If John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo had a dollar (or peso) every time they’ve been asked if they ever fell in love at some point in their largely intertwined careers, two of the country’s most talented dramatic actors would certainly be richer than they already are today.
It was in 2003 that Star Cinema struck gold in pairing then teeners John Lloyd and Bea in a movie aptly titled, My First Romance. They shared top billing with then real-life sweethearts Heart Evagelista and John Pratts, and immediately showed the kind of on-screen chemistry known for the likes of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz 3rd, Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, and Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta.
Twelve years—and close to 10 blockbuster movies later—John Lloyd and Bea continue to exude that “meant-to-be” aura whether on TV or the big screen. Whether he plays a non-believer in love, or she the unavailable mistress to an older man.
And so, when the stars of A Second Chance, the much-awaited sequel to 2007’s smash box office hit, One More Chance, heard the million dollar (or peso) question anew—if they had ever, ever fallen in love through the many years of working together, even in the slightest bit—John Lloyd and Bea just had to laugh and graciously shake their heads.
“No miss po talaga yang question na yan pag may movie kami,” Bea, now a consummate actress at 28 years old, acknowledged politely. Then just as quickly, she professionally chose to move on to the next question.
To be sure, both she and John Lloyd are aware they are both attractive individuals, with likeable personalities too, admitting a friendship both in and outside the business for many years. But truth be told, it is a very positive reality that they never felt compelled to even pretend there were romantic tendencies between them, just to make for juicier publicity angles for their projects.
That they have simply replied in the negative, movie after movie, is better than good because it just means John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo are truly meant to be actors. Talented and effective actors who make their audience believe—and actually feel—the love their characters have for each other in the many stories they have brought to life on screen.
As John Lloyd said of their working relationship, “May mga eksena at kuwento na kaya kong lang gawin pag si Bea ang kasama ko, maybe because sa lahat ng mga nakatrabaho ko, kami din ang may pinaka mahabang history.
“Kaya pag binigayan tayo ng chance na makatrabaho siya, sobrang humbling yon. It is really a joy and an honor to work with her,” he added.
In return, Bea also took her hats off to her favorite leading man, not just for the sake of it but because she truly meant it. Choosing to take the humorous tact, she said of the 32-year-old bachelor, considered one of the best, if not the best actors of his generation, “Pag umiyak yan sa pelikula, [character]ko lagi ang may kasalanan, kahit hindi niya kasalanan!”
She then went on to tackle the reason why it took eight years before she and her leading man finally decided to make a sequel to what is perhaps the most definitive movie of their career as an onscreen pair. The story of iconic characters, Popoy and Basha, college sweethearts, deeply in love, who needed to part ways in order to grow as individuals.
“It’s so hard to think of a story that can equal something that was so loved by many people,” she began, clearly aware of the quality that her tandem with John Lloyd owes their audience. “But finally, this is a story that is just relatable as the first, which is really what made people love the movie and Popoy and Basha in the first place.”
A Second Chance finds Popoy and Basha seven years after their open-ended reconciliation wrapped up their story. And yes, as the trailers have shown in the lead up to the movie’s opening day today, the couple do marry, and find that happy endings are actually more challenging beginnings.
Popoy is a now a failed achiever, struggling to keep his business afloat and his self esteem intact. Basha on the other hand assumes the role of the docile wife who gave up so much of herself for her marriage to work.
For those who are fans of the 2007 movie, the synopsis paints very different pictures of what the two characters have become at the onset. As Bea accurately pointed out, “The movie questions kung mamahalin mo pa ba ang asawa mo kahit nagbago na siya?”
For both Bea and John Lloyd, this seemingly simple premise that makes marriages very complicated is what makes A Second Chance relatable as its prequel.
“Even if I’ve never been married, I know na ito yung dada-lahin ng mga manunood ng movie,” Bea determined.
Back in each other’s arms onscreen, and with a story they both approve, John Lloyd and Bea admitted they are nonetheless anxious how audiences will accept A Second Chance.
“There’s this fear na hindi magkaroon ng open mind yung mga tao while watching this, but then it’s not really supposed to compare it sa first movie because it’s very different,” Bea ventured.
“You’re talking about a gap of eight years. Obviously mga ibang tao na ‘yung characters so medyo nag-create nga siya ng fear,” John Lloyd agreed. “Nag-aaalala lang siguro kami . . . kung maraming viewers na mayroon talagang certain expectations. But then again, dahil kay Popoy at Basha, and what they’ve become for an entire generation—kailangan mo balikan that this is a story na we have to tell the audience.”
With first day box-office returns from Wednesday estimated at P43.3 million from 300 cinemas, according to Star Cinema’s PR head Mico del Rosario, it sure looks like the real deal actors that are John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo can now rest easy.
A Second Chance is directed by Cathy Garcia Molina, and is now showing nationwide.