From playing mother-and-son to lovers, here’s how Rita Avila and Paulo Angeles pulled off MMK “Prologue of Love”

Age is only a number especially when it comes to love. Breathing life into this romance principle, Paulo Angeles and seasoned actress Rita Avila star in an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya titled “Prologue of Love” which centers on their characters’ May-December relationship.

The episode follows the story of a middle-aged woman Ivy, played by Rita, who is unhappy with her married life. She crosses paths with a younger guy, Carlo, who would add more color to her world. The age gap poses conflict, apart from the judging stares of the public and their own families.

It felt strange for Rita and Paulo, who used to play mother-son in Precious Hearts Romances Presents Araw-Gabi, to act as lovers in this episode. They even call each other ‘mommy’ and ‘anak’ in real life, thus the challenge. “Napraning kaming mag-ina. Binasa namin ang script, ang nangingibabaw ‘Isang mainit na eksena.’ Nag-usap agad kami,” said Rita.

Their closeness brought them advantages than downsides. They were comfortable enough to explore the material and work as a team. Rita was always there to help and guide Paulo especially in their romantic scenes. The young actor is also open to learning and is eager to listen to her pointers. He made sure to study the script before the actual shoot.

Besides, they didn’t want to ruin the beautiful tale of a couple with 16-year age gap. “Sabi ko, ’Anak, galingan natin ha. Kalimutan natin na mag-ina tayo kasi ang ganda-ganda talaga ng story na kung sisirain namin, sayang,” Rita added.

It helps that Paulo is passionate about his craft, although he was mostly scared. “Tinatanggal lang niya ‘yung strap ko, nanginginig na siya. Sabi ko, ‘anak, strap lang ‘yan.’ Si Paulo, ang maganda sa kanya, willing siyang matuto, Nagtatanong talaga siya at ‘yun ang unang quality dapat ng isang aktor” she revealed.

Rita added that they made use of their closeness to scrap the discomfort. It helped them mount onscreen chemistry. She asked him to stop calling her ‘Mommy’ on the set.

Paulo recently worked with Ina Raymundo for the iWantTFC series “Me and Mrs. Cruz.” Asked if he’s scared to be typecast as a leading man of more senior actresses, he said he’d even take such roles as opportunities to learn. “Si Mommy [Rita] at si Ms. Ina, mga batikang aktres. So, ako na nagsisimula pa lang, ‘pag nakakasama ko sila, every scene laging may natututunan. Alam kong naga-guide ako. At least, nandu’n sila para turuan ako. Nakakatakot na thankful,” expressed Paulo.

Rita believes MMK “Prologue of Love” will impart lessons about self-love and self-respect as the keys to fulfilment. It also tackled the importance of family support in achieving happiness despite the occasional drama. She added that it takes open-mindedness to help and understand each other.

Paulo, on the other hand, expounded on the age-old saying “Age doesn’t matter.” At the end of the day, what we should consider is the other person’s effect on our growth and happiness. “Huwag na nating isipin ‘yung iniisip ng iba. Pero siyempre huwag naman ‘yung minor. Pero kung older at masaya ka, bakit hindi?” He added, “It’s okay to be in love as long as you’re happy.”

Rita, eight years older than her husband director FM Reyes, can attest that age is just a number when it comes to relationships. What matters is they are both on the same page. They share the same values and goals.

She would further remind youngsters not to rush into love. Keep it easy and do not invest too much in something you know wouldn’t last. “Para sa akin, ‘pag bata ka, more of kapusukan ang dahilan ng pakikipagrelasyon. Sa mga bagets, huwag masyadong pabigla-bigla dahil hindi pa ‘yan. Maghintay kayo ng tamang edad kung saan stable na kayo pareho.”

Catch more love and life lessons in MMK’s special two-part episode “Prologue of Love” this April 10 and April 17 on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and iWantTFC. The episode is directed by Raz Dela Torre.