MANILA — A romance film set in Florence, Italy, reuniting the iconic tandem of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo was supposed to have been released this year, according to producer Star Cinema.
ABS-CBN Films managing director Olivia Lamasan spoke candidly about the project’s development and delays during a virtual press huddle, detailing the company’s lineup of films in the coming year.
“Dream na dream namin ito,” she said of Cruz and Alonzo’s reunion movie after the actor’s three-year hiatus from showbiz. “Pero nagkaroon ng pandemya.”
“It was supposed to have been shot in Florence, Italy. It’s a romance drama,” Lamasan said, adding that director Cathy Garcia-Molina and writer Carmi Raymundo are attached to the project.
Garcia-Molina is a frequent collaborator of Cruz and Alonzo, having directed four of their films as screen partners, including the well-loved “One More Chance” and its sequel “A Second Chance.” Raymundo was creative producer and one of the writers behind those two films.
“Unfortunately, pandemic came, kailangan kumambyo,” Lamasan said. “We tried adjusting the material dito sa Pilipinas. Unfortunately, hindi kinaya.”
The next option was to “change the concept” altogether, according to Lamasan. However, that meant delays in script development, and further, being unable to align with the original schedules of the lead actors.
“We were not able to meet the availabilities that John Lloyd and Bea gave us,” Lamasan said. “Nahiya nga kami kina Lloydie and Bea, kasi they waited for a year for this. Sana hindi sila magtampo. But we’re not losing hope na mag-materialize ang project na ‘to.”
The film remains to be in creative development under Raymundo, Lamasan said. This time, however, its stars have also been invited to be co-creators.
That means Cruz and Alonzo are able to be involved as early as the concept level. “They have reached that stature. Napaka-creative na ng kanilang pag-iisip,” Lamasan said.
The film executive cited Alonzo’s longevity and experience as an actress, and Cruz having the capacity to direct, at least based on one of their conversations.
“After John Lloyd’s hiatus, noong nakausap ko, ‘Ah, iba na ‘to, iba na siya.’ I think ‘yung kaniyang rest has done him really well. Iba na siya mag-isip. Sabi ko nga, ‘Anak, gusto mo na ba mag-direk? Kasi parang direktor ka na mag-isip.’”
As the project remains in early stages of development, Lamasan did not provide a target release for the long-awaited screen reunion.
She, however, remains hopeful. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”