Here’s why Maine Mendoza wanted to star in a movie with Carlo Aquino

Bea Cupin

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Here’s why Maine Mendoza wanted to star in a movie with Carlo Aquino
'Isa Pa With Feelings' is noteworthy for several reasons

MANILA, Philippines – Maine Mendoza is as honest as they come.

She’s so honest, in fact, that during a media conference to promote her upcoming movie Isa Pa With Feelings, the “Dubsmash Queen” is the first to say that she’d still pick comedy over drama. It’s her “comfort zone” after all, Maine said on Monday, September 30.

But count on Maine to work hard on everything she does – even if it means entering zones miles away from comfort.

In Isa Pa With Feelings, Maine plays Mara, who learns sign language from Gali, played by Carlo Aquino. Sans spoken word (Gali is deaf) and with tons of eye contact and a rather steamy dance number, the two characters fall in love.

In the first trailer for the movie, an emotional Mara tells Gali: “Sana bigyan mo naman ako ng pagkakataon. Mahal na mahal kita eh (I wish you’d give me a chance. I love you so much).”

Carlo, a veteran of heart-wrenching dramas, is the first to praise his Kapuso co-star. If he found it hard to portray deaf person, Carlo said Maine had it even harder – she had to act scenes out both through her voice and through sign language.

It turns out, however, that co-billing a movie Carlo Aquino had always been a dream of Maine’s – especially after she saw Meet Me at St. Gallen, a 2018 movie starring Carlo and Bella Padilla.

Ewan ko. Noong napanuod ko siya, naging crush ko siya nang slight (I don’t know. After watching the movie, I had a slight crush on him),” Maine said, laughing.

Even before the teasing from the crowd could be audible, the comedian quickly added: “Pero pagkalabas ng sinehan, nawala rin naman (But after I left the movie theater, I didn’t have a crush on him anymore).”

But it was his role as Jesse – a man who meets Celeste seemingly serendipitously in different points of his life – that impressed Maine. “Sabi ko, iba siya sa big screen. Kung magkaka-movie ako, sana bigyan ako ng chance na si Carlo yung maka-pair (I told myself, he’s different on the big screen. If I’m given the chance to star in a movie, I’d want to be paired with Carlo),” she said.

Pressure? What pressure

Isa Pa With Feelings is noteworthy for a lot of reasons – it’s going to be Maine’s first romantic drama on the big screen, a major studio release featuring a deaf main character, and the top Kapuso star’s first project with ABS-CBN Films (which Black Sheep is a unit of).

It’s also relative newbie Black Sheeps’ latest offering in time for their first year anniversary (Carlo happens to star in the first movie released under Black Sheep – Exes Baggage with Angelica Panganiban). 

It also comes at the heels of another big ABS-CBN Films product: Hello, Love, Goodbye, which starred two top stars from rival networks – one of them, Maine’s GMA 7 love team partner Alden Richards. Hello, Love, Goodbye, according to ABS-CBN, is the country’s highest-grossing film of all time.

Both Carlo and Maine were asked if Hello, Love, Goodbye’s success means added pressure. True to their cool and calm personas, both Carlo and Maine brushed this off. “Hello, Love, Goodbye was a good movie. We’re also making a good movie, we’re also working hard on this movie,” said Carlo.

Maine said as much; if anything, the pressure comes from herself, the perfectionist, to do well in a genre that’s strange to her.

Isa Pa With Feelings hits cinemas on October 16. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.