“Milan,” the 2004 movie that featured the first-time big screen pairing of Claudine Barretto and Piolo Pascual, almost didn’t happen.
According to Star Cinema big boss Malou Santos, brainchild of the film, ABS-CBN President Charo Santos (then executive vice-president) rejected the idea of shooting a movie in Europe (because it’s more expensive) and casting lead stars which she believed had no chemistry.
Even Olivia Lamasan, who Malou tapped to direct the movie, had second thoughts of taking on the project because she initially didn’t see the chemistry between Piolo and Claudine.
Yet Malou fought for the project, going as far as pitching the story to ABS-CBN chairman Gabby Lopez himself. She remembers telling him to see “Milan” as an “initial investment” to further promote The Filipino Channel, the international channel of ABS-CBN, to more audiences.
Malou’s efforts paid off as she obtained Gabby’s approval. “Milan” was well-received by audiences both here and abroad, and even won acting awards for Piolo and Claudine from FAMAS.
“Milan” was the second film that was shot abroad after “Sana Maulit Muli” (1995), which was partly filmed in San Francisco, California.