Ligo na U, Lapit na Me (Star-crossed Love)


“I’m the conservative type. I treat women with respect,” says actor Edgar Allan Guzman, who also says his character in the sex-comedy film, “Ligo Na U Lapit Na Me,” is his total opposite.

Edgar plays Intoy, who is secretly in love with his friend Jenny (Mercedes Cabral), for him the most beautiful girl on campus. Jenny is rich and quirky while Intoy is ordinary, but street-smart. They develop a complicated friendship—Jenny gives Intoy some perks and privileges, including sex, on the condition that they should not fall in love with each other. Before graduation, Intoy decides to profess his love for Jenny.

“How serious a relationship gets really depends on the girl,” says the 21-year-old actor. “As a boy, I can be naughty sometimes, but I can’t say I’m liberated.”

Working on the film by first-time feature director Erick Salud brought Edgar to several sleazy motels in Caloocan City.

Toughest to shoot

“The love scenes in the motels were the toughest to shoot, especially because at the time we worked on them, my right hand was injured,” says Edgar. He had sustained third-degree burns in a go-kart accident last month while taping at the Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna for the TV5 game show “Lucky Numbers.”

“Before we began filming, I told my director to be honest with me, to tell me when he thinks I’m overdoing anything,” Edgar says, describing his director as “very easy to work with and open to suggestions.”

The first thing that Direk Erick asked of his actors was trust. “In all fairness to them, I heard no complaints,” he tells Inquirer Entertainment. He is all praise for his lead actor. “Edgar is intelligent and intuitive. In this movie, he ceased to be the energetic TV performer we know. Instead, he lived his character, who has a lot of issues. Edgar is really a cut above other actors his age.”

Cinemalaya bet

Based on the best-selling novel of Eros S. Atalia and a screenplay by Palanca award-winning writer Jerry Gracio, the film is one of nine finalists in the New Breed category of this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, set July 15 to 24.

Explains Erick, “I found the material new, different and interesting. It shows how fickle and indecisive kids today are when it comes to love. I see my nephews and nieces, and young TV stars I’ve worked with in these characters.”

Erick has been in TV production for 20 years. His most recent works include ABS-CBN Channel 2’s “I Heart Betty La Fea,” “Rubi” and “Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo,” for which he won a best director award from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Foundation, and the recently concluded top-rating drama series “Mutya.”

“Mercedes is the third choice for the role, but also the best choice,” says Erick. “I was amazed at how quick she understood what I wanted her to do, down to the facial expression and nuances.” Lovi Poe and Kaye Abad were first considered for the role.

The film also features Mel Kimura, Simon Ibarra, Evelyn Vargas, Shalala, Malouh Crisologo, Joseph Bitangcol, Lucky Mark Mercado, Jojo Saguin and Victor Media, and Luis Alandy in a guest appearance.
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