7 fun facts about the ElNella movie ‘My Fairy Tail Love Story’

Precious del Valle
7 fun facts about the ElNella movie ‘My Fairy Tail Love Story’
Regal Films' Valentine's Day offering is not just another mermaid-themed story, says director Perci Intalan

MANILA, Philippines – It’s not hard to see why humans have always been obsessed with mermaids: they’re these strong, magical, and beautiful creatures that get to explore the sea’s infinite mysteries. Not to mention, they always end up going on epic adventures in search of their one true love. Classic, right?

Over the years, there have been several mermaid-themed movies and TV series. Dyesebel alone, a character created by Mars Ravelo in the 1950s, was adapted into 6 movies and two television shows. Anne Curtis was the last actress to play the titular role in 2014.

This year, Janella Salvador is the latest star to trade in her legs for a mermaid’s tail in Regal Entertainment’s My Fairy Tail Love Story.

The movie follows Chantel (Janella), a spoiled brat who was cursed to be a mermaid after she disturbed corals under the sea. With the help of her best friend Noah (Elmo Magalona), she goes on a journey to find her Prince Charming, thinking that the spell can only be broken by true love’s kiss. Chantel, however, soon realizes that love is not as simple as fairy tales make it out to be.

Curious to know more? Check out 7 fun facts about My Fairy Tail Love Story:

1. My Fairy Tail Love Story is said to give an “unpredictable twist” to your usual mermaid story.

Director Perci Intalan believes that there will always be an audience for mermaid-themed shows. He, however, acknowledged that after countless retellings, these stories could be formulaic in nature. That is why, when they were working on the screenplay, they made sure to make the story “unpredictable” without losing the very elements that make it a classic.

For one, unlike your typical fantasy movie, there’s no villain in the story, no larger-than-life battle between the forces of good and evil.

“Sometimes, like in real life, ‘di naman kailangan eh. Sometimes, ‘yung kontrabida are the circumstances na pinagdadaanan mo na you have to overcome,” Perci explained.

(Sometimes, like in real life, you don’t need a villain. Sometimes, the antagonists are the circumstances that you have to overcome.)

MERMAID TAIL. Chantel (Janella Salvador) screams in horror after getting cursed with a mermaid's tail.

2. My Fairy Tail Love Story is meant to give you that Disney vibe.

Perci takes pride in the way they were able to set the tone and the mood of the film through meticulous color grading. Taking inspiration from Disney, he shared that they wanted the underwater scenes to be as magical as possible, almost as if you were watching an animated movie.

'LITTLE MERMAID' VIBE. Director Perci Intalan says he infused a bit of Disney vibes into the movie.

3. My Fairy Tail Love Story was shot in several locations.

Although most of the underwater scenes were taken in Anilao, Batangas, Perci said the beach scenes were taken in Zambales and Pangasinan. Some underwater shots were also taken in Tubbataha Reef, Palawan. According to the director, it was definitely challenging to make it look like all of the shots were taken in one location.

4. Expect a bit of singing.

Although Chantel didn’t lose her voice entirely after the curse, she was forced to communicate only by singing. For those who aren’t really fans of the musical genre, the director promised that, at most, My Fairy Tail Love Story is only “20% musical.” He, however, hinted that there’s a major musical scene.

“Markadong markado ‘pag dumating ka do’n sa kanta. It’s just that one song pero maganda ‘yung pagkakaareglo,” he said.  

(The singing makes a mark. It’s just that one song but the arrangement was good.)

THE CAST. Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona pose with Kiray Celis, Kiko Estrada, and director Perci Intalan during the press conference of the movie. Photo by Precious del Valle/Rappler

5. Janella had to overcome claustrophobia, the fear of small or enclosed spaces, while filming.

Despite taking swimming, diving, and mermaid lessons, Janella recalled that she still felt anxious while in a 14-foot dive pool.

“Pinapunta nila ako sa ilalim eh medyo claustrophobic po kasi ako so kinakabahan ako, pag nando’n ako sa pinakababa,” she recalled.

(They made me go to the deepest part of the pool and I was quite claustrophobic, so I got nervous when I was down there.)

During the press conference, it was also revealed that they had 3 custom designs for Janella’s mermaid tail: one made of rubber which she used underwater, one for land, and another made of thinner material for scenes that required her to use her legs.

UNDERWATER. Janella underwent swimming lessons for her role as a mermaid.

6. My Fairy Tail Love Story got the late Maryo J. delos Reyes’ seal of approval.

Although the movie failed to make it to last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Perci shared that he was more than happy to receive positive feedback from the late director, who was also one of the MMFF Executive Committee members.

“He texted me one night and said, ‘I saw your film. You have a beautiful film. Congratulations!'” Perci recalled.

“So, parang feeling ko, ‘Okay! Nagandahan naman pala siya.’ Alam ko naman na maraming factors pagpili ng [mga kasali sa] film festival so naging at ease na ‘ko no’ng nalaman ko na nagandahan naman pala si Direk Maryo,” he added.

(So, I felt like, “Okay! He liked the film.” I know there were many factors in choosing films for the festival, so I felt at ease when Direk Maryo said he liked it.)

7. My Fairy Tail Love Story marks ElNella’s big screen debut.

After their love team was launched in ABS-CBN’s primetime TV series Born For You in 2016, Janella and Elmo are now ready to make their big screen debut. According to Perci, working with ElNella was a breeze because of their effortless chemistry as actors.

FILM DEBUT. 'My Fairy Tail Love Story' is Janella and Elmo's first movie as a tandem.

“It made my job easier that I didn’t have to fabricate the chemistry between them. It was really very natural,” the director said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Catch My Fairy Tail Love Story in cinemas nationwide on Valentine’s Day, February 14. – Rappler.com

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