MANILA — It’s no secret that Kathryn Bernardo underwent rigorous preparation for her role in the blockbuster “Hello, Love, Goodbye” — to the extent of admittedly feeling angry with her director and long-time collaborator, Cathy Garcia-Molina.
A tearful Garcia-Molina referred to the hardship she subjected Bernardo to as “tough love,” pointing out that her ward had never known pain like her character, Joy, in the film, and that it was the only way the actress could lend truth to her portrayal.
The deprivation of communication during a one-month stay in Hong Kong, on top of physical and emotional exhaustion, bore fruit and transformed Bernardo, she eventually agreed.
For Garcia-Molina, one scene where that transformation was particularly evident was the Binibining Central pageant, for Filipino workers based in Hong Kong.
“That’s where I believed Kathryn lost herself,” she said in a past interview on “Tonight with Boy Abunda,” while cautious not to give details so as not to spoil the film.
Two weeks after the release of “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” producer Star Cinema released online clips from the movie, including the pageant Garcia-Molina was referring to.
Bernardo, as the domestic helper Joy, appeared boisterous and without inhibitions as she took the stage with a creative introduction and a song number, pouring effort to increase her chances of winning the cash prize.
Joining the beauty contest was one of Joy’s many means to earn, aside from taking illegal night jobs as a waitress and dishwasher, and selling gadgets and electronic accessories online.
Moviegoers and fans, in comments on the official upload of the clip, echoed the sentiments of Garcia-Molina, with many saying that there was no trace of Bernardo in Joy in the Binibining Central scene.
“Very rare ito kay Kath as an actress and it shows growth. Joy really brought out the best kay Kath as an actress, it showed she can be more!” one fan wrote.
“Kathryn, is that you?” another said. “Tama ‘yung mga nakapanood na. Hindi isang Kathryn Bernardo ang makikita mo sa movie kundi si Joy Fabregas talaga.”
“Hello, Love, Goodbye,” which marks Bernardo’s first team-up with Alden Richards, continued its winning streak at the domestic box office on Monday as it crossed the P500-million mark in earnings.
With international screenings in full swing, the film is poised for a leap in box-office tally that’s expected to rival Bernardo’s previous record-breaker, “The Hows of Us,” with real-life partner Daniel Padilla.