MANILA – Bela Padilla has put to rest all speculations about her past ties with actor Zanjoe Marudo.
In an interview with G3 San Diego for her #LiveWithG3 YouTube series, Padilla admitted they went out in the past but they never got past the friendship stage.
“Z and I were never really a couple. We weren’t boyfriend-girlfriend. We did date a few times but that’s it. We didn’t really date 'date.' Hindi naging kami,” she said.
Padilla said she is just happy that they are able to keep the friendship and work again in her directorial debut, “366.”
“Zanjoe is a really good friend. Before we tried to date, we were friends first. Para siyang barkada. It’s nice to have friends that you can rely on in the industry. I am happy that we were able to bring that back, or to start the friendship again,” she said.
When asked if it was her decision to cast him as one of her leading men in their upcoming movie, she said: “He has a contract with Viva Films. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t my decision [to cast him]. I can only go so far with deciding for things.”
Nonetheless, she only had good words for him and her other leading man, JC Santos.
“[They] were both amazing in this film. I’ve both never seen them in this type of acting. They both gave scenes here that I’ve never seen them do before. I am super proud of them here,” she said.
As to directing someone she is close to, Padilla said she was really nervous when they shot Marudo’s first scene because they haven’t been in contact for a while.
“At first I was super nervous because we hadn’t really spoken in four years. We didn’t have a chance to see each other anywhere in the last four years. Parang hindi masyado talaga. Unang kita namin was in the Zoom story conference. I tried to make it as comfortable as possible for everyone, not just for Zanjoe… He was able to get into our barkada,” she said.
“The first scene, I was so scared to direct him. I was so scared nakalimutan ko ano 'yung sinisigaw before ‘action.’ Sa sobrang kaba ko, nakalimutan kong sabihin 'yung sound and camera. So 'yung cameraman and audioman, nakatingin sa akin, ‘Ano game na ba?’ Kinabahan lang ako ng very, very light,” she added.
But Padilla noted that Marudo took instructions well and they had a great time working on the movie.
“I also made kasi '366' very collaborative so he also gave a lot of input even before we shot. He helped me with that and I really appreciate it,” she said.
According to Padilla, “366” is actually a true story which she witnessed when she was on holiday three years ago.
“It’s a very tragic love story. But also, because of going through the pandemic, I tweaked it a little bit. ‘366’ has now more of a significance for me. It’s set in a leap year kaya 366 'yung [title]. It’s now realizing that we have to take every day and treat it as best as we could and really maximize these days,” she said of the movie’s premise.
“If you’re given a choice, if you want to spend one day just being sad or crying or feeling bad or negative, or you could make an effort and be happy and have an extra day to fall in love and love yourself, where would you go and what would you choose? That’s the journey of the character I play,” she added.
Padilla said they are working for the movie to have a theatrical release next year.