JMde Guz­man on why it ‘isn’t dif­fi­cult to fall in love’ with costar Rhian Ramos

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Marinel R. Cruz

At first, ac­tor JM de Guz­man said he found Rhian Ramos, his costar in the new film “Kung Paano Siya Nawala,” in­tim­i­dat­ing.

“To be hon­est, I felt in­tim­i­dated by her in the be­gin­ning. I had a hard time look­ing into her eyes,” JM ad­mit­ted. “I later re­al­ized she is ac­tu­ally very hum­ble and down-to-earth.”

The ac­tor fur­ther ob­served that Rhian “isn’t dif­fi­cult to fall in love with. That’s why it’s also easy to work with her.”

“On the set, she is pas­sion­ate and very giv­ing as a coac­tor. It also helped that we’ve had sev­eral in­tense work­shops with Joel (Ruiz, their di­rec­tor) be­fore we started film­ing. We had a lot of bond­ing mo­ments,” he added.

“Kung Paano Siya Nawala,” which JM co­pro­duced un­der TBA Stu­dios, tells the story of Lio, a quiet and with­drawn young man who finds it dif­fi­cult to con­nect with other peo­ple due to his af­flic­tion: face blind­ness—a cog­ni­tive dis­or­der char­ac­ter­ized by an in­abil­ity to rec­og­nize faces.

But the in­hib­ited Lio finds him­self open­ing up to the world when he falls in love with Shana (Rhian), a beau­ti­ful free spirit who has se­crets of her own. Lio’s unique con­di­tion—and the bag­gage that comes with it—brings a com­pli­cated twist to their love story.

JM ex­plained why he ended up be­ing its co­pro­ducer. “The film went through a lot of things be­fore its cast­ing was fi­nal­ized. It was re­ally a has­sle but Direk fought hard for the film. It came to a point when we all agreed to help each other just so the project would push through.”

He added that, in choos­ing a project, “what mat­ters to me are the ma­te­rial and the peo­ple I will be work­ing with.”

Joel, who cowrote the script, said he was grate­ful to JM and Rhian for be­liev­ing in the project, “for car­ing enough that they ac­tu­ally in­vested in it, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively.”

He added that face blind­ness has been tack­led in other movies abroad, but not lo­cally. “It serves as the hook of the story, but the movie is all about per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences,” he said.

Joel said that in his re- search, he came across peo­ple who claimed to be af­flicted with the con­di­tion. “They couldn’t as­so­ciate peo­ple’s faces with their names,” he ex­plained. “I also got to talk to a lot of neu­rol­o­gists. Here in the Philip­pines, doc­tors have yet to di­ag­nose a per­son with the con­di­tion, prob­a­bly be­cause we don’t have the means to do it here.”

The difficulty in mak­ing the film was that there was no ac­tual lo­cal re­search, the wri­ter­di­rec­tor said. “We used our cre­ative li­cense for this one, but they’re all based on doc­u­men­ta­tions of the con­di­tion.”

JM is now busy pro­mot­ing “Kung Paano Siya Nawala” (opens Nov. 14), his big-screen project af­ter the suc­cess­ful run of his af­ter­noon drama se­ries “Araw Gabi” on ABS-CBN.

“What I have now is enough for me to not go back to my old ways,” he de­clared.

The ac­tor had been to a drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity twice for al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. “What’s wrong about me then was that I wasn’t ap­pre­cia­tive of the things I was given. That’s why when I en­coun­tered prob­lems, be it big or small, I would fall down,” JM ex­plained.

“I didn’t give value to what I had back then. Now, with the op­por­tu­ni­ties I was given when I re­turned to show biz, I feel that I have more than enough,” he said.

Rhian Ramos (left) and JM de Guz­man

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