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Lucky strike

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Dan Villegas considers himself fortunate to have been tapped to direct “Luck At First Sight” as it’s very different from his previous projects.

Dan Villegas (mb.com.ph)

Dan Villegas

“Usually kasi sa mga nagawa kong films, very realistic,” he explained. “Ito iba, may magic element. Actually, nagulat ako na sa akin binigay ito. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ako pinili nila eh, hindi ko naman forte ang ganito. Naisip ko na lang na challenging siya gawin so medyo na-excite ako.”

It turned out to be an easy shoot, after all.

“Sobra, as in ang saya lang namin, parang hindi kami nagtratrabaho,” he said. “Siyempre may struggle din ako lalo na sa umpisa, lalo na sa pagtimpla ng mga eksena, kung sobra ba o masyado mababaw, ganun. Pero, in all, ang nakakatuwa, ang saya lang namin sa set.”

It helped that he and key people in the production agreed to focus on the comedy aspect of the film.

“Usually kasi rom-com ’di ba? Ang focus nasa romance, nasa kilig. Kami, iba. Binaliktad namin. Nag-focus kami du’n sa comedy so ito, com-rom siya.

“Sorry sa scriptwriting team pero may times na we would do away with the script kasi we were having so much fun doing adlibs.”

Will he do another film of the same genre?

“Well, depende kung may dumating na offer,” he said. “Pero open ako to doing more of these kind of films. Masaya eh.”

All about chemistry

“Luck At First Sight” stars Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla. In the film, the two play individuals who rely on luck in pursuing their goals in life.

Talking about his stars, Dan said, “Si Echo wala ako masabi. I’ve worked with him before (sa ‘Walang Forever’) and he is still the same guy, humble, generous and fun to be with.”

“Si Bella is very artistic and focused. Magugulat ka talaga sa kanya, ibang level. Seryoso siya sa mga eksena niya.

She’ll do anything to make a scene work and any director worth his salt would love to work with someone like that all the time.”

“Wala akong masabi sa kanilang dalawa,” he added. “Sometimes nga I feel like I just need to switch the camera on and just let them do their thing. Ganun sila kagaling.”

Chemistry is important for the two lead characters and both Echo and Bella handed it to Dan in spades.

“Makikita ninyo ito sa pelikula, sa mga titigan nila, sa pagsagi ng braso… alam mo there’s a real connection there and it worked wonders for the film,” said the director.

Friendship forged

“Nag-click kami ni Bella siguro kasi we share the same sense of humor,” said Jericho. “Makulit din siya katulad ko.”

The cast of 'Luck At First Sight' (mb.com.ph)

The cast of ‘Luck At First Sight’

Bella, on her part, related, “Madali makagaangan ng loob si Echo, very humble siya despite his stature.”

Dan attested the two actors’ professionalism, noting how they delivered beyond what is needed for the film – considering they were actually going through a rough patch in their personal lives while shooting. Bella was breaking up with the film’s producer, Neil Arce; while Echo was grieving the untimely demise of his father.

“’Di ko man lang naramdaman na may pinagdaanan sila all throughout, du’n ako bilib sa kanila, walang ka – hassle-hassle katrabaho,” Dan said.

For Bella, it was just a matter of doing what is right.

“For sure nasaktan ako pero ang selfish ko naman kung idadamay ko ang buong production sa problema ko,” she said.

“Ang ginawa ko I just focused on the work at hand and ’yun I was able to move on naman na kahit paano,” she added.
If anything, the actress is thankful Jericho was a shoulder to cry on.

“Siya ang naging pinakasandalan ko and I’m always going to be grateful to him for that,” she said.

Echo cut in: “Kudos should be given to Neil din kasi, in fairness to both, pareho silang very professional. They handled their break-up well. I was just there lang din naman as a friend for Bella. Anybody would have done the same thing.”

But how did he deal with his own heartache?

The actor related he took his motorbike to San Juanico Bridge and back, covering it all in just 72 hours.

But why San Juanico Bridge?

“Isa ’yun sa mga lugar na pinuntahan ng tatay ko and I just want see it for myself and experience the same thing he did.”

Partnership continues

We asked Bella if her break-up with Neil will also put an end to their working relationship and she said, “Hindi. Actually, pasalamat din lang ako sa kanya na very level-headed din siya. He still consults me with things. Actually we’re working on some new ideas.”

Incidentally, it was Bella who conceptualized “Luck At First Sight.”

“I don’t believe in luck kasi and naintriga lang ako kung paano kaya siya ita-tackle as a film so du’n nag-umpisa,” she shared.

Does she believe in luck now?

“Nope, not really. Hindi pa rin,” said she, laughing.

“Luck At First Sight” from Viva Films opens May 22. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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