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Just the two of them

Pepe Diokno (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Isipin mo John Lloyd Cruz tapos kaeksena mo na siya?” Jennlyn Mercado tells me about working with her latest leading man. We are seated in front of each other in a dressing room inside ABS-CBN. She had her hair pinned up — she was somewhere in the middle of getting made up for this Supreme shoot — and as she turned to the man who completed our huddle, a blush came over her face.

The man beside her, of course, was John Lloyd Cruz. He had his two hands up; his thumbs and index fingers in the form of a W.

Ano to? he asked, leaning closer to her.

“Whatever!” Jennylyn demurred, pushing him away.

He pivoted his hands so that they formed an E. “Letter E!” he said. “For echosera!” He covered her face with his hands, and they laughed. For a moment it seemed like Jennylyn and John Lloyd were alone in this room, and not, as it was, hard at work in the middle of promoting a major Star Cinema release.

The moment was short-lived, however. The sound of stylists and make-up artists and managers and handlers filled up the room once more, and a publicist hovered around, reminding us that there was indeed work to be done. We had two of the country’s biggest stars — the top draws of rival networks — coming together in a romantic comedy called Just the Three of Us. And that needed to be promoted.

I hit the button on my voice recorder and looked at my subjects. I had prepared the standard movie questions: What did they think of the story? Of their characters? Of direk? But there was a twinkle in Jennylyn’s eye and a frown over John Lloyd’s eyebrows that told me they wanted to discuss more things than work. So, that’s what we did. Here is our conversation.

SUPREME: Jennylyn, working with John Lloyd, what was your first day on set like?

JENNYLYN MERCADO (JM): Grabe, nerbyos. Nanghihina ‘yung tuhod ko. Nanginginig ‘yung kamay ko. Ang lamig ng buong katawan ko.

Did you know that, John Lloyd?

JOHN LLOYD CRUZ (JLC): Not really.

You hid it well.

JM: Arte lang. (Laughs.)

JLC: Niloloko lang kayo niyan!

Your character, Jennylyn, gets pregnant and goes after her baby daddy, John Lloyd’s character. She kind of forces him to live with her. Would you call her a strong female character?

JM: Oo. Kasi, she’s very persistent. Makulit. Kung ano ‘yung gusto niya, gagawan niya talaga ng paraan kasi gusto niya.

Is that persistence or just tanga sa pag-ibig?

JM: Kaya lang naman kasi siya nagpapakatanga or habol nang habol kasi, ginagawa niya ‘yun for the baby. Kasi gusto niyang magkaroon ng buong pamilya.

JLC: ‘Yung approach na ginawa ng character niya, I think it’s really fresh and creative and wala pa akong na-meet na ganu’n. That’s why I think na ‘yung character niya is powerful.

Just the Three of Us is opening in the middle of a really hot season. The weather is hot. Politics is hot. Yung movie nyo ba ay pamplamig?

JLC: Hindi ko alam kung kayakong pantayan ‘yun, kasi iba ‘yung, ang tingin ko na lang talaga sa politics natin, to me, is entertainment. It’s a movie with the biggest budget.

Jennylyn, what excites you about what’s happening with society?

JM: Excited ako na makita ‘kung ano ‘yung kakalabasan, ng elections. Ang daming, hindi mo alam kung sino ba ‘yung mananalo.

JLC: Sinong gusto mong manalo? (Laughs.)

JM: Akin na lang ‘yun! (Laughs.) Hindi ako voter pero, yung family ko, tutok sila diyan. Kagabi, nagp-play ako ng debate.

What scares you about what’s happening with society?

JM: Recently, may (na-behead na foreigner). ‘Yun. ‘Yung mga ganu’ng klaseng balita. Kung nangyari sa kanila, pwedeng mangyari sa atin, or, anywhere, ‘di ba?

JLC: Nakakatakot kapag ‘yung mga tao, wala nang pakialam. And kasi, parang pwede ka ring mapunta doon e. Maging indifferent ka na lang. Actually, para sa akin, ‘yun talaga ‘yung dark — kapag ‘di ka na apektado. Kahit nagkakagulo na sa lugar mo, pero wala, ganyan talaga dito sa atin, e. ‘Yun ‘yung nakakatakot for me.

What is your visual diet right now? Where do you get your creative fixes?

JLC: I’m very particular with what I ingest in my system. Basically visual arts.

How was Art Basel in Hong Kong?

JLC: Boring.

JM: Grabe ‘yung boring. (Laughs.)

JLC: Masyadong flashy ‘yung art ngayon, e. (But I watch) films, all the time, syempre. I also always try to make it a point to visit shows sa mga galleries kasi they give you a new perspective sa films. Recently, pinanood ko ulit ‘yung Good Will Hunting, Garden State. These films talagang babalik ka sa core mo e.

How about you, Jennylyn? What are your interests? What do you sped your money on?

JM: Mga cameras.

JLC: Ang dami niyang camera.

JM: ’Yung underwater.

JLC: Namimigay lang ‘yan ng camera parati.

JM: Kasi mahilig ako mag-dive e, so nagvi-video ako, nagp-photo. Underwater photography. Meron akong mga friends na talagang professional na nagtuturo. Kasi ibang-iba kapag underwater. Ibang-iba sa... Like ‘yung movement. Konting movement, current. So you have to think na, kailangan careful ka, ta’s konting move lang, nagde-defocus. So kailangan mo ng strobes, parang ganu’n. Para kang nags-studio sa ilalim ng tubig.

When was your last dive?

JM: Anilao lang. Mga three weeks ago. Pero marami nang magagandang dive sites du’n lang sa area na ‘yun.

I recently went to a place called Apo Reef, where you can swim with pawikans.

JLC: Hindi ba nangangagat ‘yun?

JM: Hindi, nags-snap lang, Yung character nila, hindi mo siya pwedeng i-pull. Kailangan mo siyang antayin, kung kailan siya bibitaw.

We learn something new everyday.

JM: (Laughs.)

Speaking of learning — and just to bring it back to the film — what have you learned over the course of working on Just The Three of Us?

JLC: Ako siguro as a guy, especially, syempre, sa storya naming ‘to, maraming makaka-relate. It can happen to any guy. Especially guys who like to practice their being men…

Who like to sleep around?

JLC: Yes, in other words. Pwedeng pwede siyang mangyari sa ‘yo. Pero yung machismo ng lalaki. It’s so convenient to be defensive. I think and I hope that this movie, especially du’n sa mangyayari sa character ko, will actually enlighten men instead of scare them. It asks, when something unknown to you happens, what would you do?

JM: Kay CJ, ‘yung character niya is habol nang habol. Kailangan ring matutunan ng mga babae kung paano i-handle ‘yung ganu’ng klase ng situations (like pregnancy). Kung ayaw ng lalaki, bakit mo kailangang pilitin? Pagmamahal sa sarili na hindi lahat, kailangan mong ibigay. Kailangan magtira ka rin para sa sarili mo.

JLC: Wooh, six feet. Lalim nu’n a. (Laughs.)

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Tweet the author @PepeDiokno.

 

 

 

 

 

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