Roxanne Barcelo and Will Devaughn: From real to reel

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Celebrity couple talk about working together in first movie as actors and producers
Celebrities who play lovers onscreen only to fall in love in real life has been written about numerous times. Remember Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith;” Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan who are still married 11 years after playing lovers in “Step Up;” and, on the small screen, “Game of Thrones” stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie who are rumored to be engaged.

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The opposite—that is, reallife couples playing lovers in a movie—is seemingly less exciting for media, but as Roxanne Barcelo and Will Devaughn prove, can be just as interesting a story.

Roxanne Barcelo and Will Devaughn

Now on their fourth year as an official couple, the two first met at an awards ceremony where Barcelo had won. It wasn’t a love-at-first-sight kind of story, however, because the pair became longtime friends before committing to a relationship.

Today, Barcelo and Devaughn are set to appear on the big screen via their first movie together, “I Found My Heart in Santa Fe,” which follows the blossoming romance between Jennifer (Barcelo), a smart, hardworking and pretty islander whose recent heartache made her tougher around men, and Viktor (Devaughn), an adventurous rich businessman who will stop at nothing to win the fair maiden’s heart.

Natural chemistry
At the movie’s press launch on Wednesday, director Bona Fajardo admitted that Barcelo and Devaughn as leads made all working on his third movie much easier.

“For me, the chemistry is already there—it’s natural for this real-life couple. We really didn’t need to work hard for them to have that magic onscreen,” Fajardo shared.

As for Barcelo and Devaughn, acting as lovers has its pros and cons.

“True, we don’t really need to undergo intimacy workshops to let go off the awkwardness that most reel pairs go through, but there are also challenges on set,” Devaughn divulged.

Barcelo elaborated and said, “Like any couple, we have our simple tampuhan like when Will didn’t wait for me on the set. But we’re both very professional and we carry on with our scenes even during those silly moments.”

The 32-year-old actress further noted how in some instances, their scenes allow them to work on their small disagreements.

“Another challenge I can think of is when we have to act like we’re mad toward each other. Sometimes we get carried away then we’d have to assure one another that was just a scene,” Barcelo added chuckling.

Besides working together for the first time, the couple takes pride in I Found My Heart in Sante Fe for not only are they the lead stars but they also serve as co-producers of the film.

Director Bona Fajardo with his lead stars

“What that means is that our work does not end on the set, we talk to sponsors, we promote the film and go about other tasks that actors normally don’t worry about,” Devaughn told The Manila Times.

As such, when the press commented on how promising the rushes are, especially its innocent story and glossy and picturesque feel, the couple could hardly contain their happiness.

“We too fell in love with Santa Fe. Ang ganda talaga. It’s like paradise where you’ll really get to relax and not stress about the volume of tourists. As most of us know, that’s what’s happening in prime tourist spots nowadays,” Barcelo shared.

Paradise setup
Sante Fe is a real municipality within the famed Bantayan Island in Cebu. It boasts of a non-crowded beach and pure white sand that sparkles in the sunlight.

The idea to shoot the movie in postcard worthy Sante Fe came from director Fajardo who also featured the picturesque Vigan, Ilocos Sur in his previous Kaye Abad-starrer “Iliw.”

“As directors or writers, we have certain stories that we keep inside our hearts and minds. It is just a matter of finding the right inspiration to fuel that story. When I saw Sante Fe last year, I knew I found the place where I’ll shoot the story I had in mind,” Fajardo noted.

Both Fajardo and the celebrity couple hope that by showcasing Sante Fe, their audience will also fall in love with the paradise they called their own for almost two-weeks of shooting.

I Found My Heart in Santa Fe is the first brand new film to be screened at Cine Lokal in select SM Cinemas beginning September 15. The endeavor is also under the auspices of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, which just mounted Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

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