In her latest film Love You to the Stars and Back, scriptwriter and director Antoinette Jadaone quite literally explores an entirely different territory.
The film, which stars on-screen and rumored real-life sweethearts Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia, tells the story of a young woman who goes on a road trip in search of extraterrestrial beings, but meets an ailing young man whom she inadvertently falls for along the way.
During a recent media conference, the ‘blockbuster hugot director’ who blazed into mainstream popularity through the 2014 Cinema One Original film That Thing Called Tadhana, shared how and when the concept for Love You to the Stars and Back began.
“Nabuo ko yung concept 2 to 3 years ago kasi na-obsess ako sa lo-fi sci-fi genre na hindi pa masyadong pumapasok sa Pilipinas noon, meaning sci-fi na concept pero wala siya talagang big special effects budget pero the story is sobrang intimate lang.”
(This concept was created 2 to 3 years ago because I got obssessed with the sci-fi genre that was not really a hit in the Philippines that time. Meaning it was a sci-fi concept that really had no big special effects budget, but the story is very intimate.)
She continues, “So naisip ko what if may isang babae na naniniwala sa aliens and gustong makakaita ng aliens, and may makilala siyang lalaki sa journey na yun?”
(So I thought, what if there's this girl who believes in alies and wants to see them, and meets a guy in her journey?)
Fairly recent and more popular foreign films that fall under the lo-fi sci-fi umbrella are Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia and Spike Jonze’s screenwriting debut, Her.
Not your typical romance flick
Jadaone admits that despite the experience she has garnered over the years through various film and television projects, Love You to the Stars and Back still posed quite a challenge and is extraordinary in more ways than one. For starters, it’s not the typical rom-com or hugot flick Star Cinema delivers.
' Screengrab from YouTube/ABS CBN Star Cinema
“It’s a challenge because sobrang nagulat ako that a concept like this was approved by Star Cinema. I needed to make sure that this would work. It’s a story that’s close to my heart. We fought for this concept so nakaka-challenge na puwedeng maging pelikula sa Star Cinema 'yung ganito na dalawang tao lang talaga yung nag-uusap," she said.
(It’s a challenge because I was surprised that a concept like this was approved by Star Cinema. I needed to make sure that this would work. It’s a story that’s close to my heart. We fought for this concept so it was a challenge that this film, with the type of story where it’s only two people talking the whole time, would be made under Star Cinema.)
Around 80% of the scenes involve the two lead stars. “They just meet people along the way. Road trip movie,” said Jadaone.
“May love story. We didn’t have a best friend. We had families ni Mika and Caloy pero the usual na big grand gesture of love, hindi siya yung ganun (it's not like that). Tama lang siya para dun sa kuwento (It's just right for the story).”
Love You to the Stars and Back is Antoinette's first film since concluding directorial duties for the primetime soap Till I Met You. By the time she started working on the project, she was practically begging for the complications, rewards, and challenges of completing a full-length film.
She explains, “Yung Till I Met You it was 8 months, I think. So I wasn’t doing film work. I wasn’t writing scripts. When Till I Met You ended, parang I really, really wanted to make a film right after.”
“I wanted to go back to my first film days ko; yung creative process ko, binalikan ko. I will not start this movie until I make a draft that I’m proud of.”
Garcia’s character in the film, Caloy, has cancer, and is based on a real-life individual. To maintain consistency and accuracy, Jadaone did tons of research for her script and even consulted oncologists and a bone marrow transplant specialist. She went as far as asking 2 doctors to go over her script, and ended up with 3 drafts before she could finally move on to the next phase.
For Antoinette, however, all the extra effort was worth it.
“It was like making my first film again. Siguro ganun talaga when you get a chance to do a film that you really like,” she said in conclusion.
Love You to the Stars and Back is now showing in cinemas nationwide. – Rappler.com