View From The Wings – Movies
GABBY CONCEPCION AND LORNA TOLENTINO: THE ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE TEAM
by Pablo A. Tariman
In this movie gathering, Lorna Tolentino and Gabby Concepcion exude a light kind of maturity that shows they have come to terms with what life had to offer — onscreen and off.
Both had their share of life-changing transitions in the 80s and 90s and it is probably for the good because their sense of humor is intact, they knew how showbiz changed their respective lives, they knew the demand of their profession and they knew when to give and take.
In the company of a younger love team in the person of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, Gabby waxes nostalgic over those early years when life was good and he quickly evolved from toothpaste model to matinee idol.
“Those were years sound was being recorded on reel tapes and now I don’t know what the difference is between reel and real life is,” he said in an attempt to be funny and witty. “I sure can tell what is going on off screen between the younger love team. The big surprise is that they even manage to project better on screen. They are that professional. I can’t help remembering some chapters in my younger days.”
His love team opposite Sharon Cuneta was of course the most talked about and the ones that produced the most blockbusters.
But Gabby’s team up with Lorna T. in “Narito Ang Puso Ko” in 1993 was also the most rewarding because it yielded an Urian best actor award for him and a grand slam for best actress trophies for her.
Direk Czarina Cruz-Alviar said she was a movie fan and rooted for Gabby during her school days. “Now I am thrilled to be finally directing him,” she said.
With years behind them, Lorna and Gabby found themselves playing ex-lovers in “Crazy Beautiful You.” Lorna rued they didn’t become enduring love team as they were paired with various stars during their time.
Talking about her mother role in her latest film, Lorna finds filmmaking these days very precise and straight to the point. “In the past, it takes sometime before they figure out the complexity of my role. There were constant flashbacks of past lives and how I figure in the present. There is nothing like that in this film. In one sequence, you will know my status as mother and how I relate to my daughter (Kathryn). I can see they have different approach now. They didn’t have to show how the story started and there is no effort to analyze every scene. Ika nga, hindi na kailangan himayin bawat eksena for the benefit of the audience. In one scene, you would know what is going on between me and my daughter. I like brisk film sequence like that. That is the reason why I liked the story at once. In a few seconds, you would know the totality of my role. It keeps you on your toes for the next scene.”
The film was shot around the periphery of Mt Pinatubo and it involved mountain-climbing for most members of the cast. Lorna’s character brings her to this small town where Gabby’s character was town mayor and father of the character played by Daniel Padilla.
Says Lorna: “My character is another mother role with ax to grind against her recalcitrant daughter. Then I saw my character’s former lover in the person of Gabby. It is not easy projecting the emotions needed for the character. But it feels good on the set as the mood is often light and happy. Away from the city, we enjoy little things like asking someone to cook camote for all of us.”
Gabby admits his role is closer to home as the film involves two women with whom he sired children.
Trying to evoke irony, Gabby makes light of the role by saying that in real life, he has no experience needed by his role.
This confession elicited guffaws from the movie press.
He continues: “I am not just a father here. I am also the town mayor. Thanks to family-oriented films, I now get my share of endless father roles. But seriously speaking, you become a better father on film with experience. You know which part of your life you should dig in to do justice to your part. Indeed as someone wise said, life is the best teacher even in acting.”
As veteran actors with awards to their credit, the two can easily define the acting that works and what doesn’t.
Opines Lorna: “The one that works is just by being you. You figure out what is real and what is put-on and apply the best that can help define your character. I don’t go to the set with weeks of preparations for my part. Through the years, I learned to work with any kind of situation and constantly adjusting if by chance there are last-minute changes to the scenes and to your character. Fortunately as I have said earlier, this film had a happy set throughout the shooting. Under this condition, you work better as an actor because there are no negative vibes.”
Gabby adds: “I agree. In the end, you see characters come to life on the set with different stories to tell. It pays to have good vibes while working.”
Their common input is enough to convince one that the once and future love team will endure even with younger love teams emerging.
“Crazy Beautiful You” opens on February 25.