Alden & Maine: Stronger,happier together

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Stronger and happier together.

That’s how Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza describe their working and personal relationship, one year after the whole nation saw the sensational rise of their love team AlDub on the longest-running noontime show Eat, Bulaga.

Now Alden, 24 and Maine, 21 are ready to celebrate the first anniversary of AlDub via their first-ever solo starrer titled Imagine You & Me. Directed by Mike Tuviera and backdropped by romantic Italy, the film premieres on July 13 ­— or three days before the actual anniversary date, July 16.

Producers APT Entertainment, GMA Films and M-Zet Productions have spared no expense to ensure that Imagine You & Me is worth the long wait. “This is to honor not just the phenomenon that is AlDub, but to honor the fans as well,” direk Mike said.

The STAR recently had an exclusive chat with Maine and Alden wherein both looked back on how much their lives have changed in the past year.

Let’s talk about Imagine You & Me. How will you describe your characters in the film and how can you identify with them?

Maine: My character is Gara. I have many similarities with her since Gara is very optimistic and masayahin lang. Makulit din parang ako and a hopeless romantic.

Alden: My character is Andrew. He’s very sensitive, malalim masaktan and he seeks closure on things. Most probably those are my personalities as well.

What were the challenges you faced while filming in Italy?

Maine: The most challenging during the shoot in Italy was the week we arrived because the weather wasn’t cooperating. So, we had to do a lot of adjustments. First week, it was always raining. There were days when we had to pack up and the people were strict with the working hours. Strictly 12 hours dapat so kapag trabaho, we really had to shoot.

Alden: We have to abide by the rules because we were foreigners working in another country. So pag hindi namin sinunod yun, there will be consequences. We really stuck to the rules and regulations of the foreign production team because they were very strict and very mahal (expensive).

Maine, is it true you got sick in Italy?

Maine: I had menstrual cramps. That’s my usual struggle even here in the Philippines. I’d be absent even in Bulaga for a day because di ko talaga kayang mag-work. But when we were in Italy, first half of the day, we were able to shoot.

Alden: Ang kailangan kasi ni Maine when she’s under that condition is she just needs to sleep.

Maine: (How did Alden help me?) Di niya ako iniiwan. Nasa tabi ko lang siya, dinadasalan niya ako (laughs).

Alden: Totoo naman. Pray over, actually.

Maine: It worked!

What’s your favorite memory from your time in Italy?

Alden: Every single thing! But favorite would have to be the Verona days and when we shot at the villas.

Maine: This was the House of Juliet. We shot there for a day. (Audiences) will know why it is memorable when they see the film.

Alden: (Jokes) Actually, nabuhay si Juliet!

Maine: Nagkatawang tao si Juliet (laughs).

What new things have you learned about each other while doing the film?

Alden: With Maine, she will not stop until she gets what she wants. Well, the same goes for me. Because when you’re acting, you have a vision of a scene, like I wanted it to end like this... Si Maine, hanggang hindi niya nakukuha, she will not stop doing it over and over again.

Maine: But if kelangan ko siya makuha talaga, baka hanggang ngayon nasa Italy pa tayo (laughter).

Alden: But personally, she’s a person you can trust. Every day.



Maine: As for Alden, he’s really a good actor. Mas napatunayan ko lang na ang galing galing mo (turning to Alden). For the personal side, there were many little things I learned about Alden that I won’t share, that I’ll just keep to myself. Kahit isa? Maganda talaga ang katawan niya. Actually, it’s a running joke between us because that’s the answer he always gives whenever he’s asked what else does he want me to discover about him. So ayan! Maganda talaga katawan niya.

Maine, you did the theme song for Imagine You & Me, what’s the story behind its making?

Maine: I just got it from Google (laughs). Seriously, I made it after reading the script for the first time. I remember I was in the car on the way to the barangay for Eat, Bulaga…

Alden: Sabihin mo ilang minutes?

Maine: Hindi naman tinatanong…

Alden: Sabihin mo na…how many minutes?

Maine: Well, maybe around 15 minutes. After I read the script, everything was fresh in my mind. I got my phone, then started to type because my thoughts and feelings were flowing on their own. I think that’s how it is when (everything’s) fresh and you’re inspired. I can also relate to Gara. Somehow, nakita ko din talaga ang story ni Gara and Andrew sa aming dalawa (ni Alden).

It was offered to me (to write the song). But of course, I was asked if I were willing to do it. It’s such a great opportunity to be able to make a song (for our first film). Nagsusulat po ako yes, poems, and nagba-blog po talaga ako (since) before. I’m more comfortable with writing. It has always been my medium in expressing myself.

So, how does it feel that AlDub is soon celebrating its first anniversary?

Alden: We’re happy. We’re very excited! All those months of not knowing what will happen the next day — that’s the thrill of it. That’s what we look forward to in the past months that we were doing this. So, nagulat nalang kami na isang taon na.

Maine: Ang bilis nga po! Sobrang bilis po talaga parang kelan lang nakita ko siya (sa Eat, Bulaga).

How is your relationship with each other now?

Maine: Stronger!

Alden: Happier! More relaxed. The friendship is deeper. Deepest.

Maine: Stronger yung personal (relationship) than the love team.

Alden: The love team is secondary. What matters most to us is what we have off-cam.

Your fans are hoping — well, not just hoping but also praying you’ll end up together in the future. What do you say to that?

Maine: Ang masasabi ko lang dyan what’s meant to be will always find its way. Everything happens for a reason. Whatever happens to me and Alden, nakaplano na yun.

Alden: Those are real fans, those who support us and love us for what we are and what we are to each other… Regardless of what we do on screen, they love us and respect us.

You’re so young and so successful. How do you try to stay grounded?

Maine: Ako kasi, hindi ko iniisip yung mga nangyayari sa akin, yung mga dumadating na blessings sa amin ni Alden. I don’t really think about it that much. People may say this is an overused line, but it really has not sunk in yet. Maybe I need a whole day to process everything that has happened. I don’t look at myself differently. I’m just a normal girl, who happens to come out on TV, who tries to make people laugh.

Alden: (Our lives are really) changed. We’re very happy with everything that has been happening to us. What could be more rewarding than doing the thing that you love and you’re making people happy at the same time?

What can people learn from your story?

Maine: Chase your dreams. And always stay true to yourself and to the people around you. That’s how I started. I was just trying to be myself. Nakita ng tao na ganun ako. So yun lang talaga. Stay true to yourself, all the time, and to the people around you.

Alden: Prayers never fail. Never. I’ve been a living testament to that. My life has been in a lot of situations that people couldn’t imagine. I really started from the bottom of the bottom. I just held on to my faith kasi everything’s a test of what you believe in. At the end of the day, prayers are what saved me.

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