Multi-awarded actor Piolo Pascual is excited to hit the big screen again with a very special project. Titled, Northern Lights—after the hemisphere’s phenomenon Aurora Borealis, which enchant the skies in 11-year cycles—the once in a lifetime movie is set in Alaska as a very touching tale of the bond between father and son.
“Paborito ko kasi yung Pursuit of Happyness ni Will Smith before, and I’ve long been looking for a concept na puwede i-play up [the relationship]between a father and a son,” related Pascual at the grand press conference of the Regal Entertainment, Star Cinema and Spring Films co-production.
A father himself to teen actor Iñigo Pascual, Philippine show business’ “Ultimate Leading Man” felt especially drawn to the screenplay of Onay Sales, where he portrays an OFW who had moved to Alaska when his girlfriend was pregnant back in the Philippines. Fulfilling his promise to come back for her, he finds her with another man, shattering his notion of love and relationships.
Years later, Pascual’s character learns that his ex-girlfriend is dying and is sending their son Charlie Jr. (Raikko Mateo) to live with him in Alaska. Father meets son for the first time, and while they find it difficult to connect, their hearts and lives are changed forever.
“When I got wind of the project, I instantly felt [something]personal because it’s not [exactly]what I went through with my son, pero sabi ko, medyo malapit sa situation ko from before,” the 40-year-old father continued. “The same situation is also common to many Filipinos nowadays—yung mga nalalayo rin sa mga pamilya nila. So sabi ko, I just want to do something real, something more relatable to the audience, kaya nung ipinitch sa akin, and even when I got the script, napakatotoo niya.”
It will be recalled that Pascual also had Iñigo with a former girlfriend. The boy lived with his mom in California, USA, until finally settling in the Philippines with his dad to pursue a career in showbiz.
“I met Iñigo from the very start when I was in the States and he was already turning one when I left for the Philippines. Baby pa [siya noon], ngayon puwede nang magka-baby,” joked the ever-youthful dad. “Nowadays, magkasama kami palagi, and even at work every Sunday on ASAP. Mas nakabuti yung pag-uwi niya dito kasi nakakasama ko siya, nagagabayan ko.”
Proud of his 19-year-old, Pascual continued, “I thought at the start it might be hard for him to come home, especially to be in the same business as his dad because you can’t avoid comparisons. But what’s good about it, my son’s really talented. He’s creating his own path, and he has his own niche. I’m very proud of him kasi masipag na bata saka mabait.”
Besides the father-and-son theme, Northern Lights, whose tagline very appropriately is “A Journey to Love,” also delves into romance between Pascual and newcomer Yen Santos, whose character is tasked to bring his son to him in Alaska.
Asked how he found working with a first timer in the movies, Pascual replied, “It’s fun to work with people for the first time [with whom]you share the same passion. Si Direk, Raikko and Yen are also like that. I also believe she has very distinct appearance—very raw—ang ganda niya and mahal siya ng camera.”
Meanwhile, the showbiz A-Lister also took the opportunity to announce at the Northern Lights news conference that he has been appointed as an ambassador of the Optical Media Board. The OMB is the government agency in charge of protecting the entertainment industry from piracy.
“My role as an ambassador is to create awareness for the OMB’s battle cry which is anti-piracy in TV, music and cinema,” he explained. “I find it a privilege to be given this position because it’s an opportunity to use your celebrity status for the right reason.”
Northern Lights is directed by Dondon Santos and will open in cinemas nationwide on March 29.