Let’s set aside the ominous use of the phrase “the big one” for purposes of this article and give it an exciting spin for Philippine show business. For indeed, “the big one” in terms of movie tandems, romantic thrills, and blockbuster returns is about to hit cinemas on July the first.
Finally, Star Cinema has produced the movie that will bring together the industry’s uncontested Box Office King and Queen, Piolo Pascual and Sarah Geronimo, for the very first time. And to ask them why only now is pointless. Because after each of these actors have given them blockbuster after blockbuster through the years, ABS-CBN’s moviemaking arm has only ascertained that anticipation—and more importantly ticket sales—will be at its peak for the big one.
Titled The Breakup Playlist, Piolo and Sarah’s upcoming romance-drama is backed by the geniuses of young and emerging director and screenwriter Dan Villegas and Antoinette Jadaone, respectively, whose fresh takes on moviemaking have been noted and lauded in the industry.
Villegas directed the breakout entry of 2014’s Metro Manila Film Festival, English Only Please, while Jadaone is responsible for one of the biggest indie hits of the same year, That Thing Called Tadhana. Incidentally a real-life couple, their names and reputation as maverick hitmakers only serve to assure moviegoers that the Piolo-Sarah tandem will be all the more worth the wait.
The Breakup Playlist is a love story that revolves around a band vocalist named Gino (Piolo) who recruits a young law student named Trixie (Sarah) to become his singing partner. Onstage, they find themselves bounded by an electrifying chemistry, which as is usually the case, turns into a real-life romance.
Sadly, however, Gino’s insecurities as an artist surfaces and forces Trixie to quit the band and their relationship.
Fast forward to present day, years after their breakup, Gino and Trixie cross paths again for a reunion concert that opens up the possibility of falling back into love.
At a press conference this week at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater, Villegas excitedly talked about the immediate connection that Piolo and Sarah established as the main characters of the movie. Describing their onscreen chemistry as “natural,” the director was very impressed with the output of the pair considering they had only ever “worked together” as mainstays of ABS-CBN’s Sunday noontime variety show ASAP, not to mention the fact that Piolo is 11 years older than Sarah.
“I guess mahirap laruin ang chemistry if it’s not really there. But it’s also important that you’re on the same page, and that you have the same understanding of your characters. Sarah is a chameleon so it was really easy for us to make it work in the movie,” said Piolo, who is humbled by the fact that he is every other actress’ dream leading man today.
As expected, Sarah admitted that she had long admired Piolo as an actor. “Nakaka-intimidate po [to be his leading lady], and hiyang hiya po ako!” trilled the ever-sweet pop princess-turned-box office queen. “It’s really an honor and an enjoyable experience to work with him.”
The Dawn vocalist and thespian Jet Pangan, who has also been cast in the movie, confirms Villegas’ claim that Piolo and Sarah gave very natural portrayals of their “banderista” characters, having been exposed to the rock band culture for many years.
“I would have to say that their being musical artists helped them achieve realistic performances in the film,” agreed the OPM bigwig.
Sarah is of course first and foremost a singer, with numerous hits to her name and sold out concerts in the country’s biggest venues. Piolo, on the other hand, has also tried his hand at recording with a few albums to his name, as well as headlined concerts with full orchestras accompanying him to boot.
Recalling that it took a long time for him to find confidence in his singing voice, Piolo told The Manila Times, “Unfortunately for me, I will always be perceived as more of an actor than a singer because that’s our forte. But I’m just fortunate enough to enjoy both worlds. I’ll never be comfortable singing in big venues, performing for two hour—I would rather act. But I’ll always consider it a blessing to do something like this and be side by side with these great performers.”
The Breakup Playlist opens in cinemas nationwide on July 1.