Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona’s underwater Valentine’s adventure
Fairy tales are generally the most pleasant to watch when taken to the big screen. It’s the happy potion of cinema enjoyed across all ages and generation, making Walt Disney the cultural icon that he is the world over.
But as wonderful as it is to see a fairy tale unfold on screen, teen star Janella Salvador will tell you that it’s actually the most difficult do.
“Especially when you’re a mermaid,” the 19-year-old-singer-actress giggled at the grand media conference of her latest movie with steady leading man Elmo Magalona, “My Fairy Tail Love Story” from Regal Entertainment.
“Mahirap yung training but it was worth it. Talagang nag-enjoy ako sa ginagawa ko kasi sobrang ganda talaga ang makikita mo under water.”
A much-awaited Valentine’s offering—especially by the huge fan base of the ElNella love team—“My Fairy Tail Love Story” is set to take moviegoers on a journey under the sea when fate punishes a spoiled brat named Chantel and turns her into a half-human, half-fish who can only sing her thoughts. True love’s kiss, of course, will break the curse, so that Chantel seeks her best friend Noah’s (Elmo) help to make her crush, DJ (Kiko Estrada), fall for her.
Little does Chantel know, however, as she turns more desperate unable to walk and talk, that someone else much closer is her one true love.
To be sure, the singing and acting was a walk in the park—or should we say an easy swim—for Janella. In fact, besides winning “Himig Handog” at the start of her career and recording hits with Star Music, she was twice chosen by Disney to sing for special projects. The first was for Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th anniversary jingle “Happily Ever After,” and the next, as the Philippine artist for the local release of “Moana’s” theme song, “How Far I’ll Go.”
As for her acting skills, they’ve been continuously honed in successive projects for TV and the movies, since a much younger Janella first captivated audiences as one of “Sir Chief’s” (Richard Yap) children in the long-running daytime soap “Be Careful with My Heart.”
It was the swimming part that, as the accomplished young lady put it, was “no joke.”
“I had to take swimming lessons, mermaid lessons and diving lessons in a diving pool months before shooting where I had to dive 14-feet deep!” she animatedly shared. “But I feel so lucky because not everyone is given the chance to play this role. Eh ako, favorite fairy tale ko ever since has been ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and dream ko talaga na maging mermaid noon pa.”
Of course, even without saying it, this dream-come-true was more wonderful for Janella what with her “special friend” Elmo with her throughout the experience.
“Are there kilig moments in the movie?” she playfully teased. “Maraming-maraming-marami! Hahaha! This movie’s really about love and a Valentine’s offering after all.”
“My most favorite scene is the ending…” she trailed off, her eyes twinkling.
Meanwhile, of the ElNella love team and their work ethic, Fairy Tail director Perci Intalan disclosed, “Alam mo, ang galing nila. Ang committed nila. Kapag napanood ninyo ang pelikula, doon sa mga underwater scenes kasi ang lalim ng sisid ni Janella pero wala siyang takot. Pati si Elmo nag training din siya because they both have scenes in the middle of the water. They swam there, nagbabad doon, nangitim, pero walang kaarte-arte.”
Asked how she hopes moviegoers will react to her challenging role to date, Janella looked outside of her performance and said instead, “I just hope our movie will open their eyes to the real beauty of our own lives and the people who love us unconditionally.”
Elmo for his part said, “I hope they will be just as proud of this film as we are—a Filipino production that has just the right Disney feel to make everyone feel as happy as a kid on Valentine’s Day.”
My Fairy Tail Love Story also stars Kiray Celis, Dimples Romana, Dominic Ochoa, Kakai Bautista, Kaladkaren Davila and Rubi Rubi among others. It opens in cinemas nationwide today from Regal Entertainment.