Headlining a big screen project was quite a longtime coming for the McLisse pairing of McCoy de Leon and Elisse Joson. The love team which was formed inside the Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) House in 2016 during the Lucky Season 7 had several television roles and was part of the ensemble cast of 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Ang Panday. Becoming lead actors in a film was the ultimate dream for them. But when the time came, it was ironically a bittersweet moment. They are finally lead movie stars, however in the personal level, they have already become former lovers.
On hindsight, though, McCoy and Elisse think that the Black Sheep production Sakaling Maging Tayo really came at the right time. “It’s hard to say talaga kasi meron din mga points na iisipin mo na sana earlier pero meron din, okay naman na this time siya lumabas kasi nga ganito. So meron siyang pros and cons talaga but I think now, ‘yun lagi kong sinasabi na it happens for a reason kaya ngayon talaga it’s the time to show it,” Elisse comments to Inside Showbiz Weekly.
McCoy agrees, “Opo, time kasi ng movie din andun ‘yung point na okay kami na hindi, sabi ko nga ito ‘yung sukli namin sa mga supporters namin at sa mga naniniwala sa amin. Kasi makikita sa movie na may scene na okay kami at may scene na hindi kami okay tapos nadala namin sa eksena, kumbaga nagamit namin. Pero ayun, kumbaga ito ‘yung naging resulta ng lahat.”
Whereas the typical way of promoting a movie, especially if it revolves around a love story, is by spreading kilig and good vibes, the McLisse tandem took an unexpected turn. McCoy and Elisse were honest enough to admit that things have not been going well for them since their breakup. This is a risky move because the success of their rom-com teen flick is at stake.
“It’s easier to talk about it na kasi time has passed. I wouldn’t say that it healed kasi nagkaroon na din ng time lapse,” explains Elisse. “Same din, sobrang daming nangyari pero kung tutuusin sa ngayon, natupad ‘yung blessings. Alam mo ‘yun, dere-deretso ‘yung work kumbaga ang sarap sa feeling na habang may journey kami, may dumadating na blessings. Kaya ang daming learnings na natutunan at madaming discovery na nangyayari,” says McCoy.
Being truthful has been the policy of McLisse ever since they entered PBB. “I feel like ‘yung pinasok namin, it’s natural for the public to know our personal lives. Of course, there are moments din na sana private lang diba? Pero at the same time you owe din that much lalo na ‘yung mga sumusuporta, madami silang tanong. So ibig sabihin you owe din that honesty kung ano bang nangyari, kung anong totoo. ‘Yun nalang ang balik mo sa mga pinapakita nilang love and support, effort for you. Kaya kahit papaano, you’d want to share honesty talaga. Just because we’re in the showbiz industry doesn’t mean kailangan it’s all filtered, it’s all hidden,” states Elisse.
McCoy concurs then clarifies, “Kasi ganito po ako pinalaki ng magulang ko, maging totoo ka. Kapag may mali ka, aminin mo at kung maging successful ka, huwag tatapak ng ibang tao. Kaya tumatak sa akin, kaya nakita niyo naman sa ibang interviews nag-so-sorry ako, kaya merong times na mapagkumbaba akong tao. Kahit hindi naman ako artista ngayon, eh ganun ako pinalaki eh. Mahirap din mag-peke sa mga tao, sa mga kaibigan. Kaya showbiz or non-showbiz na buhay ko, ito po ako.”
Sakaling Maging Tayo talks about the journey of two college kids who meet on their last day of school and go through a series of dares. McCoy is shy guy Pol who has a secret crush on Elisse’s independent and confident Laya. The main characters are freshmen who are studying in Baguio City, but brokenhearted Laya is aiming to return to Manila. The movie is the first film released this year by Black Sheep Productions, a company under ABS-CBN Films.
McCoy and Elisse, both 23, are grateful for being given the chance to be lead actors under the direction of JP Habac. “Malaking bagay si Direk JP talaga, hindi lang sa acting talaga, kundi sa personal namin. Gusto ko na rin lahatin ‘yung mga mismong production, ‘yung andun sa set, lahat nagtutulungan para mapabuti ‘yung proyekto. Ina-acknowledge ko lang din lahat sila kasi kung wala din sila, wala itong palabas na ito,” says McCoy.
Elisse continues to talk about Direk JP, “Siguro one of the things, we learned from the shoot is how to be professional. Parang siya ‘yung nagsasabi na huwag pagsamahin, kumbaga huwag dalhin ‘yung totoong pinagdadaanan sa totoong buhay. Ginagawa niyang magaan sa lahat sa set, even though he knows na meron personal na problem sa set, parang hindi niya kami dini-dictate na ganito dapat. He gives us the right amount of space. At the same time, he shows us how to be professional kasi siya, he’s there to work. So ganun din ‘yung parang na-take in namin from him.”
They also share their learnings from portraying Pol and Laya. Elisse notes, “Si Laya, I think katulad sa totoong buhay na natutunan ko this 2018, ‘yung magdahan-dahan. Huwag sugod nang sugod. Iisipin mo dapat ‘yung magiging outcome ng gagawin mo, hindi ‘yung basta-basta lang sugod.” McCoy replies, “‘Yun din, enjoy lang. Basta ‘yun, sabi ko lang sa media blog conference, ‘Hindi ko inexpect na ganito ako eh. Hindi ko inexpect na magiging artista ako kaya gusto lang magpasaya ng tao, ‘yun lang.’”
Getting past their breakup in order to finish their big screen project was probably the greatest struggle that McCoy and Elisse faced among other difficulties. “Ups and downs, sobra. There was never like a time na steady lang. Either sobrang saya and sobrang lungkot which is good naman din kasi ‘yung emotions namin nasagad talaga eh which is good for us being artists,” discloses Elisse.
Both have exuded maturity as they continued to work together despite being ex-lovers. For them, they would rather focus on the achievements of their love team. “There’s so much,” exclaims Elisse. “Ang dami actually ‘yung naging blessings ko sa McLisse. Highlight siguro I’d say from where I’ve started, dun nanggaling lahat which is PBB.” McCoy points out, “Same din pero ‘yung masasabi kong highlight itong movie. Ito ‘yung inaantay ng lahat ng mga supporters namin.”
They also regard their love team experiences as sources of various life lessons. “So much learnings din eh, if I had to summarize siguro the whole thing,” Elisse says, “Siguro get to know each other nang dahan-dahan. ‘Yung hindi mamadaliin ‘yung mga bagay-bagay. Katulad dun sa work-wise or personal-wise, dahan-dahanin ‘yung mga bagay-bagay kasi the more you absorb the moments, mas tatagal.”
McCoy, for his part, answers, “Siguro ‘yung maging aware sa mga tao sa paligid namin habang nasa journey kami kasi minsan sobrang iisipin mo na ‘Ang galing ko! May project ako! Ang dami kong project,’ nakakalimutan mo ‘yung nasa paligid mo na malapit sa ‘yo. Kumbaga mas lingunin sila ngayon, pasalamatan sila ngayon at ‘yun kasi dapat i-appreciate ‘yung mga tao sa paligid mo.”
Now that they have finished their movie together, it can be expected that McCoy and Elisse will take on individual projects for the time being. McCoy is currently seen in noontime variety program It’s Showtime (as part of the boy group #Hashtags) as well as in primetime smash hit FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. Elisse, meanwhile, was part of the recently concluded soap opera Ngayon at Kailanman.
“Siyempre we wish to have like more solo individual projects. We just want to improve our craft. Kasi dito sa movie na ito nasimulan namin so ako, feeling ko, mas nag-burn ‘yung passion kasi nasimulan. So parang gusto ko pang ipagpatuloy, i-push ang limits,” remarks Elisse. McCoy also plans to carry on with his career, “Ang sarap sa feeling na may work.”
They also hope to take on more acting projects this year. “I want to focus on my acting siyempre. I want to explore and I want to go outside the box. So I’m excited for 2019 siyempre, ‘yung parang feeling ko ang daming possibilities na mangyayari this year,” says Elisse. With the same excitement, McCoy remarks, “Acting talaga gusto ko.” As they move on with their respective careers, McCoy and Elisse take with them the memories and learnings from their love team of more than two years. They may not be friends at the moment, but they have proven to be professionals.
McCoy admits, “Sa 2019, sana maiwasan ‘yung mga ganitong sitwasyon [conflicts]. Ayokong manakit ng pakiramdam ng tao. Ayokong magkaproblema sa trabaho kasi sabi sa akin ‘yung acting, matututunan mo naman iyan, pero ‘yung pakikitungo sa tao, mahirap. Kasi ang hirap talaga dito sa mundo ng showbiz kasi magulo diba? Sobrang toxic talaga kaya ikaw nalang ‘yung maging positibo sa paligid mo, ikaw ‘yung makahawa ng positive vibes.”