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Piolo and Toni ‘Starting Over Again’

STAR Cinema finally achieved what seemed to be impossible as two of ABS-CBN’s biggest and most bankable stars, Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga team up for the very first time in Olivia M. Lamasan’s Starting Over Again.

The film is part of Star Cinema’s 20th anniversary and its grand celebration will not be complete without a film by Lamasan, who is one of the film outfit’s master storytellers.

This year, Star Cinema, along with Lamasan and scriptwriter Carmi Raymundo, dares to serve a different kind of love story. The director says the film will address a plethora of realistic issues on romantic relationships, “The film aims to shed light on the real meaning of ‘starting over.’ It gives us an alternative definition on new beginnings and second chances.”

Raymundo says they wanted to develop a romantic film with a twist. “We wanted a film centered on ‘exes.’ We wanted to tell the story of former lovers who will see and encounter each other for the very first time after their break-up,” she explains.

Starting Over Again is about a couple that fell in love with each other, broke-up despite passionate feelings for each other. They meet again after a long separation which leads them to ponder on the reason why their paths crossed and wonder whether they would settle their unfinished business or not.

Piolo and Toni first collaborated in a popular TV commercial 13 years ago where the handsome Piolo was the subject of a young Toni’s affection. A quirky Toni, who shouted to the top of her lungs “I love you Piolo” and a dashing Piolo made a huge contribution to the history of Philippine advertising. The commercial was instantly effective and immediately gained nationwide and mainstream popularity.

Since then, Piolo and Toni went separate ways. Piolo went on to build a career as one of the country’s finest young actors, conquering not only the film and television industries but also the fields of music and live performance as well. Toni on the other hand became a multi-media star excelling as a television host, recording artist, concert performer, and ultimately a box-office queen in Philippine movies.

Starting Over Again signifies a lot of “firsts” not only for the film’s director but for the actors as well. “I can’t contain my happiness when I learned that I will be working with Inang Olive and PJ,” says Toni. “Finally, after 13 years Piolo and I will be reunited and this time in an Olivia Lamasan movie. Piolo is a dear friend of mine and it’s a wonderful experience to finally work with him in a full-length movie. Inang Olive is one of the country’s finest directors and it has always been my dream to work with her ever since I started in the business.”

Piolo, who last worked with Lamasan in Milan, is nothing short of ecstatic to be reunited with one of his favorite directors and to be working with Toni for the very first time. “It’s been 10 years since Direk Olive and I did Milan. It’s always a learning experience with Inang. Learning with her just never ceases. I can’t pass on the opportunity to work with Inang again.”

Toni on the other hand is a great inspiration for Piolo. Toni was very young when we first worked together in that TV commercial,” says Piolo. “Now she is all grown up and she is so beautiful. Toni is a beautiful person inside and out. She’s very sensitive and she has learned a lot of wonderful things through  the years. It’s an awesome experience to work with her because her passion is unbelievable. She loves her craft very much and she loves what she’s doing.”

“I’ve been looking forward to a film like this for the longest time,” says Lamasan. “I love doing something romantic and light like this although technically this is a romantic-drama. I also feel honored that I directed Piolo and Toni in their first movie together. A lot of people have been waiting for their big-screen, collaboration and this is truly historic.”

As for Piolo and Toni, Lamasan is all praises. She reveals that Piolo stayed humble despite the many achievements that he has accomplished since Milan. “Piolo’s professionalism and dedication as an actor never changed. He is a very generous actor who is always hungry to learn new things about his craft.”

Lamasan openly admitted that she is a big fan of Toni. “She is such a joy to work with. I have always been a fan of hers since I saw her in Joyce Bernal’s D’ Anothers. She is a great actress as she can do big dramatic scenes and make people laugh hysterically at the same time. Her timing is perfect. Toni always commits to every scene and she becomes the character she portrays.”

Also starring in this once-in-a-lifetime film are Iza Calzado, Joross Gamboa, Bryan Santos, Beauty Gonzales, Cai Cortez, and Edgar Allan Guzman.

Iza, who also worked with Lamasan and Piolo in Milan, feels that after several years, she has come full circle because she has been given another opportunity to work with Lamasan and Piolo. “It’s one big reunion for all of us. I also feel so happy that finally I have worked with Toni because I’m such a huge fan of hers. I have always admired Toni and working with her is an experience that I will always treasure.”

Starting Over Again is showing in all cinemas nationwide starting Wednesday.

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