MANILA -- This pandemic, showbiz sweethearts Kim Molina and Jerald Napoles took their relationship to the next level, as they started living together, to make everything easier for them after being sweethearts for seven years now.
“Nag-live in kami since the pandemic started,” Molina told ABS-CBN News. “Hindi naman kami live-in ever since, so marami pa kaming nadi-discover sa isa’t-isa kahit sa mga buhay-buhay namin, mga reaction namin kapag kwentuhan namin. Marami talaga.
“Si Jerald very consistent. Nag-promise siya sa akin na everyday gigisingin niya ako at naka-ready na ang coffee ko. So far, nangayari naman.”
Meanwhile, Napoles is likewise convinced they are better off living in one house. “Tinanggap na rin namin na kami ang partner ng isa’t-isa sa lahat ng bagay. Paano kayo magsa-succeed kung ang iisipin mo ang isang bagay na pwedeng ika-sira ng partnership niyo?
“Lahat nilalaban namin, lalo na ngayon na mas naging aware kami, personally, sa mga nangyayari sa relasyon namin. Even in our jobs at kung ano-ano pa. Ngayong pandemic, mas naging compartmentalized ang kailangan naming gawin sa buhay.”
Although they previously acted together onstage in “Rak of Aegis,” Molina and Napoles are starring together for the first time in director Darryl Yap’s “Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam.”
Molina plays Tasha, a young lady born with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CID), a condition that makes her incapable of feeling pain, be it physical or emotional. She also has no idea how love works.
Until she meets Ngongo (Napoles), a man with cleft palate. Ngongo becomes instrumental to make Tasha feel something again, especially the joys of love and pains of heartache. When they’re together, they experience an adventure they will never forget.
Unforgettable, indeed, was the daring high jump Molina did from the peak of the 200-meter high Danao Plunge in Bohol. She was not supposed to show any emotion, yet, she was able to execute the single-take stunt with much support from her director and co-workers, including Napoles.
“We made Kim jump from a free-falling site, the highest in Southeast Asia,” disclosed Yap. “Lahat ng staff tumalon to convince Kim to jump. Jerald was super-duper game. Para kaming nang-uuto ng bata. Ginawa naming lahat, associate producer, scriptwriter, location manager, assistant ni Kim. The foreigners were watching us.”
Yap said the film was tailor-made for Molina and he is very excited to show a different kind of actress who is willing to undergo such a rigorous characterization. “There were a lot of scenes where Kim asked herself if she would still push through with the project,” Yap said.
“'Kaibigan pa ba kita?' she probably asked me. But Kim is a wonderful actress who knows if she’s going to do better in her new movie than the last one. If it’s not Kim in this one, it will not work.
“It was a good team her boyfriend, Jerald, was also part of the movie, because the support system really made the movie work. The role was also tailor-made for Jerald, as well.”
After “Jowable” in 2019, Yap has done several other controversial films in between, before he wrapped up “Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam.” He refused to brag though that he has improved. “That will sound self-serving,” he maintained.
“Jowable was the first film I directed. Nangangapa pa ako at that time. Today, aside from the actors being very helpful, they are really the device in making this film. I guess the improvement is in the technicality. Mas gamay ko ng gumawa ng pelikula ngayon.
“Ang title ng pelikula ay ‘Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam.’ Pero ang audience, lahat ng klase na emosyon, mararamdaman nila. I’m very excited for everyone to see it and feel it.
“The character of Kim is very complex. I told Je, nagsusulat ako ng film para sa inyo ni Kim. Ngongo ang character mo. Kaya mo ba? He said, ‘Kaya ko, pero bakit ngongo?’ Are we really not feeling it or we just don’t understand what the feelings are? This is a film that will involve in understanding feelings and understanding the feeling.”
Molina made an effort to research on CID, which she found interesting. “Hindi ko inakala na may gano’ng klaseng tao,” she said. “At may condition na gano’n. Ako, as a person, bungisngis ako pero maramdamin ako.
“It’s very rare for people who have congenital insensitivity to pain na magtagal ang life span nila, kasi hindi nila talaga alam. The idea of how I would portray it in a movie, mahirap kasi hindi naman palaging poker face ako.”
How they immersed themselves into their respective roles was really a challenge for Molina and Napoles. “The first thing I asked when I got the script, ‘Bakit may cleft palate ang character ko?’” Napoles recalled. “Among many others na pwedeng ilagay. ‘Yung CIP, particularly interesting na. ‘Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramam,’ malinaw na.
“Pero ‘yung character ko, those with cleft palate, one of the most sensitive people in the world. Bata pa lang, nakasalang na sa pakiramdam. Sakit, batikos, tuwa o saya, halo halo. Ang ganda lang na pinagtapo ang duality ng characters namin.
“Magandang abangan ang dalawa sa pelikula. Saan ba pupunta ang kwento? Magka-iba ang mundo nila, magka-iba pa ang pagkatao nila. Nagawan ng paraan at naipakita naman sa buong pelikula.”
Working together for the first time in one film project admittedly added pressure to their relationship, as well as to their careers.
“Masyado kaming OC [obsessive compulsive] sa kung ano ‘yung kayang ibigay ng isa’t-isa,” Napoles said. “Kasi, kung dalawa na kaming magkasama sa project na ‘to, gawin na nating project na matatandaan ng tao, kasi dalawa na tayo.”
Napoles insisted they need to talk consistently to clear things out. “So alam namin kung ano ang trabaho o ano ang personal. So malinaw ang mga bagay.”
Molina, for her part, said there’s a slight pressure for her and Napoles when they are acting together in one film project. “Baka sabihin ng ibang tao, ‘Ano ba ‘tong dalawang mag-jowang ito? Ano ba’ng pinag-gagawa sa eksena?’ As much as possible, ayaw namin ng gano’n.
“Nakilala din naman kami sa theater, when we did ‘Rak of Aegis.’ Maganda naman ang ginawa namin doon. ‘Yun ang pressure kapag magkasama kami.”
But Molina reveals she does not feel any pressure right now. “May tiwala kami sa material at confident kami na tatangkilikin din ng netizens, since digital ang movie. Ang pressure ay hindi kung madaming manonood o hindi. May tiwala ako sa material ni Darryl Yap.
“Trailer pa lang namin, sobrang nakakataba ng puso and I’m very grateful to be working with Darryl, as a friend and a wonderful director. Ang pressure ko po ay ang first time na magkasama kami ng jowa ko sa screen ng matagal.
“Ano ba magiging itsura nito, kasi hindi pa namin napapanood ang pelikula. Si Direk Darryl, lagi niyang sinasabi, ‘Excited na akong mapanood niyo.’ So medyo kinakabahan ako sa idea na ‘yun.”
Both of them are thrilled they are given one project together. “Sabay kami nag-transition,” Napoles said. “Nakakakilig at nakakatuwa ang nangyayari sa amin individually. Nakaka-KathNiel. Bihira lang kasi ang mga couple na may project together, especially now.”
Molina is very grateful for all the breaks she has been getting lately from Viva. “Lahat ng mga bagay na hindi ko inakalang kakayanin ko, like hosting ‘Born To Be A Star' and be a judge in ‘The Masked Singer,’ nangyari,” she said. Nakakatuwa po. I think may pressure sa part ko na magawa ko naman ng tama.”
“All the time, gano’ng klaseng tao ako, kahit lumaking singer ako. Kapag tumuntong ka sa stage, kailangan confident ka. Hindi po ako gano’n. ‘Pag tumutuntong ako sa stage, kinakabahan pa rin ako all the time.
“To sum it all up, I’m very, very grateful to my management for all the opportunities. Isa po akong batang nangarap na natutuwa na lahat ng pangarap niya natutupad.”
“Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam” will be shown starting June 11 on KTX,ph, iWant-TFC, Sky Pay Per View and Vivamax.