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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 15, 2022



XIAN LIM and reel and real life GF Kim Chiu are reunited on the big screen after 8 long years. Their last film was “All You Need is Pagibig”. Now, they’re together again in Viva’s “Always”, a remake of a hit 2011 Korean film that was also remade in Japan, Turkey and India. 

Kim plays Ana, a blind girl, just like the leading lady in the classic Chaplin film, “City Lights”, and Xian plays Lino, a boxer who will help her see again. 

“Always” is about love and sacrifice. It’s directed by Dado Lumibao, who has also completed another movie for Viva, “The Wedding Dress” starring Cristine Reyes. So what are the changes they made in the local version? 

“We were faithful sa flow ng narrative ng original,” says Direk Dado Lumibao. 

“But we put in more kilig factor and also, mas ginawa namin siyang dramatic toward the end to adapt it for the Filipino sensibility. 

"Our characters are more human, you can feel the pain and struggle that they go through.”

How are Kim and Xian in the lead roles? 

“They are both very good in the movie. It helps na sila talaga in real life so comfortable na talaga sa isa’t isa. 

"They give their most mature performance in ‘Always’ and I’m so happy that so far, lahat ng nakapanood ng film, ang feedback is napakagaling nilang dalawa. Their acting is so natural and it’s so much fun working with them.”

We ask Xian how it feels to be reunited with Kim in “Always”?  

“First shooting day namin, parang nagkahiyaan pa kami kasi iba talaga ang environment ng paggawa ng pelikula kaysa teleserye,” he says. “But once naumpisahan, we both felt good to be back doing something for the big screen.”

How did Xian prepare for the movie and his role as boxer? 

“Most of our movies before were romantic comedies, like ‘Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo?’ and ‘Bride for Sale’. Now, we’re doing something very dramatic at maraming iyakan. 

"First, we watched the Korean version. Siempre, we don’t want our movie to be just a copy of the original. We put in our personal flavor. 

"For my role as a boxer who goes to underground street fighting, I had to work out hard to make sure ready yung katawan ko, kasi I want to do all the fight scenes myself in the Laban ni Lino sequences.”

Direk Dado says he tried to stop Xian in doing the fight scenes. 

“Kasi natatakot ako dahil binabalibag siya sa sahig, sabi ko baka mabalian. E ayaw paawat, gusto siya mismo ang gumawa so sabi ko, bahala ka, malaki ka na. In all fairness, na-carry naman niya lahat ng mahirap na eksena.”

Supporting Xian and Kim in “Always” are Joko Diaz as Xian’s friend and former manager, Gab Lagman as the 3rd wheel in the Xian-Kim relationship, Yayo Aguila as a nun who takes care of Xian after he gets badly beaten up,

Carlene Aguilar and Jojo Abellana as the parents of Kim, Lander Vera Perez as Kim’s boss who tries to molest her, Ali Kathibi as Xian’s rival boxer, Ivan Padilla as the streetfighting operator, 

Vincent Soberano as Xian’s coach and Jess Evardone as a guy who owes Xian money but eventually changes his life. Don’t miss “Always” when it opens in theatres on September 28.