As children, Ruru Madrid and Yassi Pressman rented movies from the exact same Video City branch in Antipolo City. Little did they know that one day they would work together and star in a film inspired by their shared childhood pastime.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen each other, though,” Yassi said at a media conference for Viva Films and GMA Pictures’ “Video City: Be Kind, Please Rewind,” now in theaters.
“Well, even if we crossed paths, she probably wouldn’t have noticed me,” Ruru said, laughing.
Yet they found it fascinating how a seemingly ordinary hobby or family activity, like watching movies, could have such a huge impact on their lives. It’s one of the main reasons they ultimately pursued a career in showbiz, they said.
“I used to watch VHS and VCD recordings of live performances and musicals. That made me dream of becoming an artist. I also enjoyed watching old Filipino movies, even when I didn’t speak Tagalog. I loved watching Judy Ann Santos, Vilma Santos and more,” she said.
Ruru’s to-rent list, on the other hand, wouldn’t be complete without films starring Robin Padilla, Raymart Santiago, Cesar Montano and Fernando Poe Jr.
“’Anak ni Baby Ama,’ ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’… I watched them all. And that made me dream of one day becoming an action star. Luckily I was able to do that with some of my previous projects. I am very happy and happy that I did not give up on my dreams,” he said.
“Video City,” directed by Raynier Brizuela, is about two people from different eras who find themselves in the video store of the same name in the mid-1990s.
Han (Ruru) plays a film student who has lost the motivation to finish his thesis. After attending a tribute to his mother, a famous director who has fallen ill, Han visits an old internet cafe. There he finds a rewinder for VHS tapes. Before he knows it, he is transported back to a Video City store in 1995.
He meets Ningning (Yassi), an aspiring celebrity. Han is immediately fascinated. And so he shuttles back and forth, from 2023 to 1995, through the magical portal he has discovered. The more time he spends with Ningning, the deeper Han falls in love with her.
However, Han later realizes that his allotted time in 1995 is getting shorter and shorter with each subsequent visit, jeopardizing their blossoming relationship.
This is Ruru and Yassi’s first project since 2013’s ‘Dormitoryo’. “We haven’t seen each other for a while, but I saw her working on TV. I am proud of her achievements in life. She is still the Yassi I knew, a person who brings light to every room she enters. Everyone is happy when she is around. She is very talented and generous not only with food, but also with the emotions she gives in every scene. I am fortunate to be working with her again,” Ruru said.
‘Heart and trust’
“We were still teenagers when we last worked together. We dreamed, worked on our goals… It was nostalgic in a way to see each other. I also watch his shows,” said Yassi. “I also think he is a good actor. I wouldn’t be able to show the necessary emotions if he didn’t reciprocate mine. I respect him as an actor.”
Although the two were never connected, the chemistry, they said, was something they didn’t have to force.
“We put our heart into our work. We are not the type to plan what to do after kailangan magpakilig kami dito. We go from the heart and trust. The first time we did a look test, the connection was already there. We helped each other during our shoot. The chemistry just came naturally,” Ruru said.
The material itself, Yassi emphasized, is enough to provoke kilig. “There is a fantasy about how two people from two different eras can connect and feel like they belong together; the idea of fighting against time and fate for the person you want; that feeling of doing everything you can to achieve what seems impossible,” she said.
Yassi was born in 1995; Ruru, in 1997. They didn’t really get a sense of what it was like to grow up or live in the 1990s, but they did get a glimpse of what things were like during the making of the film. And one of their biggest insights was that life seemed simpler before the advent of social media.
“I feel like our problems are getting bigger these days and they’re really affecting us. Technology makes life easier, but it also makes time seem fleeting. Everything is fast. I just feel like back then you had more time to enjoy every moment,” Ruru said.
Yassi also pointed out that the numerous options that social media offers people have made it harder for people to focus on their goals. “I have the feeling that people will keep switching. There are many options. There is much noise. And sometimes we give up and lose our faith. But you really have to have a strong heart, believe in yourself and take the necessary steps,” she said.