Known for directing unforgettable Star Cinema classics like Got 2 Believe, Milan, In My Life, and The Mistress, Olivia Lamasan admitted she was looking forward to her newest project after more than year’s absence from film making. “Siguro kasi sideline ko ang paggawa ng pelikula (laughs). Hindi, my job really is head of creative at Star Cinema so as such hindi ako makagawa ng ganung kadalas kasi ang dami kong responsibilities sa kumpanya. But they allow me to do [a movie] siguro once every two years. Sa akin that works well with me kasi precisely because for one it’s not my bread and butter. I can choose the materials that I would want to which is really important. I can refuse materials that I do not believe in, hindi ko kasi siya kailangan gawin. Pangalawa, it works well with me because I can give it the time and the effort na pagtuunan siya ng pansin na pagandahin siya talaga kasi nga hindi ko madalas ginagawa,” she said during the Starting Over Again presscon held last February 1 inside ABS-CBN.
Direk Olive or “Inang” as she is affectionately called by the cast and crew, said Starting Over Again is the perfect vehicle for Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga who are being paired together for the first time. “Sabi ko gawin naming comedic yung treatment kasi that’s Toni’s core and then for the longest time I’ve been looking for a material for PJ na palagi kong sinasabi na sa laki ng achievements mo sa buhay, sa laki ng narating mo, parang hindi na kita mahawakan. So naghahanap ako ng isang role para sayo na mararamdaman kita ulit. At masasabi kong, ‘Ah nasaksaktan ka pa rin. Ah, dahil nasasaktan ka, gusto kita yakapin.’ And this is the perfect role for him,” she admitted.
This is just her second film project with Piolo, whom she last directed ten years ago in Milan. “Actually nagsama kami ni PJ Sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako. That’s a TV series 16 years ago. Dun kami unang nagsama. Si PJ has always been very serious, seryoso siya sa trabaho. So kapag meron siyang ginagampanan na role, he would really study it, ask questions, kailangan niyang maramdaman na may ownership tapos siyempre we’re talking of ten years. Nag-mature na siya as a person and nagulat ako kasi masasabi ko na ang laki na ng ini-mature ni Piolo Pascual,” she said.
Known for good quality films, direk Olive said Starting Over Again was a big acting challenge for Toni. “The added challenge to Toni is the fact that she’s playing a character that’s so totally un-Toni in real life. Yung character niya dito is driven pero selfish, self-centered, ambitious but yung maghabol, yung desperadang maghahabol sa isang lalake, that’s so un-her. So while she was shooting, she would always ask, ‘Inang, talaga bang merong babaeng ganyan. Bakit ginagawa ko ito?’ And there were a lot of discussions that happened between us para ma-convince ko siya at maniwala siya sa gagawin niya sa pagbigay niya ng buhay sa isang dark or negative character. Pag kissing scene naman gusto niya umiyak, natutulala buong araw kasi alam niya mamaya kukunan na yung kissing scene niya. Pero pag hindi kissing scene she can do anything, she’s willing to do everything and anything basta kissing ikinakatulala na niya,” she revealed.
Direk Olive even went as far as to refer to one of the scenes in the movie as Piolo and Toni’s “most scandalous love scene ever.” Toni also admitted during the presscon that she even cried after the intimate scene was shot. “Kasi ilang takes, iba-ibang anggulo. Dun ako napabilib talaga, sa sobrang laki ng commitment ni Toni Gonzaga kaya naging maganda yung eksenang yun. Kasi kung hindi, hindi ko na ginawa. She committed herself to doing it that’s why it is what it is now,” she shared.