• ‘Cant’ Help Falling In Love’

    KathNiel returns to rom-com in grown-up fashion

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    Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla

    Over time, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla—collectively known as “Kathniel”—have proven their ability to draw strong box office returns for movies they have headlined.

    The love team first landed their major lead in their romantic comedy Must Be… Love in 2012, which reportedly raked in P 72.9 million. The following year, they starred in the big screen adaptation of the pop fiction book She’s Dating the Gangster, which totaled P296-million in ticket sales.

    As their love team’s popularity soared with TV projects and on social media, the pair’s subsequent movies tallied even stronger at the box office. Crazy Beautiful You in 2015 earned P320-million, and finally, their latest big screen outing Barcelona: A Love Untold earned P321-million in 2016.

    But their impressive performance in the box office is just half of the story. What is more interesting to note is the continued growth of the love team and individual acting abilities in each new role they take.

    From tweens who had just discovered the heart’s desires in Must Be… Love, to high school enemies turned sweethearts in She’s Dating the Gangster, to struggling college-aged teens in Crazy Beautiful You, they delivered deepening emotions through the years.

    However, some observers feel that “Kathniel” prematurely embraced mature characters when they leapt from their tried and tested genre of romantic comedies to heavy romantic drama in Barcelona: A Love Untold. Helmed by veteran dramatic director Olivia Lamasan (Got 2 Believe, Milan, Starting Over Again), said movie challenged Bernardo and Padilla to tackle the complexities of life and love. But while the title has delivered the biggest revenue for the love team so far, many fans demanded a return to the rom-com to enjoy the youthful magic the love team never fails to deliver.

    Enter Can’t Help Falling In Love (CHFIL), Star Cinema’s upcoming summer movie that top bills Kathniel.

    The lighthearted and heartwarming romance is centered on Gab dela Cuesta (Bernardo), a high-strung career woman who is engaged to her longtime boyfriend (Matteo Guidicelli).

    “Gab is very organized. It is very important for her to accomplish everything the way she has planned them. So imagine how it would be for her to learn that her dream marriage might not come true because she is apparently legally bound to a total stranger,” Bernardo said of her character at the movie’s grand press conference at Villa Immaculada in Intramuros, Manila.

    That total stranger is Dos Gonzales whom Padilla portrays.

    “Dos is very adventurous, he won’t entertain any problem. Unlike Gab, he has no plans in life. Parang, ‘come what may’,” Padilla described.

    “Let’s just say this movie is more mature than Crazy Beautiful You but lighter than Barcelona,” Cruz-Alviar first offered when asked to describe her new movie with Kathniel.

    For the director—who first worked with Kathniel in 24/7 In Love and Crazy Beautiful You—CHFIL continues the love team’s maturity in the rom-com category.

    “First of all, they are now portraying young adults who are actually members of the working force,” Cruz-Alviar noted.

    In terms acting, the director also noticed that Bernardo and Padilla have also grown professionally.

    “They are definitely more mature now, and they are less maharot on set. These two know the characters better and they have a firmer grasp on the roles. I can say that professionally, they have matured as well.”

    As it turned out, CHFIL was shot almost immediately after Barcelona, which made sense to Cruz-Alviar when they were on the first shooting of the movie.

    “It took them a while to loosen up, ang seryoso nila. In the first few scenes, they were still the Ely and Mia from Barcelona so I told them to shake off. It actually took us seven takes to perfect their first scene. But in a way, it’s good we started early because they were given enough time to really get in the shoes of Dos and Gab,” Cruz-Alviar shared.

    Finally, Cruz-Alviar said the age-appropriate movie is their treat for the Kathniel fandom, who by now have also grown with the love team.

    “I kept saying they’ve mature but I would also like to emphasize that ang maturity na ito ay tama lang sa okasyon. We are not rushing them to mature. They are just acting their age in the movie,” Cruz-Alviar ended.

    Opening on April 15, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ also stars Janus Del Prado, Kristel Fulgar Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Lotlot De Leon, Dennis Padilla, and Joross Gamboa, among many others.

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