MANILA, Philippines – Falling in love for the first time is a beautiful experience. For members of the LGBT community, first love is also the turning point – where one discovers the boundaries to surpass and the sacrifices to be made for the sake of the one you love.
Adolfo Alix’s 4 Days explores first love through the eyes of Mark (Mikoy Morales), who instantly falls in love when he meets Derek (Sebastian Castro). The story is set in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, where Mark and Derek become roommates and, eventually, closeted lovers during their stay at the university.
The film takes viewers through the minute details of falling in love, the pain that comes with unreciprocated affection, and the difficulties of trying to sustain a same-sex relationship while still the closet. On the surface Mark and Derek appear as typical girl-crazed college students, but within the 4 walls of their room, they harbor a secret that one of them wants to share with the rest of the world.
4 Days represents a lot of firsts for the two actors. It’s the first time for either to be cast in lead roles for a full-length feature film. Mikoy even had his first ever kissing scene as an actor in this movie.
It was also Mikoy’s first time to score a film. The film’s theme song, "Pusong Hindi Makatulo," was written and sung by Mikoy himself.
As Mark and Derek, Mikoy and Sebastian share a natural chemistry that exude sparks onscreen. It was evident in their body language, in the way they gaze into each other’s eyes, and even in their lovers’ quarrels – something that isn’t always easy to flesh out in most circumstances, especially because no script was used during filming. The actors were merely given an outline of the sequences, and had to improvise.
So how were they able to pull it off?
Sebastian explained his process during a recent media interview.
“Different actors do different things. Some people substitute – they have a substitution trick where instead of seeing Mikoy they might see somebody else. For me, I saw him, instead of halimbawa (for example), putting [my ex-boyfriend] Ryan [Chua] in his place, I would rather imagine our own back story – where we met, Mikoy’s face, how we met, what he said to me that made me feel that way, how he said ‘I love you.’”
“That, for me, makes it easier to get a sense of who the person is, and, in the scene, to be more authentic and get the chemistry you want. And there were particular exercises that Mikoy as an actor made me do.”
Sebastian went into detail regarding the acting exercises he and Mikoy shared.
“We would stare into each other’s eyes, holding hands. It was an intimate scene and we had to get comfortable in each other’s presence. It’s kind of cutesy when you think about it.”
“It was a relationship exercise. I think that was necessary, parang may jump 'yung relationship. So from shooting the scene na kakakilala lang namin (where we just met), jumping to may confrontation na, tapos biglang kami na (and then we suddenly became a couple),” Mikoy explains.
He also shares how he was able to show a seemingly genuine attraction towards Sebastian’s character.
“Sa akin naman (For me), maybe at some point, you just...There’s a certain level of being genuine na parang wala ka nang pakialam sa sasabihin ng ibang tao. Basta nararamdaman mo and ina-acknowledge mo yung mga nakikita mo and nararamdaman mo (There's a certain level of being genuine where you don't care what others will say. Whatever you feel, you're acknowledging it and you're seeing it and feeling it).”
“Kay Seb, unang kita ko pa lang sa kanya, okay madali lang ito, pogi siya,” he said in jest. (With Seb, the first time I saw him, I said it this would be easy, he's good-looking.)
“Like really, he’s really attractive, and that’s like 40 percent of the work done. So madali na lang i-imagine 'yung mga susunod na mangyayari (So it's just easy to imagine what will happened next).”
“I acknowledge my tendencies, but I am secure of my preferences,” Mikoy added.
The GMA 7 actor and singer admitted that real-life experiences may have fueled the emotions he needed for the melancholy parts of the film.
“It’s actually fulfilling,” Mikoy said. “Have you ever heard of the saying ‘Turn that broken heart into a piece of art’? I think it’s nice to – hindi naman sa ginagamit ko 'yung personal life ko (it's not that I'm using my personal life) – but it’s your truth. As an actor, it’s something that only you can put in your own craft, your own truth. So para sa akin (for me), coincidentally, it happened that I was also going through a breakup [while] we were shooting.”
Mikoy confirmed his breakup with actress Thea Tolentino in August.
Sebastian also spoke, albeit briefly, about his breakup with Ryan Chua.
“Art imitates life, they say. In this case, parang life imitates art, kasi nauna yung film (the film came first). It is what it is. We just ended a 4 year relationship.”
4 Days also stars Stephanie Sol, Arvic Tan and Rosanna Roces in a special cameo. The film is currently showing alongside Kinabukasan, a short film also by Adolfo Alix starring Nora Aunor and Alden Richards, at Greenbelt 1 and Trinoma cinemas starting today. – Rappler.com