MANILA, Philippines – Antoinette Jadaone's 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entry, All You Need is Pag-ibig, is most definitely star-studded, but it did go through problems with casting early on. (WATCH: 'All You Need is Pag-ibig' official trailer released)
Leading lady Kris Aquino initially backed out. The original leading man, Kris' ex and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista then backed out, before an announcement that Kris was back in. Derek Ramsay was included in the cast, replacing Herbert. (READ: Herbert Bautista out of MMFF movie with Kris Aquino)
Now that the film is to be released soon, reporters asked Tonette about how she felt about her final product, in light of the casting issues. Tonette answered questions with some members of the cast at the movie's press conference on December 8. (READ: Kris Aquino to star in movie with ex Herbert Bautista)
According to her, even though they had problems with casting, the most important thing, for her, was kept intact.
"'Yung sa akin, parang mas gusto ko na ma-preserve yung story. Tapos kung sino 'yung gaganap, papagtulungan namin para yung vision ko at nung writers at nung creative team doon sa story, nandoon pa rin," she said. "So para sa akin, kung nagpalit-palit man ng casting, basta yung vision ko doon sa pelikula nandoon pa rin."
(For me, I prefer that the story is preserved. And then whoever plays the role, we'll help him so that my vision – and the vision of the writers and creative team – of the story is still there. So for me, even though the casting changed, my vision for the movie was still there.)
When pressed about whether it was still the same movie as the original one starring Kris and Herbert, Tonette answered, "Nandoon pa rin yung... mismong core ng love story, napunta sa – parang nag-branch out lang siya. Kasi dati isang love story lang eh."
(The core of the love story is still there, it went – it's like it just branched out. Because before, it was just one love story.)
Tonette admitted that Derek does not necessarily play Herbert's role in that one love story.
A reporter then asked her to shed light on rumors that Kris' role has been minimized in the film because of the changes made. Tonette was asked if it was true that Kris just "bookends" the movie.
"Ay, hindi po," Tonette said, giving a small laugh. "Actually si Kris, siya yung, siya si Pag-ibig kasi, si Kris. Siya si Love. So yung characater niya, natotouch niya yung lahat ng love stories. So parang siya yung ayun, siya yung may connect sa love stories ng lahat."
(Actually, Kris is Love. So her character, she touches all the love stories. So she's the one that connects all the love stories.)
All You Need is Pag-ibig follows its cast of characters and their intertwined lives as they make their way through all kinds and stages of love.
Kris first backed out of doing the movie in October, taking to Instagram to explain why. She first said that it was because after "endless compromising" on her part, her preferred cinematographer couldn't work on the film. (Kris Aquino clarifies why she left MMFF film, denies influencing Herbert's 2016 plans)
She later explained that she actually opted to back out of the film because of her "tumultuous relations" with its former leading man, Herbert. "I was so apprehensive about shooting MMFF w/ him that I posted my misguided feelings of hurt & directed them towards Star Cinema," she wrote.
Soon after, it was revealed that Herbert was out and Kris was back on board, with actor Derek starring opposite her.
Other stars working with Kris and Derek on the film are Xian Lim and Kim Chiu, and Ian Veneracion and Jodi Sta Maria. Aside from these love teams, the romantic comedy also features child actors Julia and Talia Concio, and Kris' son Bimby.