There’s a new television series from GMA that explores a new level of intimacy and drama to keep viewers glued to their screens. Titled Return to Paradise, the series features the first-time pairing of lead actor Derrick Monasterio and GMA Sparkle artist Elle Villanueva.
Yet despite their first time working on-screen, the pair have strong chemistry that significantly supports the sexy and steamy scenes in the series. ‘
According to director Don Michael Perez, “Napakalaking tulong yung workshop na ginawa namin bago kami sumabak sa shooting. During the workshop, si Elle at saka si Derrick, they got to know each other very well. By the time we got to the island, very comfortable na sila with each other.”
Perez credits their “excellent” acting coaches because his job of directing the two lead stars easier while on the island.
In Return to Paradise, Derrick and Elle play two college students and athletes stranded on an island after surviving a plane crash. As they try to navigate their way through their predicament, they find themselves falling in love with each other.
He shared another secret to making the production easier is by shooting the scenes chronologically to help the lead stars grow along with their characters.
“By the time we got to the scenes na kailangan na nila maging intimate, kailangan na nila mag-bond, kailangan na nilang ipakita ‘yung love for each other, naging organic ‘yung development nung characters nila,” Perez said.
Yet even before Derrick and Elle met for their workshop, he was already following her on social media. During their first meeting, Derrick shared he complimented Elle, saying she’s more attractive in person.
“I found her mysterious too. Hindi ko siya pa masyadong nade-decode nung first time namin nag-meet,” Derrick said.
He also shared that Elle had a chill vibe, which coincided with his personality. Eventually, the pair trusted each other, allowing them to jump into the workshop and do what was required.
“Kaming dalawa, noong nasa island kami, kasi kaming dalawa lang yung actors doon at first, talagang nag-depend kami sa isa’t isa. Not just as Red and Eden (their characters’ names), but also as Derrick and Elle,” he said.
While Derrick already felt comfortable around Elle, the Sparkle artist had some trouble during their intimate scenes, particularly with kissing and skin-to-skin interactions.
Luckily, the workshop helped her overcome the challenges, and she’s grateful to have Derrick as the leading man for her first series on the network.
“Pagdating doon sa eksena, akala ko mahihirapan ako pero dahil sa kaniya, napadali,” Elle said.
Aside from building chemistry on-screen, the two lead actors will keep viewers at the edge of their seats as the series’ story gets complicated. When their characters return to the mainland, they discover their parents have an irreconcilable feud that will tear them apart.
The new afternoon show also stars a roster of established celebrities including Eula Valdez, Teresa Loyzaga, Karel Marquez, Liezel Lopez, Kiray Celis, Paolo Paraiso, and Allen Dizon.
Return to Paradise premiered on August 1 on GMA Afternoon Prime.