“I heard the story when I was on holiday in Maldives in 2018. It was a story about grief, about loss. Tumatak po siya sa ‘kin. Dinala ko siya pag-uwi ng Manila, November 2018,” actress-writer Bela Padilla shared during a recent media conference the story behind her upcoming movie 366. The story heard abroad was turned into a movie Bela wrote and directed herself. This project is her directorial debut.

Half of the screenplay was written right before Bela got busy with ABS-CBN series Sino Ang May Sala? and her film projects On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets and Mañanita. “I left 366 hanging. When I finished those three projects, doon ko na siya tinuloy,” Bela said. “I completed writing 366 in 2019.”

“I really wanted Liza Soberano to be the lead actress for 366. I even came to a point where I asked for her schedule already. She was doing a TV show at that time also. I think it was Make It With You,” Bela revealed when asked by entertainment writer Leah Salterio if she initially had an actress in mind for the movie. “I inquired for Liza Soberano for this. Pero ‘yun nga po, eventually, the pandemic happened.” Due to the restrictions and limitations, Bela took the role.

The actress-writer turned director also shared that revisions on the script had to be done as she originally planned to have Budapest, Hungary as filming location. “90% of the film was supposed to be shot in Hungary. Lumipat po sa Turkey ‘yung shoot. Turkey, thankfully, was one of the last few countries allowing visitors and filmmakers to shoot. And it was such a blessing in disguise,” she explained. Bela raved about how cinematic the location was especially during the months of their shoot.

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Bela went on to agree that ending up as the lead star of her directorial debut had its merits. “I wouldn’t say better, but definitely different. Since I am older than Liza, I guess my interpretation of grief and love is different. We are at very different stages of our lives so I gave a different interpretation or performance from what she would have given,” she said.

Bela was quick to note that the desire to work with Liza remains. She said, “I would still love to work with her, though. I would still love to see what kind of performance she would give for a project like this. Maybe one day I can work with her.” The multihyphenate also added that she believes that whoever ends up doing a project was meant to do it. She cited 100 Tula Para Kay Stella as an example. While she was not the first choice for the said project, Bela bagged the role in the hit Viva movie.

Catch Bela in a heartwrenching movie that tackles love, grief, and moving on with leading men Zanjoe Marudo and JC Santos. The film is set to stream on Vivamax this April 22, 2022.


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