed that Paulo also shot scenes with them when they were at San Francisco. The inclusion of Simon’s character further illustrates, too, that OTWOL storyline is closer to scenarios in real life than to a fairytale. The OTWOL writers know that not everyone will agree to their storyline, but they  welcome feedback.

Even Antoinette, during a separate interview after the presscon, admitted to asking feedback and pieces of advice from boyfriend and fellow director Dan Villegas, mostly from a male’s point of view. “Gagawin ba ’to ng lalaki? Ganito bang magselos ang lalaki? Kapag siya daw, susuntukin niya (Will a man do this? Is this how a man gets jealous? He says if it’s him, he will retort with a punch),” she said. Indeed, even James and Nadine themselves chip in on ideas, clearly because they now fully understand the psyche of Clark and Leah.

After seven months of portraying Clark and Leah, co-director Jojo Saguin said that James and Nadine have matured perfectly into their roles. For her, JaDine has concern for the TV program and not just a job that has to be done.

In fact, there would be discussions wherein James would voice out what he feels Clark will and won’t do given the situation. “Mas kilala na nila yung characters (They know their characters better),” said the lady director. The directors noted that JaDine comes to the set not as James and Nadine but as Clark and Leah instead.

Additionally, Antoinette revealed that James and Nadine have become more confident in their acting skills. She even admitted to being surprised with James’ ability to deliver. “I thought na pogi lang siya, coming from PBB, wala akong i-ne-expect sa kanya na depth (I only considered him as good-looking and did not expect depth from him)” she said. But when they shot OTWOL, she added, “Actor siya, he can really act.”

When it came to Nadine’s acting, Antoinette described the actress as more suited to freestyle acting. For Nadine when she’s doing dramatic scenes, she needs motivation to get into the character. Whereas for the role of a girl in love, she nails it even without rehearsal.

Different as James and Nadine may be, with James more straightforward in his acting and Nadine is freestyle, somehow they make their tandem work, both in the professional and personal aspects. And this kind of chemistry is what makes fans wonder, is it just for reel, or have things gone real?

 “We’re really close.” That was how both James and Nadine described their relationship.

“We’ve been through a lot together,” said James, alluding to the years of working together for projects like Diary ng Panget, Talk Back and You’re Dead, Wansapanataym: My App Boyfie and Beauty and the Bestie. “I think with Nadine, she’s the only one who understands me, she understands me more than anyone,” he said.

For Nadine’s part, she said  James has always been there to cheer her up, especially last year which she describes was a rough one for her personally.

“We only had one fight, if you call it that way. (It was) at the premiere of Wang Fam, but after that, we were closer than ever,” James recalled.

In fact, last Valentine’s Day, they were spotted together. “Meron kaming dinner plans  but it was cancelled because the restaurant was full,” remembered James. The two of them went instead to Rockwell to buy computer games.

Even with the viral photo from the said date that looks as though James wasn’t helping Nadine with her bags, Nadine herself was quick to defend her partner.

Nadine said it’s not a big deal because “No. 1, it’s not really heavy. No. 2, kaya ko naman po.” In times when she doesn’t have a personal assistant, she carries her own stuff and even drives on her own.

“She wanted to hold the bags, so. I’m not gonna fight her with the bags,” James said, showing his respect for Nadine’s personal decisions. “She’s very independent, she knows her own thing, I’m just there to make her smile when she needs it,” James said of Nadine.

For her part, Nadine said that James knows his stuff and can take care of himself. Only when she notices something amiss will she raise concern.

Even on the set of OTWOL, the care that JaDine have for each other is evident. Antoinette recalled one sweet gesture of James towards Nadine. When several talents were smoking on the set, James said, “Direk, can we ask the talents not to smoke kasi si Nadine may sakit sya, hindi sya pwedeng makalanghap ng yosi smoke.” It may not be a big gesture, but James’ initiative to personally ask the director clearly shows his care for his partner’s well-being.

Asked on where does the kilig of JaDine comes from, Antoinette reckoned that “to be able to do that, yung certain magic ng kilig, parang there must be some kind of attraction personally.” And that kilig will continue on from OTWOL, to the concert series the two will be having.

 “The whole concert is the highlight because it’s the first major concert that we are doing,” Nadine said of the JaDine In Love concert happening on Feb. 20 at the Araneta Coliseum.

But more than James and Nadine, it’s the loyal fans who are eager to see the two in concert. Within seven hours after the concert announcement, there was already a total of P9M in ticket revenues. It was announced during the presscon that tickets for general admission is sold out, and that SRO (Standing Room Only) tickets are now available. It was also mentioned that the concert will be available on pay-per-view. JaDine fans in Doha, Dubai, London and Milan will also get a chance to witness the same Araneta show when the JaDine In Love world tour kicks off. Moreover, there will be a meet-and-greet with JaDine on said cities.

Fans can expect an array of exciting performances from the duo, some of which are personally selected by JaDine. Special numbers from guests like Vice Ganda and Yassi Pressman are sure to add more flavor to the show.

Asked whether Paulo will be a guest star, James only said, “It’s JaDine In Love concert, not On The Wings of Love concert,” which elicited shrieks from the audience. On the topic of OTWOL, James said that on the Araneta concert, they will be revealing a surprise for the finale of the series.

So what should fans of OTWOL expect for the finale? Antoinette said it will have an ending that it deserves and that it will end with the right reasons. OTWOL’s finale will not be based on what the audience wants but what seems right, whether it’s a happy one or not.

More importantly, Antoinette said that she wants the audience to know that love needs effort. She believes that for the person you love, you have to extend your effort, and not just wait for a wishing star or destiny to take over.

And although everyone from Nadine to the creative team hope for a happy ending, James is fine with tragic endings. For him, “a tragic ending makes you want to watch the beginning again because it makes you appreciate the love story at the beginning. So it’s forever at that loop. Whereas in a happy ending, end.”

It may or may not be a tragic ending for Clark and Leah, but for James and Nadine, the future still looks bright. The loveteam recently renewed their contract with ABS-CBN. After their world tour, they will also be shooting for a new series in June or late June of this year.

For Antoinette, OTWOL may be ending but she’s thankful for the opportunity to work on the series, as well as for the opportunities that have opened because of OTWOL. Moreover, she’s grateful that OTWOL took a risk with a small director such as herself. “It just proves that everybody can make it if there are people who are willing to take a risk on you, like how Dreamscape took a risk on me and how Angelica Panganiban took a risk on That Thing Called Tadhana,” she said.

(For ticket inquiries, call Ticketnet at 911-5555.)

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