• OF LUCK, LOVE, AND ARTISTIC PURSUITS

    Bela Padilla’s ‘gambles’ pay off

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    Bela Padilla

    While Bela Padilla is very much unlike the fictional character and family-oriented Diane dela Cruz, who reluctantly resorts to gambling to make ends meet in her upcoming film Luck At First Sight, the 25-year-old admitted that she too has “gambled” to reach the showbiz tatus she currently enjoys.

    The movie, which will open in cinemas on May 3, follows Padilla’s Dianne and Jericho Rosales’ Joma Labayen in a very unique love story.

    Rosales plays a down-on-his-luck guy who believes that a “life charm” could turn his into a rosy existence. Fate somehow brings him that lucky charm in Diane, who ironically does not believe in such notions.

    All the same, their partnership does indeed prove auspicious when night after night, they make a killing at gambling houses. That is, until they start developing feelings for each other, love dousing the luck they have as friends.

    Krista to Bella
    In real life, Padilla—born Krista Cariño Sullivan—would be the last person to go into casinos, being a devout Jehovah’s Witness. The only time she has figuratively gambled was when she pursued a career in acting.

    “We all know that there’s no assurance in this kind of job—you’ll never know when the next project will come or what will be your successive role. The only thing you can be sure about is that you’ll do your best for whatever project that will come your way,” Padilla said at the movie’s grand launch in Quezon City.

    As such, she gambled her way into the cutthroat industry that quickly boxed her in as action superstar Robin Padilla’s niece.

    She debuted in the business as Krista Sullivan until she adopted her uncle’s famous surname when she moved from ABS-CBN to GMA Network.

    Padilla’s big break came when she played one of the antagonists in the Marian Rivera-Dingdong Dantes-starrer, Endless Love. Thereafter, she played leading lady to Aljur Abrenica in Pablo S. Gomez’s Machete, as well as the eponymous character in the afternoon prime series, Magdalena.

    Another gamble that is currently paying off for Padilla’s career was her decision to move back to ABS-CBN. After portraying Coco Martin’s wife in FPJ’s: Ang Probinsyano, she went on to become kid-wonder Nayomi “Heart” Ramos’ mother in My Dear Heart, making her visible onscreen in the coveted prime time block.

    But perhaps, the biggest gamble for Padilla has taken so far is to translate her story ideas to the big screen.

    Story creator
    It is not by sheer luck that Padilla has taken on the task of screenwriting too. Unknown to many —mostly because she has refused to be put in the movies’ credits— the multi-talented actress is also a story creator for some of the films she has starred in.

    In the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival movie 10,000 Hours, which topbilled her uncle Robin, Padilla co-conceptualized the story with her then-boyfriend Neil Arce’s N2 Productions.

    Three years later, Padilla and Arce joint forces once more to create the 2016 comedy film Camp Sawi, which starred the actress alongside Arci Muñoz, Yassi Pressman, Andi Eigenmann and Kim Molina.

    The partnership continues this year, albeit the couple’s much publicized breakup, and has resulted in Luck At First Sight.

    “I was in the car, listening to conversations of radio DJs when the title first formed in my mind. From there, I came up with the story of two people who get lucky when they are physically linked,” Padilla recalled.

    Arce’s N2 Productions is co-producing Padilla’s story with Viva Films.

    [The businessman and the actress dated for almost five years but broke up while filming Luck At First Sight. Their co-actors have praised them for maintaining their professional relationship. Arce is currently rumored to be dating his and Padilla’s common friend, Angel Locsin.]

    Padilla, however, clarified that it has never been part of the collaboration that she has to be a lead star in the movies they conceptualize and produce.

    “I don’t want have that sort of privilege. Kung puwede po, gusto ko siyang gawin. But if the role will be given to another, I won’t mind,” Padilla detailed, adding in jest, “I’ll just weep a bit.”

    In a more serious tone, Padilla shared that conceptualizing her own movies has allowed Viva Films—the production company she signed up with for several feature films—to put her in projects she really wants to tackle.

    “It helps a lot because since I conceptualize, Viva—which always considers what I want to do—doesn’t have to think or offer projects to me. In a way, it helps because I already know that character and I can tailor-fit her to what I can do,” Padilla explained.

    To prove she can also work for movies she won’t be starring in, Padilla revealed they will soon launch a project with her solely working behind the scenes—details of which the actress opted to keep for the meantime.

    “I feel lucky to have a good team behind me who supports and believes in me. You know, a team that would tell me honestly if my idea is OK or not,” the actress enthused.

    A Joyce Bernal production for Viva Films and N2 Productions, Luck At First Sight also stars Kim Molina, Cholo Barretto and Issa Pressman, under the direction of Dan Villegas.

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