Has the AlDub phenomenon waned dramatically a year since TV cameras caught then newbie Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza’s self-conscious reaction the be-dimpled smile of Alden Richards on Eat Bulaga’s “Kalyeserye?”
If your answer is yes, film director Mike Tuviera will have to disagree.
Tuviera is the man behind the first anniversary project of Richards and Mendoza—the accidental “couple” who shot to phenomenal fame as “AlDub” following that live and fateful TV moment on July 16, 2015.
He will also be the first person to tell you that the AlDub magic is alive and kicking, and as far away in fact as the Italian towns of Como and Venice. It was in these picturesque locations where the director shot the entirety of Richards and Mendoza’s upcoming rom-com movie, Imagine You & Me, which opens on July 13.
“Araw-araw na nagtrabaho kami sa Italy, may sumusunod sa aming fans,” Tuviera related in amazement.
The screen couple’s security, he had thought, was something he didn’t have to contend with shooting far away from the Philippines, but he was apparently wrong.
“Sabi nung mga Italian counterparts namin that they had never seen anything like that,” the thirty-something director added, referring to the crowds of overseas Filipinos who relentlessly followed Richards and Mendoza even in the small alleyways of Italia.
“Sabi pa nila they worked with [the likes of]George Clooney and Brad Pitt for Ocean’s Twelve, and other Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp, but they had never seen yung merong sumusunod na fans [wherever the actors filmed].”
For many showbiz observers, an AlDub-starrer on the big screen should have happened much earlier than their first anniversary. Based on figures, the couple had not been able to sustain the sky-high ratings of Eat Bulaga during the height of Kalyeserye in the fourth quarter of 2015, nor the record-breaking Twitter following on social media after the erstwhile “Yaya Dubsmasher” started to talk, met her Prince Alden, and together filled up the humongous Philippine Arena for the Tamang Panahon concert in October 2015.
“To be fair, they still trend on social media from time to time,” said another showbiz observer. “Especially when Alden broke his trademark courteous ways and aggressively smacked Maine on the lips on her birthday last March 3.”
But yes, the same critic admitted, a lot of what Richards and Mendoza do nowadays seem anti-climactic.
But for Tuviera—who also happens to be the son of Eat Bulaga’s big boss Tony Tuviera of Tape, Inc.—Imagine You & Me is not out to prove that AlDub is still the top love team in the land a year later. He also denied rumors that the trio of producers behind the movie—Tape’s APT Entertainment, GMA Films, and Vic Sotto’s M-Zet, Inc.—are expecting a P1-billion return of investment at the box office.
“This is beyond disproving everyone and beyond box office returns,” he countered. “This is about giving back to the AlDub fans a movie that will do justice to the love team they’ve supported so passionately since July last year.
Tuviera concluded, “I am grateful to the producers for allowing this story and its concept to be shot, no matter what the cost, because the fans deserve a movie that will show Alden and Maine at their best—as the talented actors they are beyond the skits of “Kalyeserye”—and as the phenomenal couple they made AlDub to be.”