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Jason Paul Laxamana answers why Pinoys love “kabitan” movies; explains the story behind ‘Just a Stranger’

Viva Films presents a May-December affair of a different kind in Just A Stranger starring Anne Curtis in a daring and sexy role with promising actor and new hottest heartthrob Marco Gumabao. Just A Stranger is directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, the director behind hit films like Between Maybes, 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, The Third Party, and Love Is Blind.

Just A Stranger is not an ordinary love affair between a married woman and a young man who find themselves in each other’s arms. It’s more than the physical connection and attraction that draws two strangers together to commit sin even when they know its forbidden.

According to Laxamana, unlike other stories in the “kabitan” genre, the upcoming film tells the reason why two people come to a decision where they choose to do what’s forbidden instead of strengthening their faith in their other half.

Following famous adultery-themed movies that became hit in the box-office like Una Kang Naging Akin, Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin, No Other Woman, The Mistress, and My Neighbor’s Wife, Just A Stranger will also detail how people defy societal conventions to pursue an illicit affair.

It is strange how the Philippines, a country with the most people calling themselves “devout Catholics,” has a number of adultery- and infidelity-themed movies. Considering the popularity of such movies, it is apparent that Pinoys, in general, love the “kabitan” genre.

With the success of other adultery movies, why does director Laxamana thinks that his new project will also become a hit?

“Ayun, parang people like scandals mga ganun,” he said during the grand mediacon of his new project and emphasized the modern sensibilities he wants to work on as to be unique from the past movies of the same genre.

As the interview moved forward, he went on: “I wanted to personally magkaroon ng parang a more contemplative approach to the genre, so yun [ang] makikita nyo dito. Kase yung characters nila, alam naman nila na mali yung ginagawa nila, kaso… they always find themselves sa situation na they yearn for each other’s company or support or love.”

Anne Curtis chimed in, saying, “Even if they know its wrong,” which the director agreed to.

Like his other hit films, will the Anne Curtis-Marco Gumabao movie be a heart-breaking and tear-jerking film?

“Madalas kong naririnig yan,” he said.

“It all started sa Isang Daang Tula para kay Stella na very heartbreaking daw yung ending. Then we have The Day After Valentines. Pero sa akin kase, hindi ko sya tinitignan as parang sad ending. Kase kung titignan nyo yung characters ko sa past two films na yun, they might have not. Hindi sila nag-end up with the object of affection. Pero nag-grow sila as individuals, which I think is a triumph end for the character,” he continued.

One of the noticeable scenes in the trailer of the movie is the one where Anne’s character confesses to a priest for the sin she has committed. What could have been the inspiration for the scene?

In the mediacon, Laxamana said: “Actually nung ginagawa ko yung story line, wala pa yung ‘confession’ scene. Pero kase since yung story telling ko sa movie, it’s all drawing from memory, kailangan ko ng device that would make the character [recount] yung naranasan nya.”

“And naisip ko it could be, sinasabi nya sa friend nya, sinasabi nya sa ganyan. So ang naisip ko lang mas interesting siguro kung confession to. Kase di ba, nai-explore din sa movie yung mga lack of option sa mga gustong mag divorce. Na it runs in contrast with what the church is teaching.”

When asked how Just A Stranger differs from any other May-December love affair movies, this is what director Laxamana had to say: “Our movie is not even revolving around that concept. Parang he could be younger, he could be older. Mas dun ako sa pag i-explore ng humanity ng mga cheaters.

“Kasi very evil yung portrayal nila sa bida eh. I’m not saying what they are doing is right, it’s just that ako as writer ng sinusulat ko, gusto ko lang i-explore yung why. Kasi paniwala ko in the end, everyone just wants to be loved.

“Nagkakataon lang minsan, yung resource na pinag-aagawan, gusto siya ng dalawang tao. Ayun lang parang mas mature contemplation lang on the issue of infidelity,” he remarked.

Just A Stranger will be out on August 21, in cinemas nationwide.

Sharing top-billing with them is Edu Manzano who will play the husband of Mae, Anne’s character in the movie.


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