Piolo Pascual blushes everytime people tell him that at 41, he remains the ultimate leading man, hunk, fitspiration, and all superlatives rolled into one.
In the business for two decades and counting, the actor is still on top of his game. He starred in the films “Northern Lights” and “Last Night” last year. By April 16, Piolo is back on TV via the series “Since I Found You.”
Papa P – as he is fondly called by fans — can only be grateful for the opportunities.
“Imagine, hanggang ngayon nabibigyan pa din ako ng proyekto. I’m still around and doing what I love to do.”
But believe it or not, Piolo considered quitting show business and settling for good in America with son Iñigo mere two years ago. He felt so overworked then that he totally forgot about himself.
What kept him from doing so was the overwhelming support of his management and the fans.
“Naisip ko na kinailangan kong pagdaaan ‘yung ganu’ng bagay to really know myself better and to know what I really wanted in my life. Hindi siya madali,” he said. “Tinanggap ko ‘yung pinagdaanan ko na ‘yun and I realized na it would be stupid of me, you know, to resist the blessings.”
“Pina-humble lalo ako ng pagkakataon. Right now, mas nagpo-focus ako sa mga blessings na dumadating sa akin. Nakakatuwa na meron akong nilu-look forward sa bawat umaga. I’m thankful na ‘Okay ah, pwede pa pala ako.’ Maraming nagtitiwala at ‘yun ‘yung nagpapatatag sa akin,” he added, smiling.
On a roll
“Since I Found You” is directed by Antoinette Jadaone fresh from the success of her “Never Not Love You” movie starring James Reid and Nadine Lustre.
Despite having several big projects under her belt, Antoinette remains grounded. According to her, she is kept anchored by her “honest” friends.
“Siyempre ang ibang tao, kapag nakausap sila ang sinasabi palagi (sa work ko), ‘Uy, ang ganda nito, hit yan.’ Pero kapag ‘yung mga honest sayo na kaibigan mo ang tinatanong mo, sasabihin niyan, ‘Ay ang panget nito te ha!”’ she explained. “Kumbaga walang tinatago at gusto ko at na-a-appreciate ko ang honesty. Sabi nga, ‘Go back to your roots and don’t just believe your press releases.’”
At work, Antoinette is not the bossy type at all.
“Siguro kapag intense ako, gusto ko nasusunod ‘yung gusto ko. Pero siyempre bilang nasa industriya ako, alam ko naman kung paano mag-compromise,” she related. “Hindi ako ang humahawak ng pera eh. Isa lang din akong empleyado so nakikipag-compromise ako as long as hindi nawawala ‘yung integrity ko as a director.”
“Since I Found You” is Antoinette’s third teleserye for Dreamscape. She’s also writing a script for a new movie.
Asked to differentiate directing for the two platforms, Antoinette admitted doing films is “mas personal siya sa akin kasi ako ang sumusulat (ng script).”
“Unlike sa TV na may mga writers pero collaborative effort naman siya,” she said. “Sa TV din, du’n ako mas nabibigyan ng chance na maka-trabaho ‘yung iba’t-ibang artista na hindi ko inakala na makakasama ko.”
It is the first time Antoinette directs Piolo Pascual. She first worked with the actor in the 2007 film “Paano Kita Iibigin” but in the capacity of script supervisor.
On the series, she describes Piolo as “very collaborative” and “very grounded” person.
“Actually fan ako ng movies niya,” she disclosed. “Until now, nasta-struck pa din ako kapag nagtatanong siya sa akin kung paano ba magiging atake niya sa role niya. Alam mo ‘yung kahit Piolo na siya, very humble pa din.”
“At take note, wala siyang pangit na anggulo ha! At challenge ‘yun sa akin, kasi medyo dark ‘yung role niya (dito sa series), eh ‘pag sinabi pa namang Piolo, tingin pa lang, wala na… ‘yun na!” she added, laughing.
Talking more about the series, Piolo plays Nathan Capistrano, a boss whose strictness stems from his traumatic childhood.
“He worked his way up from being a snatcher to working for somebody. Tapos naging tricycle driver din siya, lahat ginawa niya and it toughened him in a bad way,” Piolo narrated.
“As the story goes along, mare-realize niya na life is not all about him. Hindi lang siya ang sentro ng mundo. Kailangan niyang makita ‘yung needs ng mga tao sa paligid niya to appreciate life better.”
Antoinette assures fans “Since I Found You” is worth watching. “Kasi ako, hindi ako gagawa ng isang series na ako mismo ayokong panuodin. Sobrang happy ako dito kasi maganda ‘yung journey ng mga characters eh. Everything is new.”
Piolo is joined by Arci Muñoz, JC de Vera, Alessandra De Rossi and Empoy Marquez on the show.
Their characters come from different walks of life, but love will intertwine their completely distinct lives. As Dani (Arci) falls for her boss Nathan, Ginno (JC)will find himself already having feelings for the practicumer. But aside from Dani, Janice (Alessandra) also finds love in Nathan, and disregards James’ (Empoy) feelings for her.
“New tandem, new director, new partnership kaya talagang nakaka-excite itong series,” Piolo noted, adding they already have good rapport.
“Kami ni Arci, we are good friends in real life. Magaling siya kaya when it was offered to me, umoo ako right away. Even with JC naman, nakikita ko na sobrang committed siya craft,” he said. “Of course, with Alempoy (the tandem of Alessandra and Empoy), wala ka ng hihilingin diyan and I’m very thankful na pumayag silang gawin ‘tong show.”
Speaking of Alempoy, Piolo is proud of the tandem’s success especially of their blockbuster film “Kita Kita,” which he, himself, produced under Spring Films.
He thinks it’s about time for the two to be recognized for their talents.
“Alex and I had been in the business for a long time. Si Empoy naman alam naman natin na napaka-talented. Ngayon na may soap na sila, masaya ako kasi alam kong mas marami pa silang pwedeng i-offer. Mas marami pa silang pwedeng gawin,” he said.
Piolo sees Alempoy as “underdogs” but “very pang-masa.”
“It’s a different kind of loveteam. Hindi sila ‘yung typical na napapanuod natin pero since underdog sila, mas makakarelate ka kasi alam mong mas totoo ‘yung binibigay nila. Si Empoy, napaka-organic niyang umarte at excited ako kasi ibang flavor naman ng maibibigay nila sa soap.”
The actor revealed he and Alessandra are working on a script.
“Masyadong malaki din kasi ‘yung ‘Kita Kita,’ so ayaw naming madaliin ‘yung paggawa ng bagong pelikula for them. Ang gusto ko sana mag-grow muna sila on their own. Kailangan ng mas magandang story for them, a story they both deserve.”
“Since I Found You” also stars Carmi Martin, John Lapus, Vivoree Esclito, Isabel Oli, Cholo Barretto, and Michael de Mesa. Produced by Dreamscape Entertainment, it premiers on Primetime Bida.