After first directing Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo in the Primetime Bida series Got To Believe, director Cathy Garcia-Molina admitted she first had her reservations working with the teen love team. “Ayaw ko makatrabaho si Daniel bago mag-Got To Believe. Alam niya yun. I've been hearing horror stories. Kasi si Kathryn mabait eh ang chismis. But ito bad boy talaga ang chismis. So when I met them, mali lahat I have proven that these two will die with you doing this film. They will offer more than what they can and kasi grabe nakita ko sila magpuyat, nakita ko silang maghirap at almost magkasakit. Pero naiiyak ako kasi hindi na sila bata, they have grown along with the characters that they've portrayed. They have grown and they have learned to love what they do and I love them so much for that,” she shared.
While working with them in the series and the movie, direk Cathy said she is witness to their growth as actors. “Sa Got to Believe nagpakita naman yung dalawa ng ability nila na magpakilig. I am so proud of Kathryn na she is now able to make me laugh also kaya puwede na siya ma-classify as rom-com kasi may comic timing na po silang dalawa and more. Sobrang favorite ko ang talent ni Kath sa kanyang eyes. Pero this movie it's not just a story about teenagers, that's why we had to do some changes para hindi lang teens. We had to show kung paano ang isang puppy love can turn into a great love,” she explained.
In She's Dating The Gangster, direk Cathy said DJ and Kath were the only choice to play the roles of Kenji and Athena. “No other pair. Sila lang talaga yung para dito and prior to this I really went up to Tita Malou Santos of Star Cinema and said, 'I want to do a movie with them after Got To Believe because I saw the potential in them and I saw that they can be more than just a teenybopper love team.' I know they can do more and in this film they have proven to be worthy to be called actors,” she said. She also explained why DJ's look in the movie was so different, earning him comments online that he looked more like an “albularyo” (or faith healer) rather than a gangster. “Ang peg talaga namin dito si Johnny Depp at saka si Axl Rose (of the ‘90s rock band Guns and Roses). Kaya sila naman talaga ay naka-ganun din noon tapos kasama naman sa kuwento ang mahabang buhok so hayaan niyo ng albularyo ang anak ko. Pinaka guwapong albularyo naman (laughs),” she added.
Even with Kathiel's rising popularity, direk Cathy said it would be wrong to compare them to other popular movie love teams like John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo whom she also directed in Star Cinema blockbuster movies. “I think John Lloyd-Sarah will always be John Lloyd-Sarah and Kathniel is different. Panget kasi mag-compare eh. Pero I suppose may ma-i-o-offer ang Kathniel na iba, magkaiba sila. They may do the same genre, they may be able to do the same kind of kilig but they're different. Iba din ang mga batang ito and I'm so happy lang na nagpakita sila ng lalim sa pelikulang ito,” she said.
One of the most unforgettable experience of the cast and crew of She's Dating The Gangster was their early morning trek in Mayon volcano in order to shoot a sunrise scene. “Malaking parte ng kuwento namin doon ginawa sa Albay. Kung tutuusin puwede naman namin i-shoot kahit saan pero we really went there. It was really difficult. Kasama dun yung pagtanggap ng mga taga-Legazpi sa dalawa, halos hindi kami maka-shoot sa dami ng tao pero sumunod din naman sila, napakiusapan. Pero malaking chunk ng kuwento namin at highlight nasa Mayon sa Legazpi. Walang ilaw talaga paakyat dun, in fact they don't do it. Nakiusap ang talaga kami to be able to capture yung sunrise we have to be there ahead of time. Eh wala talagang ilaw so yung ilaw lang ng ATV yung andun. Ako yung nagmamaneho tapos medyo matarik tapos merong mga times na makitid so puwede ka malaglag. May mga sakay ako sa likod. Eh mahina yung mga mata ko so pinag-drive ko si Ian Veneracion (laughs). Kasi medyo scary siya tapos dumating kami dun gabi pa po talaga,” she said.