Donny Pangilinan on Belle Mariano:  She’s my favorite co-actor ever

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star

Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano are back on screen as Deib Lohr Enrile and Maxpein del Valle, respectively, in the story based on the popular Wattpad series titled He’s Into Her.

In the new season, the audience can expect to see Donny’s Deib and Belle’s Max dealing with a more intricate story of love between them. The teaser shows how their characters go through the joys and pains of love.

Donny said during the recent virtual media conference that the show’s second season won’t focus on the central characters’ romance alone but also on events that occurred in the past.

“You can see in the trailer na mas mature Deib and Max na plus ang buong cast dito. They’re going through struggles and the good sides as well. But hindi lang ‘yung aspect na ‘yun ang makikita nila. It also touches on the fact na pwede ako (as Deib) ma-expel because of all the past stuff that I’ve done with all the bullying. So, you’re also going to see that side of Deib and how he will handle that and all the problems he will face,” said Donny, who agreed that He’s Into Her Season 2 presents a deeper narrative compared to the first season.

Equally set to show maturity is Belle who has a heart-tugging dialogue in one scene with Donny that goes, “Sa tuwing kinakausap kita, parang feeling mo nagsisinungaling ako lagi.” 

Belle mused, “Grabe ‘yung scene na ‘yun, so abangan n’yo ‘yan pero marami pang mangyayari. Of course, she will also be faced with challenges na hindi n’ya ini-expect and how will she handle that despite of all the circumstances at sa lahat ng paghihirap, how will she able to overcome that and how will she be able to accept flaws sa mga taong mahal n’ya.”

He’s Into Her writer Vanessa Valdez, on the other hand, said the new season is meant to present a mature story.

“Kung sa una kasi that was more like a fantasy. At this point, this is now the real love story. So, this is where we get to test our characters so ‘yung mga scenes that we created ay mga desisyon na kung ano ang kaya nilang talikuran, ano ‘yung kaya nilang patawarin di lang sa mga taong mahal nila kundi pati sa mga sarili nila,” Vanessa explained.

Director Chad Vidanes revealed they had a harder time shooting Season 2 not because of COVID-19 protocols but because of the complexity of emotions “and a lot more stories to follow and a lot more scenes outside the school.”

Donny agreed it’s more complex this time “because as Deib hindi s’ya ‘yung Season 1 as a bully who gets what he wants and no one’s gonna do anything. Now, you’ll see a complete shift, story-wise and character-wise, like how I have to go through life with the problems with my brother, with the problems with my relationship, with my school. So carrying all of that, all of a sudden, it’s not a joke and I really have to put myself in his shoes.”

He continued, “Maraming scenes dito na sobra akong emotionally na-drain after kasi di ko na alam ano na gagawin ko because sobra ako nalagay sa shoes n’ya and I really felt how to be in that (state of) uncertainty. So, mas elevated — times 10 — itong Season 2 in terms of emotions.”

Same with Belle as her character in the second season required additional effort to let the audience feel her pain.

“It was harder this time because you can see in here the depth of our characters, mas makikita mo ‘yung pinanggalingan nila and what more ‘yung panggagalingan nila… I truly found it hard to deliver those scenes,” she shared.

What Belle was thankful for was the unwavering support of Donny while they were shooting the series in a lock-in set. “To me, act of service na ‘yung he was just being there during the scenes na let’s say hindi s’ya kasama.”

Donny, on the other hand, expressed admiration for Belle’s ability to show a different approach to her character “and a lot of times I saw that in her as an actress and as a performer.”

Asked if they would agree to have different screen partners in future projects, Donny responded, “Sobrang naging genuine kami ni Belle and that’s what I love most about her is that she’s so genuine and I, as well, can open up to her. It’s very rare for me to put down all my walls and with her, that’s possible because I trust her so much.

“So, in terms of the love team, I don’t see another partner but her because she’s my favorite co-actor ever. I mean, in terms of everything we’ve done together, she inspires me so much and I feel like if there’s anything that happens, we communicate with each other and we support each other. She’s always gonna be my loveteam to me and kung may projects na iba, na may material na iba ang love interest s’yempre pag-uusapan muna namin ‘yun. Communication is key and at the end of the day, we support each other — all with our growth and with everything.”

Belle agreed to what Donny said and added, “It’s really all about communication and when it comes to materials naman or in any projects he’s a part of, we’re very supportive of each other. I don’t wanna be a hindrance to his growth so, yeah, we talk about it muna.”

(He’s Into Her Season 2 also stars Jeremiah Lisbo, Kaori Oinuma, Vivoree Esclito, Joao Constancia, Criza Taa, Rajo Serrano, JC Alcantara, Ashley del Mundo, Dalia Varde, Reich Alim, Shanaia Gomez, River Joseph, Limer Velasco, CJ Salonga and Zach Castaneda. The series will make its broadcast premiere on April 24 on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live and A2Z, with new episodes dropping every Sunday.)


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