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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

KathNiel’s ‘2 Good 2 Be True’ makes history with Netflix collaboration

Vanessa Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Ten years of being a love team and four years since their last primetime starrer, what novelty can the premiere tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla offer to viewers and their throngs of fans?

If you ask their director, it’s their evolution into thinking actors.

“The new thing here is their maturity which shows in how they attack scenes. In fact when I saw them again during our look test, which was the first time in a long while that I’ve seen them, I really felt the maturity and change,” said director Mae Cruz Alviar during the grand press conference of ABS-CBN’s “2 Good 2 Be True.”

“The last time we worked together, sunod-sunod yung big films nila, big achievements. So I wanted to know, right now, where are they? When we were doing the scenes, I really felt that what they were giving came from maturity and experience. It’s the depth that they’re giving that’s new. And when we say maturity, we don’t always equate it to [showing] skin. It’s depth and wisdom. You can see that even behind the scenes when we discuss and collaborate.”

In this series marking their 10th anniversary as a screen tandem, Daniel and Kathryn play Eloy Borja and Alison Fajardo, two people who had to live through the tragedies of their pasts and were scarred by love.

Eloy is an intelligent young mechanic and a law student who made a vow to himself to free his father from jail and the grief of his mother’s death. Ali is a bubbly and hardworking nurse whose dream is to be a doctor someday.

Their worlds will collide after Eloy executes a heist at a hotel and accidentally bumps into Ali. The two will meet again after Ali accepts to be a private nurse of Hugo Agcaoili, portrayed by Ronaldo Valdez, who got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the same time, Eloy will apply as a mechanic to the wealthy and cunning real estate magnate.

The project is “groundbreaking” for the network as it is the country’s first teleserye to be streaming on Netflix Philippines following a partnership deal between ABS-CBN and Netflix that will enable the platform’s subscribers in the country to watch the series starting Friday, May 13, or 72 hours ahead of its television broadcast.

iWantTFC users also get a premium as they can catch “2 Good 2 Be True” on their apps and iwanttfc.com 48 hours before its premiere this May 16 on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and TV5.

“To create projects and to be given the opportunity to show it not just in the Philippines, but also thru TFC, iWant, and on Netflix is such an honor and privilege for us because not everyone is given such,” Kathryn began.

“Once you’re given this opportunity, you want to do good and inspire more. Hopefully after this project it will open more doors not just for us, but also for the company – na kaya natin basta bigyan ng time, bigyan ng tamang mga tao, kaya natin gumawa ng ganitong quality project. Nakaka-proud na slowly nakakapasok tayo. Netflix is such a huge opportunity for us and ABS-CBN.”

For Daniel, the show’s exposure to audiences outside the country allows young Filipinos abroad to get in touch with their forgotten Pinoy sensibilities.

“Maganda rin na napapanood nga mga kababayan natin lalo na yung mga nasa ibang bansa na kabataan yung mga Filiipino shows dahil punong-puno ng kultura at values na hindi na natin nakikita. Marami din akong kilala na nasa ibang bansa na nakakalimutan na yung root ng pagiging Pilipino,” said Daniel.

The collaboration with Netflix was something that cropped up during the middle of production which had already been going on for almost a year now.

“Of course, excited. Next, pressured. Next, grateful. So it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions,” Direk Mae shared. “But I think it’s more of gratitude to be given this opportunity to show what we’ve done to more people, to open doors for the company and content creators from the Philippines. This is like a new beginning.”

Her “2 Good 2 Be True” co-director, Paco Sta. Maria, is no stranger to the lead stars. As assistant director of their 2012 series “Princess & I”, he said he felt “overwhelmed” at witnessing their immense growth. “Natutuwa ako na naabutan and na-experience ko silang ganyan.,” he quipped.

It was the same sentiment for Kathryn and Daniel’s veteran co-stars who’ve worked with them when they were much younger.

Gloria Diaz, who in the series plays the younger sister of a self-made conglomerate head, commented: “I’ve worked with them a long time ago and they’ve both grown so much. I could hardly recognize Kathryn. They’re adults now and magka-love team pa rin. Nakaka-inggit.”

Notably, after 175 movies and at least 40 teleseryes under her belt, the Miss Universe titlist pointed out that this is her very first kontrabida turn. “I kind of like it. It’s difficult because the way I stand, my eyes, the way I say words…Direk Mae says iba ka na ngayon. Malapit na malapit na – mama-master ko yan.”

Gelli de Belen recalls a shy Kathryn during a previous project with her, she observes how the 26-year-old has come out of her shell.

In response to that newfound confidence that peers and followers have taken note of, Kathryn shared, “It took a while to gain that. All my doubts and insecurities, it’s DJ [Daniel’s nickname] who blocks all of it. Over the years yun din yung magandang regalo mo sa sarili mo – to accept yourself fully. Mas okay pala kapag ganito. I’m very happy that I was able to accept myself: my skin color, all my insecurities. And I feel better. There are of course still days where you have a lot of questions but the people around me constantly remind me of my worth.”

Another co-star, Irma Adlawan, had plenty of scenes with Daniel during their “Got 2 Believe” days, and it’s the 27-year-old actor that she often swaps lines again here in ““2 Good 2 Be True”.

“My scenes with Daniel come very naturally and I love that. It doesn’t sound like we memorized it. It doesn’t sound like it came from somebody else’s mouth, but ours. We didn’t have any workshop but somehow we just jived. It’s as if we’ve known each other for a long time. For an actor, having scenes that are very natural is something to look forward to every time,” said Irma.

Profusely thanking for their co-stars during the press event, Daniel made special mention of Ronaldo Valdez and Gloria Diaz for agreeing to their pivotal parts.

“I was most excited to work with for the first time with Tito Ron and Tita Glo…we were very thankful when we were told that they accepted their roles,” said Daniel. “Hindi madali magpapayag ngayon ng mga actor kaya ang laki ng pasasalamat namin na napagbigyan nila kami. Sa Zoom pa lang nakakahiya at nakakanerbiyos makatrabaho yung mga iniidolo natin kaya ang sarap mabigyan ng ganitong experience.”

But for their ardent fans, why did it take another four years? “Out of all the projects presented, maganda naman yung genres but feeling lang namin hindi yun yung kailangan namin gawin at this time. Ayaw naman naming gumawa ng proyekto na hilaw, na pipilitin lang for the sake na may eere ka,” explained Kathryn.

Daniel added that they eventually found a winner in “2 Good 2 Be True” because the tone of the show was what they preferred in this particular time. He further said, “Kasi galing na kami sa fantaserye at action with ‘La Luna’, naghahanap kami ng…ano ba ang gustong mapanood ng tao sa amin? Saan ba kami minamahal ng tao?”

At the end of the day, Kathryn said they are just overflowing with gratitude to their network’s continued trust, as well as their followers’ enduring support.

“So many happened the past years but then here we are still creating and trying to bring smiles to people’s faces. We are just thankful to the company with everything it went through they are still betting on us. We know it’s not a joke to produce now given the situation, it’s double the expenses with all the tests and rules to follow the safety protocols. But here we are, they made it possible,” said Kathryn.

“I also want to thank the fans for standing by our side because even if a lot has happened, they are still there, they patiently waited. They not only stood with us, they also stood with the company when it needed them the most. Hopefully with this show, we are able to show how thankful we are. This is like our tenth anniversary gift to them.”

As for key to KathNiel’s strength and longevity, Kathryn said there is no exact formula, but that respect and team work since day one has worked wonders for them.

“Team work is important as you shouldn’t view each other as competition. Dapat nagtutulungan kayo paakyat. Through thick and thin we are there for each other, and we help each other to be better.”

“2 Good 2 Be True” also stars Romnick Sarmenta, Cris Villanueva, Smokey Manaloto, Matt Evans, Jenny Miller, Yves Flores, Gillian Vicencio, Bianca de Vera, Pamu Pamorada, Hyubs Azarcon, and Via Antonio.

DANIEL PADILLA

KATHRYN BERNARDO

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