Another film that depicts the inspiring lives of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will hit UAE cinemas starting August 8. ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ is a Filipino romantic drama helmed by award-winning director Cathy Garcia-Molina and starring box office queen Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards. Bernardo and Richards will grace the UAE premiere ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ on August 9 (Friday) in Dubai and on August 10 (Saturday) in Abu Dhabi.
“This movie shows the colourful lives of our compatriots abroad and their sacrifices for their families here in the Philippines. And through this movie, we are sending a beautiful message. Of course there are struggles being an OFW, but in ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’, we were able to show the different side — the happiness that they will also discover in the country where they are working,” shares Richards in an email interview with Gulf News tabloid!
The movie centres on the love story of Joy played by Bernardo and Ethan portrayed by Richards, who are OFWs based in Hong Kong. Ethan, a bartender, is keen on romantically pursuing Joy, a domestic helper who is wholly dedicated to providing for her family.
The project is one of the major crossover of talents between two rival networks in the Philippines, ABS-CBN or known as Kapamilya and GMA also known as Kapuso. Apart from the two lead stars coming from longtime rival networks, this is also the first major crossover of the top loveteams in the Philippines. Bernardo, 23, has been long-time paired with reel and real life boyfriend Daniel Padilla in a tandem famously known as KathNiel, while 27-year-old Richards has risen to stardom in his ‘AlDub’ loveteam with Maine Mendoza.
“I’m happy and we did both enjoy doing the movie. We really did not expect that we will get along and will be comfortable with each other. It’s really nice to have this tandem because for how many years [it’s been mainly] KathNiel and AlDub,” says Bernardo.
Alden has so much to offer that people have not seen yet and I’m happy that through this movie he was able to show it.
Richards added it was a laudable move by the competing networks to give fans and audiences a good story.
“I really can’t forget what [director] Cathy [Molina] said during the story conference when she saw both microphones of ABS-CBN and GMA. She said pwede pala [it is possible]! Therefore, I hope that this will start different collaborations by different networks, different artists to tell a good story.”
Bernardo and Richards reveal more in this Q&A:
In the past few years, big film productions have been collaborating on various projects like your movie. How does it feel working with known rival networks?
Richards: At first, I really had so many apprehensions. I thought that it would be difficult working in a project because I will be working with people from Star Cinema — from director, to Kath, to the staff and crew. Although I’m not a difficult person to work with. When I work with someone or a group of people, I adjust for them. With this movie, I did not have a hard time because I realised they are not different from the people that I worked with at GMA.
Bernardo: I feel honoured that Alden (Richards) accepted this project. Alden has so much to offer that people have not seen yet and I’m happy that through this movie he was able to show it. There is no wall, whether you are a Kapamilya or Kapuso, we did not feel that on set.
Although you both have been associated mainly with your respective perennial loveteams, many people seem to love your tandem right now. How did you work on that chemistry?
Richards: Yes, true. There is a gut-feel. The first scene that we did for the movie was the first time that we had a scene together. First time for us to have an actual scene. So direk Cathy made a conscious effort to shoot the scenes in chronological order. In a way, it helped me and Kath with our characters — that also applies to Kathryn and Alden, we get to know each other as we do the characters on-screen.
How did you prepare yourself in this movie? Especially as you are portraying the roles of OFWs. Did you have any immersion with the OFWs?
Bernardo: We arrived in Hong Kong morning or noon, then direk Cathy said that we needed to prepare right away to go to Lan Kwai Fong. They looked for a bar there where we can really work as a bartender and as a waitress. The OFWs there taught us how to do the job and that was our first immersion. All of us and in all our shooting days in Hong Kong, it was direct immersion.
Was losing weight a conscious effort?
Richards: Yes, it was. First time I met director Cathy was during the story conference. During the look test, we did a couple of looks then I could sense that she was looking for something; I think she was looking for a jaw line. Then she said: “Alden, come here, look you are fat.” And that’s what drove me to lose weight. After that look test, there was a one-month preparation and then I told her: “Direk, when we see each other again, I won’t look like that.”
What lessons have you learnt from the movie?
Bernardo: I admired the OFWs more. I admire and I’m proud how we Filipinos are working hard. It is different if we are in other countries — we know that being an OFW is hard but Filipinos always find ways to be happy. They are far from their families but you see that they are still happy — taking good care of their “alaga”, how they look after them. We have something special in taking good care of people. Therefore, it makes me happy and proud, but at the same time sad because you can see the sacrifices and hardships that they are facing as OFWs.
Richards: After doing ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’, I saw the beauty in being an actor, doing different characters in real life. The characters that Kath and I embodied. Even if this was shot in Hong Kong, this is a showcase of all the OFWs in the world, and how are they now.
Advice to those who plan to become OFWs and message to the OFWs.
Richards: For those who want or plan to work in other countries, it is really more of a freedom of choice. There is no one who can decide it for you but yourself — not your family and not your friends. Nevertheless, prayers will really help a lot because it will lead you on where you should go.
Bernardo: I cannot say that it is for all. Like for me, I experienced being an OFW for a month and I can say that it is not for me. Of course, there are many opportunities abroad, but there are also good opportunities here in the Philippines. However, some OFWs are lucky enough because they were able to get their families, while some were able to save money but it is not really for everyone because it is not that easy. If you should go, it should be because “I want it”. You do not want to say in the end that you only became an OFW because your family needs it and you will end up sad. You will be the one who will suffer. Yes, you saved money but you are not happy. Do not forget to consider also what we want in life, our choices and what we need. So ask yourself if it is worth the sacrifice, if you really need it, and if you really want it.
As an artist, how can you and this movie serve as a voice of the OFWs?
Richards: OFWs, not only in Hong Kong but all over the world, are so aspirational. And being given a chance to portray that role, which can magnify the lives of OFWs all over the world, is an honour already. I hope that the roles that we have portrayed here will give the younger generation some realisation, because our OFWs now are getting younger and younger. Therefore, this is a little bit of an insight on things that can possibly happen and what they might experience abroad.
Don’t miss it!
‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ releases in the UAE on August 8.
Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards will attend the UAE premiere of Hello, Love, Goodbye on August 9 (Friday) at Reel Cinemas, the Dubai Mall at 11am. They will also be visiting Al Ghurair Centre on the same day at 3pm.
On August 10, the stars will attend a premiere screening at Oscar Cinema, Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, at 10am.