THROUGH the years, Viva Films has been known to successfully adapt books and bringing them into the big screen or on TV. Director Andoy Ranay’s “Diary ng Panget” (2014) launched the careers of James Reid, Nadine Lustre and Yassi Pressman.
Reid and Lustre were paired again in Ranay’s “Talk Back and You’re Dead” (2014), while Gino Santos’ “Ex With Benefits” (2015) had Derek Ramsay and Coleen Garcia.
Director Theodore Boborol is now at the helm of the 10-part series, “The Rain in España,” based on the best-selling Wattpad novel by Gwy Saludes. With 131 million reads, “The Rain in España” leads Saludes’ six releases in her “University” series with combined reads of 550 million.
“The Rain in España” will be a 10-episode, 45-minute rom-com series that has a story which spans almost a decade. The tender and heart-warming romance that revolves around two ambitious undergraduate students – Luna, an architecture student at UST and Kalix, a legal management major at Ateneo.
The two fall madly in love against the pressures of studies, family and future plans. Their young love leads them to heartbreak and frustrations that affected their personal lives. After almost ten years, their lives intersect again as young professionals.
“The Rain in España” is like the Marvel universe, according to Boborol. “Eventually, the supporting characters will play the leads in the succeeding series. I made it a point to read ‘The Rain in España’ so I will understand why it became the monstrously-popular Wattpad series.
“I want people to remember this university series,” said Boborol. “After I read the book, even if it is a rom-com, the characters are so real. The lines are so real. The situations are so real. Gwy really knows today’s generation.
“My vision is really to make this an iconic youth series. In the ’90, we had ‘TGIS [Thank God, It’s Sabado]’ and ‘GMik.’ We had ‘Click’ and ‘Berks.’ It took us a few months to get the final casting for ‘The Rain in España.’ Gwy was very hands on in the process, together with our creative producer, Chynna Ortaleza.
“We auditioned a lot of actors through Zoom. We had a creative team. The challenge to me is not to lose the essence of the book. I want to honor the reason Gwy’s University series really became popular. I will not alter the story nor add other characters.”
Boborol promised to be faithful to the original material. He read the series to really understand the story. “Kung ano ang nagustuhan ng tao sa book, they will get to see that onscreen.”
The director gets his first Viva assignment after working with ABS-CBN for two decades. “The Rain in España” will start taping this month and will be released early next year in Vivamax Prime, another platform of Viva.
Erstwhile “Pinoy Big Brother” teen housemates Marco Gallo and Heaven Peralejo, who both entered Bahay ni Kuya in 2016, found it a breeze that they will be working together in “The Rain in España.”
Gallo and Peralejo joined “PBB 7” and became teen housemates. However, they went their separate ways after they were evicted in the reality competition, although both eventually joined showbiz and pursued their respective careers.
The connection was never lost through the years, though. That’s why when they were both tapped to work together in “The Rain in España,” Gallo and Peralejo were thrilled no end in their coming onscreen reunion.
“I’m super grateful that I am given this kind of project that will really challenge my being an actress, which I love,” Peralejo admitted. “I feel like every role that I take is really different. I’m really grateful to the team behind this who really chose me to be included in this project. I am just really doing my best.
“After I read the book, I realized sobrang relatable niya,” Peralejo continued. “Grabe, May mga personalities ako doon. ‘Yung pagka-kulit ni Luna, ‘yung banter niya. I like it. I like how I can imagine myself. I was really thrilled the whole time I was reading the book.
“When I learned it was Marco who will play my Kalix, I imagined it right away para ma-in love na ako agad sa character niya. Even my set of friends, I imagined how we would be together. From the workshop, we had a night out. Sobrang click kaming lahat.”
Peralejo is indeed grateful she will get to play UST architecture student Luna in “The Rain in España” opposite Gallo. “What the readers imagine Luna to be, we will not change her a bit. They will get that in me playing Luna.
“She’s not the typical demure girl and she’s an achiever. I’m really happy with all my cast-mates, my director and my writer. I’m really thankful. I’m excited to start taping so we will see the result.”
Meanwhile, Gallo is likewise thankful he is given a chance to work with Peralejo again. “The character was real-life to me and it’s way easier for me to portray as well,” he said. “While reading the book, I was doing the same thing, imagining Heaven.
“It was kind of reminiscing the two of us back in the day when we first met. I guess we are doing the same thing all over again.”
Getting to know the book
Gallo honestly revealed he did not really know the story of “The Rain in España,” as he is not fond of reading books.
“When I was told I was going to audition for ‘The Rain in España,’ I wasn’t really familiar with the material. After I auditioned and got the role a couple of weeks later, that was the only time I read the book and I really, really liked it.
“They told me the story is rom-com and I’ve been working on rom coms in this industry. Sometimes, it’s just too cheesy for me. But this one, I’m actually getting really happy with every single thought, every single character in the book.
“I really appreciate I was given this project. It was a slow process for me. It didn’t sink in right away this was a big project. There was so much preparations in the workshop, in the details they were giving about every single character.”
He plays Kalix, a legal management major at Ateneo, handsome and rich. “So many meaning on the preparations on the script-reading, the workshops. This is probably the biggest project that I will be doing.”
Gallo admitted it was always hard working with a new leading lady. “You have to find that comfortability,” he said. “But I know that it was going to be Heaven, I knew this project will be easy.
“It was like six years between us never happened. The first week saw each other again, we made a promise to each other that we will be working again and we will make everything right.”
The supporting cast of “The Rain in España” will have important roles not only in Book 1, but also in the succeeding chapters of the University series.
Krissha Viaje plays Yanna, the lead character in Book 2. She’s a Tourism student who is wild among Luna’s friends. Sge is sexually active and has a no-strings attached rule in her life. She will become a flight attendant.
Gab Lagman is Sevi, a UST Engineering student, campus crush and captain of the basketball team. He has a secret admiration on Luna, but he remains a loyal friend when Luna chooses Kalix over him. He becomes a successful engineer in Luna’s firm and will have his own love story in Book 3.
Aubrey Caraan is Samantha, a Communications student from Ateneo, the social butterfly in the group. She comes from a rich family, very kind, patient, sweet and graceful. She always prioritizes her friends over herself. She will play the lead in Book 4.
Bea Binene plays Via, a UST architecture student, the mediator of the group. Sensible and holds the girl group together. She will play the lead in Book 5.
Nicole Omillo is Kiera, another UST architecture student who is the cousin of Luna. She falls in love with the son of a politician and in a decade, she will also be working as an architect in Luna’s firm. She will be the lead character in Book 6, the last chapter in the University series.
Gabby Padilla is Amethyst or Amy, the family friend of Kalix. Rich, pretty and smart, she had a thing with Kalix in the past. His mom wants them to be together, causing Luna to be insecure about herself. She will be the main antagonist of Luna.
Andrei Yllana will play Kalix’s friend, Adonis, a funny guy who became the reason Kalix and Luna met each other.
Frost Sandoval will play Leo, the joker friend of Kalix. Both of them will become lawyers in the future. With Adonis, they are solid as a barkada.
Francis Magundayao is Miguel, the manipulative boyfriend of Kiera and son of a politician. He and Kiera will have their story in Book 6.