Kapamilya stars Gerald Anderson and Angelica Panganiban, and director Ruel Bayani pose for photos during a story conference held Friday for their new film under Star Cinema. Photo: ABS-CBN News
MANILA -- Prized ABS-CBN talents Angelica Panganiban and Gerald Anderson will co-star for the first time in a drama film that promises an "adult and restrained" take on romance on the big screen.
The untitled project, helmed by director Ruel Bayani ("No Other Woman," "One More Try"), was announced Friday by producer Star Cinema in a story conference attended by both lead stars.
No other cast members have been announced for the film, which is slated for release within the year. The first day of filming, according to Bayani, will start on Monday.
"It's a departure from my past two successful movies," the director told ABS-CBNnews.com, when asked to explain what he referred to as a "quiet" treatment to this upcoming film.
Bayani's last two directorial outings on the big screen were "No Other Woman" in 2011 and "One More Try" in 2012, both acclaimed films he described as "high-strung" and having "big, explosive melodrama."
"Mas quiet ito kaysa doon sa dalawang una kong pelikula," he said. "It's something na 'di expected of me, that's why mas challenging for the three of us (Anderson, Panganiban), mas challenging for me. Kasi 'yung pag-ho-hold back or pag-re-restrain, hindi siya madali."
"At the same time, [we want to keep] it cinematic, engaging, emotional, compelling. Napakahirap na itimpla no'n... [To me, this is a challenge to make a film that is] sexy, mature, quiet, and restrained. Iba 'yung gano'n, eh. Pag hinuhuli mo 'yung porma, hindi mo agad mapi-pinpoint, at 'yun ang challenge para sa'kin doon," he said.
While Bayani refused to discuss the story, as well as the characters portrayed by Panganiban and Anderson, he offered that the movie will feature "a story of great love."
"It's not the easy kind of love. You'd say it's a mature kind of love, a different kind of love that will obviously appeal to a more mature audience," he said.
Asked if the film will show intimate scenes, Bayani said, "Yes, because when you talk about passion, when you talk about mature love, hindi naman maiiwasan 'yon."
"Of course anything mature, nando'n yan sa territory na may sex scenes," he added. "Kasi you're not young and confused anymore. Iba pag 'yung mature ka na. It's adult, I can say that. It's an adult kind of love story, adult kind of drama."
Panganiban and Anderson answered similarly when asked how they feel about doing intimate scenes for the movie, considering their respective high-profile relationships -- her with actor John Lloyd Cruz, and him with actress Maja Salvador.
"I'm just doing my job... And I have the convenience na the person I'm in a relationship with is also an actor, so nagkakaintindihan po kami," Anderson said.
"Once in character ka, ibang usapan na 'yon," Panganiban added.
While they have no qualms about being intimate on-screen, both stars admitted being only acquainted through their respective real-life partners, who were previously film co-stars.
Anderson said he is looking forward to learning from the 27-year-old Panganiban, whose career as an actress spans over two decades. "First time ko rin makakasama si Angelica, at tama si Direk (Bayani), si Angelica, wala siyang hindi kayang gawin. I would love to learn from her."
"I'm sure magiging madali rin kasama si Gerald," Panganiban said. "Kumbaga kino-consider ko na kami talaga mga paborito ni Direk Ruel. 'Diba, kung gusto niya si Gerald, at gusto niya ako, I'm sure meron kaming something in common."
Explaining he personally picked Anderson and Panganiban to star in the film, Bayani expressed confidence that both actors will do justice to their new roles.
He previously worked with Anderson in "Paano Na Kaya" in 2010, and "Budoy" in 2011; and more recently with Panganiban in "One More Try," which won Best Picture in the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival.
"You see, this is not a rom-com. This is a drama movie. At kailangan sa drama ang mga artistang marunong mag-inhabit ng role, or pumasok sa mga masisilimuot na karakter na hindi natin madalas napapanood sa pelikula. And Angelica and Gerald are two actors na pinagkakatiwalaan at tinatayaan ng kumpanya pagdating sa gano'ng klaseng hamon," he said.