"An Aga and a Bea in a classic love story."
That's one of the ways acclaimed director Paul Soriano described his newest film "First Love".
"First Love" definitely has the makings of what a classic romance film looks like. You've got the Ultimate Leading Man Aga Muhlach, and the Movie Queen Bea Alonzo -- and both have unrivaled contributions to the showbiz industry. You also have a supporting actor in the form of Edward Barber (who starred in "Loving in Tandem" and "DOTGA: Da One That Ghost Away" this past year) whose charm transcends through the screen.
Needless to say, you have a Direk Paul at the helm of it all, and a beautiful story with nothing less than Vancouver, Canada as its backdrop.
In the film, Bea plays Ali, a photographer who has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a condition where the heart doesn't pump blood effectively), who despite her sickness, remains free-spirited and optimistic. The way she lives her life fascinates Aga's character, Nick, a businessman who always calculates his decisions.
In a bloggers conference held yesterday, September 24, Direk Paul shared how shooting the film was both unforgettable and challenging.
"We pulled something special here," he said, adding how Aga and Bea showed their best in this film. "They're thinking actors. Si Bea overthinks, and si Aga naman, overfeels. So we're trying to find the balance there so hopefully, I was able to give that balance."
Direk Paul also described "First Love" as a film that conveys how love can be expressed in simple, everyday acts.
"It's in the quiet things. It's the things you do that mean the most. It doesn't necessarily have to be big or grand gestures. You know what they say, it's always in the small things," said Direk Paul.
Direk Paul also recalled how much he learned from his actors during the course of their filming.
He commended how prepared Aga and Bea were whenever they stepped on set. "I never really saw them look at the script during the shoot."
Speaking more on working with Aga, he shared, "He was a teacher, for me. He taught me so much about filmmaking. I believe I'm a better filmmaker now having worked with an Aga Muhlach. Because some of the things that he did were natural but I was just, 'Wow. It's real'. The way he analyzes characters, the way he breaks down dialogues, scenes, iba, eh. Parang traditional, good old filmmaking from Aga Muhlach kasi nga he was born from that golden age of cinema."
"Aga is also a perfectionist in a way that if he's not comfortable, he will tell you. He's very honest, he's very vulnerable at the same time," he added.
Meanwhile, Direk Paul felt "a special connection" with Bea.
"I don't know if it's because we have the same birthday. Parang we're very alike. Parang if there's a female me, si Bea 'yun. Kasi perfectionist [siya], she's very prepared. We're thinking the same things eh."
He added, "She's a terrific actress. One of the best of her generation."
Then there's Edward Barber.
Direk Paul has many regards for the 18-year-old actor who plays Simon in his film.
"This kid is definitely gonna be the next best something. He takes his craft very seriously. He's got all the makings to become the best actor. He was very attentive, what I like about him is when I would talk, he would listen but at the same time, he was also collaborating and giving me his concept. For a young actor, that's quite brave. Because usually 'yung mga young actors today they just listen. With Edward, hindi ganun eh."
He continued, "I think challenged din siya kasi he has a lot of scenes with Aga Muhlach. You could see also that he was nervous but he's also using that as a motivation... He's the biggest revelation for me... He was able to pull it off and to be able to match an Aga Muhlach, and to be able to carry a scene with Aga Muhlach and Bea Alonzo, parang he's been doing it for many years, so the kid's got a great future and hopefully I get to work with him in a bigger role. He does play a support here, but it's a very significant supporting role. It's not to be missed."
You can watch the full bloggers conference here:
"First Love" is produced by TEN17P together with Star Cinema and Viva Films. It opens in cinemas this October 17, which happens to be the birthday of Direk Paul, Bea, and Star Cinema managing director Olivia M. Lamasan.
More stories here:
Astronaut meets photographer: Aga and Bea are too cute in 'First Love' trailer
The moment Aga realized 'I would love to work with Bea'
LOOK: Aga Muhlach, Charlene Gonzales shower Bea Alonzo with love
LOOK: Aga, Bea unexpectedly find romance in ‘First Love’ teaser