Focus on the Philippines: Delays beset new Nadine Lustre-James Reid film

Plus: Cynthia Alexander releases new album; Filipino-Belgian contestant heads to Miss Universe; Filipino film Babylon selected for Berlin festival.

Director Antoinette Jadaone with stars James Reid and Nadine Lustre. Courtesy Star Cinema
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Fans of Nadine Lustre and James Reid, two of the most popular actors in the Philippines, will have to wait for a bit more time until the release of the couple's new feature film. Their latest project, titled Never Not Love You, has encountered multiple production delays to the point that its director, Antoinette Jadaone, has publicly expressed her frustration on social media.

Posting on Twitter last Saturday, Jadaone said she woke up early to head to her film’s shoot, only to be told that it had been cancelled. Jadaone did not provide any other details.

On Monday, Jadaone followed her message with an entry on her personal blog. In a post titled “Anti-Climactic”, she referred to the film as “#foolishmovie”: “Filming for #foolishmovie is becoming erratic. Too bad, we already had momentum. More and more shooting days cancelled —  some reasons more heartbreaking than others, so heartbreaking they make me cry. I’m just worried.” Jadaone added that she might be better off moving on to her other planned film projects.

On Tuesday, Lustre seemed to have responded to Jadaone’s laments, posting on Instagram an image of a spinal X-ray with the caption: “Diarrhoea, fever, severe back pain since last Friday. That’s all you need to know.”

The entertainment website Philippine Entertainment Portal reported that the film's two-day shoot last weekend was apparently cancelled due to Reid's request, after the actor had a late night on Friday at a party.

Fans of Lustre and Reid have been eagerly awaiting the new film. The two actors, a couple in real life, last appeared on the big screen in 2016's blockbuster romantic drama This Time.

Jadaone directed Lustre and Reid in their television series Till I Met You in 2016 and On the Wings of Love in 2015.

Reid is working on another film project, a remake of the 2014 South Korean comedy-drama Miss Granny. Directed by Joyce Bernal, the film is also headlined by Sarah Geronimo. On Wednesday, Bernal posted on Instagram the first clip from the movie featuring the two stars.

Cynthia Alexander releases new album

At a concert in Manila's Music Museum last weekend, Filipino folk-rock singer Cynthia Alexander delighted her fans by launching her latest album titled Even Such Is Time — the fifth in a successful career that started in the early 1990s.

The Saturday concert was dubbed a “homecoming show” for Alexander, who has been based in Seattle, Washington in recent years. Being away from the Philippines has given her “space” to write and record new songs, Alexander told her audience.

Reviewing the album for ABS-CBN News, music writer Rick Olivares wrote: “It has been nine years since Alexander’s last album, the live Walk Down the Road, and close to 13 years since she recorded new materials (2005’s Comet’s Tail). Even Such is Time is well worth the wait (…) It’s mature, deeply introspective, but no less wonderful.”

Alexander, 46, is one of the pioneers of the Philippine folk-rock scene. Her music is known for a compelling mingling of indigenous and electronic elements and instrumentation.

Filipino-Belgian contestant heads to Miss Universe

Angeline Flor Pua, a 22-year-old Filipino-Belgian, was crowned as Miss Belgium 2018 last weekend. Pua will represent Belgium in the Miss Universe pageant this year.

On her Instagram page, Pua said she is currently a student pilot-in-training. Pua also won the Miss Filipina Europe pageant held in Vienna, Austria in 2016 and the Miss Antwerp pageant last year.

This year’s Miss Universe pageant will be the event’s 67th edition. After current titleholder Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa visited the Philippines last month along with several other Miss Universe candidates, there has been speculation from fans of the pageant that the country might be bidding to host this year’s competition in Manila, following a successful pageant held in the Philippines in 2016.

The Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) pageant will be held on March 18. The country’s representative to Miss Universe will be chosen from 40 contestants.

Filipino film selected for Berlin festival

Filipino director Keith Deligero's film Babylon has been selected to screen at the Berlin International Film Festival, which will be held in Germany from February 15 to 25.

The film will appear as part of the Berlinale Shorts programme, which features 22 works from 18 countries, including India, Nigeria, Qatar, Israel, Brazil and Argentina.

Aside from the film And What Is the Summer Saying, director Payal Kapadia's entry from India, Deligero's Babylon is the only other short hailing from the Asian region.


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