Darren Espanto (second from right) with (from left) Alwyn Uytingco, Juan Miguel Severo, Kit Thompson, Kathryn Bernardo, direk Cathy Garcia-Molina, Daniel Padilla and Ria Atayde during the presscon
Darren gets acting tips from KathNiel
Bot Glorioso (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Those eager to get a fair share of the entertainment spotlight must be envious of Darren Espanto these days. You see, Darren has clinched his first acting project with none other than Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, popularly known as KathNiel, in the Star Cinema latest offering The Hows of Us under director Cathy Garcia-Molina. It was not too long ago when the young crooner expressed his desire to try his hand in acting and, voila, Lady Luck granted his wish pronto.

According to Darren, he was in Honolulu when his handler sent him a text message saying that he was chosen to portray Yohan, the young brother of Kathryn’s George. That’s why, while he was vacationing in his hometown Canada, he was trying to control his excitement and nervousness until the day he received a request from the movie production team to fly straight from Canada to the set in Amsterdam. Direk Cathy wanted to meet up with him for some “acting tests” before the actual shooting.  

“While in Canada, I was asking myself what am I gonna do? I didn’t undergo any (acting) workshops and it’s my first time to act,” shared Darren after the media call for the movie that is set to open on Aug. 29 in theaters nationwide.

Direk Cathy admitted she was eager to meet Darren. The last time she saw him was in the singing tilt The Voice Kids. She, too, revealed the role was truly meant for him “but, still, I want to talk to him first because from there, I will know if he is fit for the role.”

For his part, Darren said he certainly understood where the director was coming from. “Before the start of shooting, we had a one-on-one talk. She said, ‘Huwag ka magtatampo sa akin kung masisigawan kita. Kailangang handa ang ego mo because acting is different from singing.’ With that, I perfectly understood her because it is she who can envision the outcome of the scenes and what’s best for the movie.”

From the first shooting day alone, Darren discovered the rigors of acting. He said that singing and acting are equally challenging. 

“In singing, aside from memorizing the song, you have to make sure of the tone and word placement. But since it’s my passion, I just enjoy doing it every time I perform. In acting, wow, my respect for them — actors and staff — are immeasurable. They really worked hard and sometimes they lacked sleep because some were working like all-around. The craft is very fascinating. How they can portray a character, like KathNiel, you see them laughing so hard but once (the director) shouts “Action!” tears easily well up their eyes. I’d like to learn more of it also.”

It’s no secret that Kathryn is Darren’s showbiz crush. His eyes lit up when he started sharing about his first meeting with Kathryn in Amsterdam.

“Actually, screen test pa lang kinausap na n’ya ako. She asked me what happened during my screen test. I was speechless because I was very happy. My happiness doubled when I got the role so I got to know them more. I admire her since her Goin’ Bulilit (days) then Super Inggo and now it’s a dream come true to be able to work with her talaga.”

Asked if Kathryn and Daniel gave him some acting tips, Darren said the two were very approachable during shootings. He described the latter as “very chill” while Kathryn never failed to remind him about his vocal tone.

“They always tell me to stay relaxed and don’t get too serious with the dialogues and it’s true because during my first shooting day, I really memorized all my lines only to find out before the actual shooting that there were revisions in the script. That’s why, they told me to just stay focused on the character. Ang dapat aralin ‘yung character and Ate Kathryn reminded me to deliver the lines in varying tones na pwedeng i-try na mas mababa o bagalan ang pagsalita.

“There were times when I got so tensed and frustrated because I couldn’t deliver; I wasn’t able to give the right emotion but I’m thankful because they’re all so supportive and very patient with me. They gave me time.” After three takes, Darren gave a convincing performance. “They said that the right emotion comes out when you are relaxed.”

Did direk Cathy ever shout at him?

“Hindi naman. Napagsabihan lang. She called me anak o bebe. Malambing pa din s’ya.”

On shooting breaks, KathNiel often tagged Darren along in roaming around Amsterdam. They had fun as proven by the photos Darren recently posted on social media.

After working with direk Cathy, Darren is more than willing to pursue an acting career if and when he is given more opportunities to prove his talent. In fact, he hopes to act alongside Sarah Geronimo in future projects. He, too, prefers drama over comedy.

“I can say that I am more confident in drama since I had a lot of crying scenes here (movie) and direk also said that I am okay with drama than in comedy because I am so serious and shy. So, I guess I should lessen my shyness.”

(The Hows of Us also stars Kit Thompson, Alwyn Uytingco, Juan Miguel Severo, Jean Garcia and Ria Atayde.)

DARREN ESPANTO KATHNIEL
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