Switching genres: How Piolo keeps acting fresh

By Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 21 2014 06:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2014 02:46 AM

Actor Piolo Pascual. ABS-CBN

MANILA -- At 37 and with a career spanning two decades, Piolo Pascual considers it a "responsibility" to offer variety in his output as an actor.

The prized ABS-CBN talent spoke with ABS-CBNnews.com on the sidelines of a recent shoot for his upcoming film co-starring Toni Gonzaga, "Starting Over Again," which he referred to as something fresh after his role in the acclaimed action flick "On the Job" in 2013.

Directed by Olivia Lamasan ("Milan," "The Mistress") and written by Carmi Raymundo ("It Takes a Man and a Woman," "Bride for Rent"), the new Star Cinema production centers on Pascual as college professor Marco, whose girlfriend, Ginny (Gonzaga), left him without saying goodbye or giving an explanation.

The story of the film, according to Pascual, will revolve around the two characters crossing paths again at a time when he is already happily with a new partner, Patty (Iza Calzado). Forced to work with Marco, who has also successfully pursued his passion to become a chef, Ginny starts to regret ever leaving him, to the point of being motivated to win him back.

"Starting Over Again," Pascual noted, is decidedly more dramatic compared to his last romantic films, including "Every Breath U Take" and "24/7 In Love" in 2012.

A follow-up to "On the Job," the upcoming movie also precedes another genre switch for the actor, as he is set to co-star with Rhian Ramos in the psycho-thriller "Silong."

"It's something different. I try do different things, different genres. Para at least you can offer your audience something different every time," he said.

Pascual, in his interview with ABS-CBNnews.com, also expressed excitement about finally working with Gonzaga in a film, 10 years after she first shared the screen with the actor in a popular TV ad for a soda brand. Pascual also shared what else to expect from "Starting Over Again," when it hits theaters nationwide on February 12.

Q: From action ("On the Job"), you're doing romance again. Which genre would you say you prefer?

A: I like both. I enjoyed "OTJ" so much because it's something out of the box, it's a crime drama, and we don't do that as much anymore. And with "Starting Over Again," it's a Star Cinema type of film.

Q: A "Star Cinema type of film"? How would you define that?

A: Well, you have the romantic-comedy. This ("Starting Over Again") actually falls in the category of romantic drama. It's less comedy, it's more drama. And that's also Star Cinema's forte.

Q: And you'll be working again with Direk Olive...

A: Working with Inang (Lamasan, Pascual's director in "Milan" in 2004) is a privilege. And it's my first time to work with Toni in a movie.

Q: Since Sprite?

A: Yes, since Sprite! We do "ASAP" together, we do TV shows together, but for a movie, finally we got to do something. It's directed by Olive Lamasan pa, so it's an experience. It's definitely worth the two hours. We shot for more than six months. Talagang sobrang, sobrang pinaganda 'yung pelikula. It's one of the best scripts, one of the best stories I've ever read.

Q: You've been friends with Toni for a long time. How has it been working with her?

A: I never thought she's grown that much. Whenever I would see her, it feels like she's just moved here, she's just starting out. But now, she's at a marrying age, she's very mature, and she's become her own person.

She's a very brilliant person, not just as an actress but as a host, as a singer. She's multi-talented, so it's definitely a privilege to be working with her in this film. I'm in awe of her talent, because she's very sensitive as well. Hindi siya mahirap paartihin, hindi siya mahirap makaintindi. She knows her craft very well.

Q: And Iza is also joining you in this film...

A: Iza, I worked with in "Milan" 10 years ago. She has evolved into a fine lady. She's a great actress, very giving, very sensitive. It's so fun to work with Iza because napakaganda, one of the most beautiful faces in showbiz, I must say.

Q: What can you tell us about your character?

A: I play Marco. I play a professor. When I get together with Toni's character, Ginny, she inspired me to stay out of my comfort zone and into what I wanted to do most, which is cooking. And then she left me, all of a sudden.

And then when she decides to come back, I'm already with someone. So that's when the conflict comes in. Which do you choose? Do you start over again, or do you undo the past? How do you say sorry, or how do you move on? All of these questions will be answered.

Q: Would you say romance-drama is your forte as an actor?

A: Well that's we do for a living, so we try be better at what we do every time we're given an opportunity, be it a TV show or a movie. And you try to give something different that you've not given before. As an actor, that's your responsibility. So I don't want to say it's my forte, it's just it's what's given.

Q: You recently celebrated your birthday on "ASAP." How did it feel to have your nieces and nephews serenade you on stage?

A: I had to stop myself [from crying], because I know that's what they wanted! (Laughs) But I just really enjoyed the moment. To see them there is something I would never forget, kasi hindi naman mga artista 'yung mga batang 'yon. I was really thrilled to see them on "ASAP."

Q: How else did you celebrate?

A: We just went to church. After church, we went home. I guess I was tired because I had an early call the next day. We're still doing "Starting Over Again," and we're almost done with it. I'm trying to get as much rest as I can! (Laughs)