Exclusive: Janella Salvador on Under Parallel Skies, Working with Win Metawin, and the Difference Between Film and Television

The Filipino actress also talks about motherhood and celebrating 13 years with ABS-CBN.
Published: April 30, 2024
Janella Salvador on Under Parallel Skies, Working With Win Metawin, and the Difference Between Film and Television
Photo: Vyn Radovan and 28 Squared Studios

From belting out chart-topping hits to portraying nuanced characters on screen, Janella Salvador is more than just a pretty face. This multifaceted artist has a story to tell, and you won't want to miss a single chapter. Born into music and acting pedigree—with actress Jenine Desiderio as her mother and award-winning singer-songwriter Juan Miguel Salvador as her father—you could say she was born to entertain.

From her breakthrough role as Nikki, the middle child of the Lim family, in the hit daytime drama Be Careful With My Heart from 2012 to 2013, the Filipino actress and singer followed up with lead roles in shows like Oh My G! (2015), Born For You (2016), The Killer Bride (2019 - 2020), and Mars Ravelo's Darna (2022 - 2023). Salvador has also starred in box office hits such as Haunted Mansion (2015), Bloody Crayons (2017), My Fair Tail Love Story (2018), and The Heiress (2019).

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Janella Salvador on Under Parallel Skies, Working With Win Metawin, and the Difference Between Film and Television
Photo: Vyn Radovan and 28 Squared Studios

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Beyond the screens, Salvador cemented herself as the OPM (Original Pilipino Music) Pop Sweetheart with her 2015 self-titled debut album going platinum in the Philippines. To her credit, she also sang the Filipino theme song for Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th anniversary, and has lent her vocals to soundtracks such as The Achy Breaky Hearts, and the Filipino rendition of Disney’s Moana.

Thirteen years since signing with ABS-CBN, there is no stopping Salvador. This year, she stars in Sigrid Bernardo's Under Parallel Skies opposite Thai heartthrob Win Metawin. She also released her first single in four years, headtone, and is in the process of recording her new album. On top that, she will be holding a concert to celebrate her 10th-anniversary in showbusiness.

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Janella Salvador on Under Parallel Skies, Working With Win Metawin, and the Difference Between Film and Television
Photo: Vyn Radovan and 28 Squared Studios

ELLE Singapore sat down with the star to talk about her new film, celebrating 13 years with ABS-CBN, working alongside Metawin, motherhood, and what's in store for the near future.

Congratulations on the successful completion of your new film. What made you decide to take it on?

I was told by my management that there was a potential international film. I was excited and wanted to hear about it. There were two stories that were pitched. I liked them both and instantly said yes because they were both great stories. I was also excited to work with director Sigrid Bernardo. I loved her movie Kita Kita (I See You). I also got excited when they told me that I was going to be working with Win. It was my first time working with an actor from another country as well as doing an international film.

What were your thoughts heading into filming this movie? 

I was definitely excited to work on a cross-border production for the first time. Story-wise, it is already very strong and stands on its own. I believe in this film so much and can't wait for it to come out. I can feel it in my bones that we've made something special.

What was your approach when it came to portraying Iris?

I tried my best to study how it is to be an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). I didn’t have much time, but I did my best. During my stay in Hong Kong, I used my spare time to observe how the locals lived, the lifestyle, and even watched the hotel receptionists. I took note of how they presented themselves to the world and immerse myself in Iris' life.

Could you share with us about Iris and Parin's relationship and what was it like working with Metawin?

Iris and Parin have an interesting relationship. They come from very different backgrounds and when they finally meet, within those differences, they discover that those differences make their relationship stronger. It's funny because their dynamics are not the usual dynamics. Like sometimes they hate each other. It's like they grow on each other eventually. It's kind of a slow-burn kind of relationship.

To be completely honest, it wasn't an instant thing (in terms of chemistry) with Win. It was more of us growing to be comfortable with each other and to have a fun relationship. In the beginning, I think there was definitely issues with the language barrier. Win's very conscious about his English, but he's actually very good at it. Plus, I am an introvert, so I didn't know how to start the conversation. Eventually, we found things to bond over.

What was it like shooting in Hong Kong?

I think it was interesting to shoot in Hong Kong because we didn't shoot in the touristy places. We went to the outlying islands and the places people don't always see, like Peng Chau, which is an island away from the city where there are no cars. You have to take a ferry just to get there and they use bicycles to get around. It's very simple living. We also shot in Tai O Village, where the houses are built on water. That was also very interesting. I enjoyed shooting there and I loved seeing the different cultures.

You recently celebrated 13 years with ABS-CBN. How has your time with them evolved and grown since you started?

I feel like I've grown a lot since I started in the industry since my days at ABS-CBN. When I was starting out, I didn't know what I was doing. It was not something that I expected, but all I knew how to do back then was sing and perform. Eventually, I've grown to love acting so much and I'm very thankful for the opportunities that ABS-CBN gave me. I feel like I've grown so much with them.

What was it like to star in Mars Ravelo's Darna?

I had so much fun doing this project and portraying (both) Valentina and Regina. It's such an iconic role which I'll forever be grateful for. I didn't have as many stunts as my co-star Jane (de Leon) did, but every time I got the opportunity to do something physical, like a fight scene, I would ask them if I could do it. As much as possible, I prefer to do my stunts to keep it authentic. Most of what you see is all me!

What are the differences between working on a film and a series?

There's a huge difference between working on film and TV series. I don't know how it is in other countries, but in the Philippines, when you shoot a series, you're waving your free days goodbye, because we shoot almost every day and air those episodes five times a week.

With film, it's the same system as other countries based on my experience. It's more story-based. We know exactly what shots to shoot. All I have to focus on is the character and all of that. I'm not saying I don't like doing TV series, but I enjoy doing movies because it's more fast-paced.

How do you balance motherhood and acting?

It's honestly difficult. I'm not gonna lie. Because like I said, acting takes up a lot of my time. Especially now that I'm preparing for a concert and doing music, I'm away from home, which makes me sad sometimes because I have to be away from my son, Jude. When I do have my free days, I make sure to spend them with him. I just stay home and do everything I can for him. Even when I'm out working, I try to call him. I think presence is very important, especially when your kid is growing up, so I do my best with what I can.

Are there any future music projects coming soon?

I'm gonna be holding my concert this April and I just released my first single after many years called headtone. If you can, I hope you can stream it. I'm also releasing my album after this. It's a really exciting time for music for me!

Under Parallel Skies will be in cinemas 1 May 2024.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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