Nadine Lustre during a press conference in the Dubai Mall, at the Reel Cinema Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

JaDine fans flocked to the Dubai Mall on Wednesday night to see the other half of the popular Philippine love tandem JaDine, Nadine Lustre, who’s in town to talk about her latest flick.

Despite the short notice, a section of the mall’s cinema lobby quickly swelled with hundreds of screaming fans as Lustre, wearing a dark blue, off-shoulder onesie, emerged for an hour-long meet and greet.

“It’s great to be back,” Lustre said.

Speaking of her loyal fans, some of whom had taken leave from work and waited for hours at the venue, she said, “I’m really blessed,” drawing more cheers. “They love us very much and we love them.”

Lustre’s new film Never Not Love You — out now in the UAE is a romantic drama about young lovers who try to build a life together until career opportunities send them out of the country.

It’s been nearly two years since fans saw JaDine — the real-life partnership of Filipino stars Lustre and James Reid — on the big screen, following their 2016 movie This Time.

Wednesday night’s reception showed how fans have been clamouring to see the love team back once again on the silver screen.

The tandem performed in a concert at the World Trade Centre last year as part of the JaDine in Love: The World Tour concert. Reid, though, could not join Lustre for this trip.

“He’s in Manila,” Lustre explained. “He’s got work to do.”

In Never Not Love You, the 24-year-old Lustre plays Joanne Candelaria, an ambitious career woman who works in the advertising industry. James Reid portrays Gio Smith, a freelance graphic artist who moonlights as a tattoo artist.

Joanne’s got her life goals set, which includes a five-year plan for her career, while Gio is an uninhibited soul who describes himself to Joanne as someone who “chooses to be happy”.

“Joanne is a very career-driven woman. I think that’s where Joanne and me are the same. I am very focused when it comes to my work and what I do,” she said.

And what do they not have in common?

“Her attitude. In the movie she’s impatient. I’m the opposite,” she said

Lustre said Gio’s character is the complete opposite of Reid.

“It’s very very different because Gio is short tempered. He is a bad boy and he’s very reckless. James is the complete opposite of Gio,” she said.

Lustre, who has starred with Reid in box-office hits like Dairy ng Panget, Talk Back, You’re Dead and Para sa Hopeless, said Never Not Love You helped the duo “take [their acting] to the next level”.

“We’re done with the teeny-bopper roles, the romcoms,” she said, adding that the movie is “so real” because “most of the lines were improvised and impromptu.”

Lustre says the movie explores the dilemma of being stuck between love and career. She offered her take when faced with such big decisions.

“Just keep everything simple,” she said. “The more you make everything complicated, the more you will put stress on the relationship or on the work. It’s going to be so much stressful for the both of you. If the relationship is not working, then you shouldn’t push it. Maybe you are not meant to be together or if the work is not working for you, maybe there’s another opportunity. You can’t really force things if it’s not meant to happen,” said Lustre.

The movie also tackles the challenges of long-distance relationships, although Lustre said she has not been in such a situation herself.

“I’ve never been into a long-distance relationship, but I think the only thing that matters is trust,” she said.

The movie is written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone, who has collaborated with the love duo for the third time following the hit television series On the Wings of Love and Till I Met You.

Don’t miss it!

Never Not Love You is now showing in the UAE.