'Unexpected' ending key to success of Piolo-Toni film

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Feb. 18, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Thousands of Filipinos traveled from near and far to the historic Fox Theater in Redwood City, California to witness the first onscreen romantic tandem of two of the hottest Kapamilya stars — Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual.

The U.S. premiere of Star Cinema’s Valentine offering, “Starting Over Again,” was also packed as fans wanted nothing more than to see Pascual and Gonzaga in person.

It took 13 years for Pascual and Gonzaga to be paired together in a movie after first working together in a TV commercial about a fan and a star.

“Kailangan yata ma-partner muna siya sa lahat ng hottest leading ladies. Ganoon naman talaga. Bakit hindi mo ba na-partner na lahat ng hottest na leading ladies? Kailangan dumaan muna siya. Kapag wala nang pagpipilian, ako ang fallback,” Gonzaga said in jest.

But kidding aside, both stars said it was worth the wait.

“We didn’t even know it was going to fall into place. We didn’t even know it was going to happen at this time. Parang it just happened at the perfect time,” said Pascual.

“In our wildest dreams, hindi namin na-imagine na ganito magiging kaganda ang kinalabasan ng pelikula and how people are accepting it and embracing the story kasi masyadong bold, masyadong brave naming nilatag ang katotohanan ng storya sa pag-ibig,” Gonzaga said.

“Starting Over Again” is a story of an unlikely pair who end up falling in love but lost it in the process.

The big question in the film is, will they able to forget the hurt and come back to each other’s arms?

Gonzaga admitted she couldn’t initially relate with her character Ginny, who stopped at nothing to win back the love of Marco, played by Pascual.

“Medyo ma-pride kasi ako eh. Ewan ko. Na-brainwash ako ng daddy ko na ang mga babae dapat ang pinupursue… hindi the other way around. Sa pelikulang ito, talagang completely the other way. Talagang halos magmakaawa ako,” she said.

The movie’s award-winning director, Olivia Lamasan, said the unexpected ending completes the film.

“What makes me so happy is that na-shock ako, is that natanggap ng tao itong ending na ito, ‘yung kakaibang ending niya. The Filipino audience has matured at natatanggap na natin ang ganitong klaseng pagtatapos,” Lamasan said.

One of the biggest draws for fans in the U.S. is the sizzling chemistry between the two stars, who apparently have a history when it comes to love.

Pascual has admitted that he once pursued Gonzaga when she was only starting out in show business. Their frustrated love affair may have played an important role in keeping the tension and chemistry alive between them on screen.

“When we did the film, we hardly talked. She was staying in her room. I was staying in my room. We never had the chance to really bond. We were so focused on what we had to do,” Pascual said.

Whatever magic they have together certainly impressed the fans who could not get enough of this newest Kapamilya love team.

“Starting Over Again” has set a new box office record by earning P150 million in just four days after it was released in cinemas in the Philippines.

This month, “Starting Over Again” will be show in over 50 theaters in North America.

You can contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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