MANILA -- As early as 2011, young actor Arvic James Tan already made his big screen debut as one of the friends of Sam Concepcion in director Jerry Lopez Sineneng’s “Way Back Home,” starring Kathryn Bernardo and Julia Montes.
Since then, Tan made his appearances playing supporting roles in many films that followed. He starred with Melai Cantiveros and Jason Francisco in Neal Tan’s “Larong Bata” (2012) and was seen in Meg Imperial’s launching film, Joel Lamangan’s “Menor de Edad” (2013).
He worked with Bela Padilla in Jason Paul Laxamana’s “100 Tula Para Kay Stella” (2017), Sarah Geronimo in Joyce Bernal’s “Miss Granny” (2018), Yassi Pressman in Digo Ricio’s “For the Broken Hearted” (2018) and Nadine Lustre in Paul Alexei Basinilio’s “Indak.”
Tan’s most recent film was RC De los Reyes’ “Love the Way U Lie,” that starred Xian Lim, Kylie Versoza and Alex Gonzaga, shown last year.
While he previously settled for supporting parts, the 27-year-old Tan gets his biggest role to date as leading man of Imperial in the light romance, “Sana All,” that wrapped up filming before the pandemic started.
Tan and Imperial are no strangers to each other. They previously worked together in Imperial’s launching film, “Menor de Edad.” It was there where their friendship started.
Hence, doing a lock-down shoot for “Sana All” early last year, turned out to be a breeze for both of them. It marks the first time they are working together as a love team.
“For two weeks that we were shooting, I discovered how professional Meg is with her craft,” Tan told ABS-CBN. News. “She takes her work seriously. She’s too detailed in everything she does. She’s very accurate.”
“Matagal na kaming magkakilala ni Meg,” Tan added. “Mas magaan working together now. Sobrang ganda ng energy sa set. Maganda rin ang setting.”
“Sana All” was originally slated to be shown on the big screen in March last year. That month, however, saw the start of the lockdown. So the film was stalled from being screened.
Viva Films opted to release “Sana All” to be streamed online. At the helm is Bona Fajardo, who previously directed “I Found My Heart in Santa Fe” (2017), “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” (2018), “Hanggang Kailan” (2019) and “My Bakit List” (2019).
The picturesque town of Adams in Ilocos Norte, serves as the backdrop for “Sana All.” That allowed the cast to explore Adams and learn about the people’s culture in the north.
The cast and crew enjoyed tapuey, the exotic and intoxicating rice wine in Adams that the family of Imperial’s character, Iyam, is known for. “We enjoyed drinking tapuey with friends and co-workers,” Tan said. “Parang lambanog.
Lola Ingga (Lita Loresca), a renowned tapuey maker, is about to hand down the business to Iyam. However, Lola Ingga is not convinced that Iyam has met the standard to take over the business. The grandma insists Iyam lacks the most important ingredient and that’s passion.
Tan plays Syd, a guy from Manila who, together with his friend, Joan (Andrew Muhlach), is on a quest for the sweetest tapuey. His search leads him to Adams, where he sees Iyam again, after crossing paths with her in La Union.
Working in “Sana All” brought Tan and Imperial closer together.
“Halos araw-araw kaming magkasama for two weeks,” Tan disclosed. “We became comfortable working with each other on and off camera.”
From the story conference of “Sana All” early last year, to the workshop and eventually the lock-in shoot, brought out the undeniable chemistry between Tan and Imperial. They filmed not only in Ilocos Norte, but also in La Union and Benguet.
“We even shot in Benguet,” Tan said. “Maganda ang lugar. We had our cabin in the woods. Overlooking ng mountain, tapos may river. Every morning, we would sip hot chocolate with malunggay powder.
“Ang food, sobrang sarap, because we always ate homegown and organic food. Sobrang lamig sa Benguet. Hindi kami pinapawisan. Nakaligo pa ako sa sapa. We really appreciate nature while we were there.”
Both Tan and Imperial are still thankful that “Sana All” will get to be shown a year after they wrapped up filming.
“This was scheduled to be shown a year ago.” Tan said. “But we believe this is still the perfect timing, because people will enjoy the film in the comfort of their own homes.
“Super grateful na kahit may pandemic, may work pa din kami. I focused on my business when I wasn’t doing anything in showbiz. This pandemic is a big challenge to all of us. It taught me a lot.”
In his future film projects, Tan wants to try working in action capers. From the esteemed roster of artists of Viva, he is also excited to work with any leading lady assigned to him.