Having directed Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson in the top-rated ABS-CBN soap Tayong Dalawa, Ruel Bayani can say with authority that he knows the popular young loveteam like the lines on his palm.
“I know them too well,” said Ruel who directs Kim and Gerald in Paano Na Kaya?, Star Cinema’s pre-Valentine offering. “I can read their actions and I know what they mean even if they don’t articulate them.”
Scripted by Henry Quitain and Kriz Gazmen, Paano Na Kaya? is the story of two best friends who, driven by circumstances beyond their control, end up as lovers. That’s when Gerald’s character breaks up with his girlfriend (played by Melissa Ricks).
Although Ruel has directed a movie before (Regal Films’ Cool Dudes topbilled by Cogie Domingo), he considers Paano Na Kaya? as his “real” movie directorial debut.
“I was young when I directed my first movie,” explained Ruel. “I am more mature now and I look at life differently.”
At 20, Ruel said he just “crossed the street” from Ateneo (where he earned a Communication Arts degree in 1990) straight into showbiz.
“I mean it literally,” said Ruel. “The office of Vision Films, headed by Charo Santos-Concio, was located right across the street from Ateneo. I applied and was taken in as continuity man.”
He learned a lot of ABC’s in the process from the time he worked with director Laurice Guillen in the drama Kapag Langit ang Humatol (starring Richard Gomez, Lorna Tolentino, Vilma Santos and Helen Gamboa). He belonged in the same group of directors Olive Lamasan and Rory Quintos, now two of the country’s finest directors, who were trained and honed by Charo in her long-running ABS-CBN drama series Maalaala Mo Kaya? for which Ruel wrote scripts like what Olive and Rory also did. Up to now, Ruel is the head writer of MMK.
Then, Ruel studied film at a university in California and resumed working for Star Cinema and ABS-CBN when he came back.
And now, his first “real” big break as a movie director in Paano Na Kaya?
“I love working with Kim and Gerald,” said Ruel. “You know, ‘yung hitsura ng dalawa na mabait na iniisip ng tao, that’s true, mabait talaga ‘yang dalawa. You know, you hear stories about actors and actresses na mabait pero hindi naman talaga. Besides being nice and mabait, Kim and Gerald are hardworking, serious with their craft, and very early on talagang kina-career nila ang kanilang trabaho.
“And they don’t have airs. Magaan ka-trabaho. No matter how busy they are because they also do many other things, they come to the set on time at wala silang tantrums or reklamo.”
Like Tayong Dalawa, Paano Na Kaya? has many kilig moments, according to Ruel, especially Kim and Gerald’s love scenes.
Asked if he thinks that the two are lovers in real life, Ruel said they could be.
“I always ask them the same question and they only smile as answer. They are really very close. I’m with them almost every day so I should know. They care for each other, there’s so much love between them, they look after each other, they support each other sa mga difficulties nila sa buhay, so how else will you interpret their relationship? Sa akin, kung hindi man ‘yon love relationship, it must be a special kind of friendship that brings out the best of both of them.”