From swooning us with his remarkable appearances in the daytime series Playhouse and in the flick “Walwal,” “To Love Some Buddy,” and “Fantastica,” which were all released in 2018, fast-rising young actor Donny Pangilinan is set to thrill us anew with his exciting stint in the upcoming Valentine’s Day movie of Star Cinema – “James & Pat & Dave.”
And before we get to see him again on the big screen this February 12, Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com recently had an exclusive chat with him regarding this project, his experiences while doing it, and his similarities and differences to his latest character.
On being part of James & Pat & Dave
He initially revealed that his inclusion in the film wasn’t sure and it didn’t sink in to him yet until the story conference, which happened almost a year ago. He then disclosed being able to watch “Vince and Kath and James” and got amused to it, which made him extra excited and thankful to be part of its sequel.
“So hayun, napanood ko ‘yong VKJ. Ang ganda ng pelikula so I was very excited to do the sequel for this movie kasi alam ko na hindi nila mapapabayaan ‘to kasi hindi nila pinabayaan ‘yung VKJ. Ang galing ng director, of course, Star Cinema. And grateful lang ako sa trust na binigay nila sa akin,” he said.
The fast-rising multifaceted artist, who just turned 22 years old last February 10, then enthusiastically imparted how he was able to snag the role, which, according to him, was divulged by their scriptwriter during the movie’s press conference.
“Well, siyempre nag-screen test kami. But the scriptwriter said during [the] presscon na habang nagsusulat siya ng script, there was one point na nakita niya ako sa isang lugar dito sa [ABS-CBN] at na-envision niya na ako ang mag-play kay Dave. So siya mismo nagsabi na, ‘Feeling ko si Donny ang maging pwede dito sa role. Hayun, nag-meet kami and sa dulo nag-work out,” he recalled.
This being his first major role in a project under ABS-CBN’s film outfit Star Cinema, Donny feels nothing but gratitude towards the wonderful opportunity bestowed to him.
“Siyempre sobrang grateful ako. Sobrang blessed. First lead role ko sa Star Cinema, so hayun, I’m just thankful for the opportunity and another learning opportunity for me.” He then added how significant this film is for him and his career by saying, “Lahat naman ng project but this one kasi ayun like I said is my first lead role, first Star Cinema. So I would say this is a different step for me. Mas nape-pressure din ako nang kaunti kasi ang dami ring nanood ng VKJ that will probably expect something like that, that genre, that feel for this one. Pero feel ko naman, nakita n’yo naman ang trailer. Hopefully magustuhan nila ang movie at masisiyahan sila this Valentine’s.”
On working with Direk Ted and LoiNie
As we all know, this isn’t his first time working with his co-stars and real-and-reel-life tandem Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte, who are playing Pat and James respectively, for they all used to be part of the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Fantastica.” Thus, he’s able to establish strong bond with them, making their job easier as chemistry was already present among them. However, did he still feel some sort of awkwardness since he’s playing ‘third wheel’ to a real-life couple?
“’Yon din ang tanong sa akin sa storycon pero I always say this – never nilang pina-feel sa akin na third wheel ako. Parang tinuring nila akong kaibigan. Nakakatuwa kasi sa movie, hindi naman sila real couple e. Kami ni Loisa ‘yong may history so medyo iba, medyo gano’n ‘yung dynamics. So sa set, sinadya niya na hindi niya papansinin si Loisa kasi hind pwede na ‘pag napanood nila ang movie, hindi sila pwedeng mukhang real life kasi hindi naman talaga. So ‘yon ang interesting dito,” he related.
On the other hand, it’s his first time to be put under the supervision of premier Kapamilya director Theodore Boborol, who was the one who helmed some of the most well-loved Star Cinema flicks, namely, “Just The Way You Are” (2015), “Vince and Kath and James” (2016), and “Finally Found Someone” (2017). Albeit, Donny easily found himself comfortable collaborating with him.
“Never pina-feel ni Direk Ted na pine-pressure kami. Alam mo ‘yun. Open siya na mag-work together sa mga lines, kung paano namin gagawin ‘to. Ayun sobrang open lang siya so I’m thankful for that. Pati rin si Ronnie at Loisa,” he said.
On his portrayal of Dave
By just watching the trailer that was released more than a week ago, it’s easy for us to assume that his and Loisa’s characters used to have a relationship, which ended because of Dave’s alleged sudden disappearance, or what we currently call as “ghosting.” After a long time, he returns to her life and would do everything he can in hopes of winning her back. Certainly, that won’t be easy, especially with the entrance of Ronnie’s character, James, who also harbored special feelings towards Pat after being with her for quite some time.
Since he never “ghosted” anyone in his entire life just like what Dave did in the film, the iWant ASAP host implied that his latest character is the most challenging role he’s ever done in his three years in the local entertainment scene.
“Kasi ‘yong ibang role, parang may similarity talaga kami e. Dito kasi ang hirap. Never pa naman kasi nang-‘ghosting’ nang gano’n. Parang iba talaga sa characteristics ko kaya medyo nahirapan din ako sa start kasi kailangan ko i-picture ang sarili ko in Dave’s shoes. Kung ano bang nasa isip niya no’ng ginawa niya ‘yon, bakit niya gagawin ‘yon kahit mahal naman niya si Pat. So hayun, ang dami ring gano’ng bagay na iniisip ko. Pero it was fun playing Dave,” he shared.
Another thing that made his portrayal of Dave harder for him was the fact that he was still doing a show then at the same time, which required him to easily shift from one personality to another since his other character brandished totally different tratis.
Despite their differences, Donny stated that there’s still something about Dave that he still finds relatable – his “fighting spirit” in obtaining what he wants and what he thinks he truly deserves.
Moreover, he thinks that viewers will surely relate to his character as well, when it comes to bravely owning up to their mistakes and doing things amid the uncertainties.
“I think it’s important na kung may mali kang ginawa, aaminin mo muna sa sarili mo and willing ka na gumawa ng paraan mabawi ‘yon siguro. Gawin mo ang lahat para mabawi mo ang ginawa mong mali. Kahit minsan imposible, gawin mo pa rin para masabi mo na na-try mo. Of course, do apologize, say sorry. Do admit when you are wrong,” he said.
On his other experiences while doing the film
The well-rounded promising artist also described how he truly felt at home on the set of “James & Pat & Dave,” because aside from being in a happy and chill set, doing the film also awakened the beach lover in him since the whole movie was shot in one of the picturesque beaches in Zambales.
He then gleefully related how he enjoyed riding on an All-Terrain Vehicle whenever the reels were not rolling, which for him was one of his unforgettable memories while doing the film
“I think, off-cam nag-ATV kami sa beach. Parang doon mo makikita na kahit nagtratrabaho kami, meron ding time para magkaroon ng saya rin, na to have fun behind-the-cam. It shows din ang environment namin sa set na sobrang chill lang,” he reminisced.
However, being at the location also posed as a challenge for him considering the distance and having to be locked in there for a week or two.
On what to expect on James & Pat & Dave
Of course, we didn’t let the interview wrap up without asking him on what we should expect about the film, and here’s what Donny had to say:
“First of all, expect to relate to the film kasi everyone, hindi lang may jowa, pati na rin mga single, pati na rin mga mommies and daddies, families, lahat ng aspect ng buhay its covered here sa film. Siyempre Valentine’s season, sobrang perfect ng romcom movie na ‘to for this specific season. And of course, ang daming nangyari sa 2020 simula pa lang ng January. Ang dami nating heaviness, parang puro bad vibes. I know this is the perfect movie to just have more hope and smile. To realize na there are things in life that are greater than our problems and I think this movie will help you realize that.”
Show your love and support for Donny on his first major role under Star Cinema by watching “James & Pat & Dave,” showing on cinemas nationwide beginning February 12!