Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — As further proof that we are living in a simulation that can’t seem to stop glitching, Star Cinema has just announced a new Cathy Garcia-Molina film starring Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards as romantic leads.
I can’t stress enough the significance of this crossover moment between stars from two different love teams of rival networks. Not since “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” has cinema been so shaken by the forging of a new love team. Not since the Montagues and the Capulets have we seen two households, both alike in dignity, brought together in Fairview, Novaliches, where we lay our scene.
As part of tandems KathNiel and AlDub respectively, Kathryn and Alden ignited the imaginations of millions of fans across the world. Kathryn and Daniel Padilla have the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time under their belt (“The Hows of Us” with a whopping ₱915 million in worldwide gross) while Alden and Maine Mendoza gave GMA’s “Eat Bulaga!” record ratings, at one point increasing its viewership by 300 percent and getting 25 million tweets in less than a day.
Apart from the hint Star Cinema gave that they would begin shooting in Hong Kong next month, the film is shrouded in as much secrecy as a new “Star Wars” installment. This gives us room to speculate boundlessly. What could the movie be about? How will Garcia-Molina top her last box office showing? What do we even call this new pairing? AldRyn? KathAl? BernChards?
In the timeline we’re living in, anything is possible, so we’ve decided to speculate on possible plotlines for the film.
The classic Pinoy rom-com
Proposed Title: “Sunday Kind of Love”
Two young overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) employed by posh families in Hong Kong meet by chance one Sunday while walking around Central on their day off. He’s lost; she walks him to his MTR station; he asks her to spend the rest of the day with him. They fall in love over street food and convenience store ice cream, talking about the lives they left behind in Manila.
Naturally, Star Cinema will have to shoot this film out of the country, but they won’t stop in Hong Kong. Kathryn’s character suddenly receives a better job offer in a place where no Filipino rom-com has ever gone before. Maybe Russia? South Africa? Greenland? Kathryn and Alden must fight time, distance, and the elements to stay together.
There will be a ‘90s to ‘00s Filipino love song covered by a younger artist to underscore a pivotal moment in the film. Consider “Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin” as performed by BP Valenzuela or “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang” covered by Ben&Ben and Moira dela Torre. Perhaps Morissette Amon covering “Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig?” Star Cinema better write me a check for these ideas.
The return of the Pinoy rom-com musical
Proposed Title: Enchanted To Meet You
Filipinos love both singing and rom-coms but somehow we haven’t seen too many recent attempts of combining the two. Given Alden and Kathryn’s singing abilities, why not put them in a musical? And let’s throw in an element of fantasy à la “Encantadia” or “Bagani.” This film has everything.
Kathryn plays a singing time-traveling warrior princess from pre-colonial times who finds herself in the present day. She meets a young man played by Alden who takes her in and helps her adjust to life in Manila today. This is an opportunity for both a comedy of errors and sharp commentary on Filipino politics and post-colonialism — through song.
We discover that she's here to pursue and defeat a time-traveling shape-shifting villain played by Cherie Gil (giving us her best Cate Blanchett in “Thor: Ragnarok”) who threatens Filipinos past and present. The quest takes them to Hong Kong where they go undercover as OFWs. They discover Cherie disguised as an illegal recruiter and they meet for an epic battle. This is followed by a really dramatic love song that serves as Alden and Kathryn’s big duet moment.
The Wattpad wonder
Proposed Title: “She’s Dating The Jokester; He’s Dating The Horse Girl”
Fanfic made flesh. Like a Mad Libs story brought to life, the film will be an amalgam of highly implausible details that the actors are burdened with making believable on-screen.
Perhaps Alden’s character is a struggling waiter and stand-up comedian in Hong Kong, whose routines are well-meaning but always hit-or-miss. Kathryn’s character does something posh and quirky like riding horses. They meet at a charity event at the popular Hong Kong Jockey Club where she is uncharmed by his humor but he’s enamored by her skill on the racetrack.
Their romance blossoms but is suddenly thwarted by a debilitating accident and/or a terminal illness for which they must seek treatment in Hong Kong. The third act will be far too serious for the first two but we will bear with it nonetheless because we’re already emotionally invested in what happens to the horse.
The bid for a Palm d’Or
Proposed Title: “Inday’s Mood For Love”
What if Star Cinema throws us a curveball and the whole thing goes full auteur? The film will be slow and deliberate, the kind European festivals adore (now, everybody say Lav).
A young domestic helper in a Faye Wong pixie cut wig wanders the city after dark. We do not know what she is looking for. The next day, a young Filipino tourist arrives for a two-week stay in the city to get over a breakup. The two go about their days differently, almost crossing paths in different districts in the city but always missing each other by a few minutes. They’re haunted by an unnerving feeling they can’t put a finger on. In enigmatic voiceovers, the two ponder on their current loneliness and alienation, musing on missed connections. We cut constantly to shots of clocks and maps, hinting at these characters ensnared by time and space, unable to find one another.
On the last day of Alden’s trip, he sees a young woman with a pixie cut walking down the street. Before he can call out to her, she gets into a taxi. Kathryn looks out from inside the taxi and sees a man she does not know. The film ends abruptly, winning over festival audiences, award-giving bodies and Film Twitter™ forever.
Proposed Title: “Being John en Marsha, Bitch”
During the filming of a big studio rom-com in Hong Kong, a seasoned director works with two OFWs playing background characters in one of her scenes. They are so memorable to her that she offers to fly them back to Manila in the hopes that they’ll become the next great love team. Kathryn’s character is all wide-eyed and dreamy. Alden’s maybe has a touch of evil behind his ambition. The two hardly get along at first but are both driven by the promise of success.
A surprise hit film and its accompanying original song make them an overnight sensation and suddenly they’re thrust into this world of endorsements, intense fandom and an unforgiving 24/7 media cycle. We’ll see a lot of ambiguous moments where their characters and their real life personae blur into one another. They’ll maintain their success for a few years, but as support for them peters out and their relationship sours, Kathryn’s character decides to engineer a public breakup, manipulating media and fandoms so they can form new, more successful love teams (plus points for cameos from Maine and Daniel).
It is implied that this cycle carries on ad infinitum, creating a garden of forking love teams extending through the annals of time. The film will offer commentary on the absurdity of televised romance as well as the capitalist machinations behind the creation of media narratives.