A MYSTERY romance with elements of folklore and filmmaking is a way to describe GMA Network’s new drama series, Love You Stranger. The series premieres on GMA Telebabad on June 6.
The series stars real-life couple Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos in their first drama series together.
The show follows LJ (Garcia), a young lady who has dedicated her life to taking care of her mother, Lorraine (Andrea Del Rosario) ever since she was 12 years old. Her mother has an unexplained fear of shadows and an aversion to strangers, and has not left their house for over 10 years.
When LJ was a young girl, Lorraine joined a mysterious dance ritual in their town, Sta. Castela. A shadow creature calledLilom would take a soul during the full moon and only the dance could calm the spirit. The Lilom, it was said, would curse anyone who dared offend the ritual, and the townspeople say that the curse caused Lorraine to lose her sanity. Abandoned by her husband, Lorraine is left under LJ’s care.
Many years later, LJ and Lorraine have moved to Manila, where LJ is a film designer struggling to make ends meet. As LJ desperately seeks ways to help Lorraine get better, she lands a major movie project that could bring her closer to understanding her mother: a film based on the Lilom.
The Lilom film is helmed by a charming young director named Ben (Khalil Ramos) and is filmed in Sta. Castela. LJ goes to work with Ben on the film, while keeping her past in Sta. Castela a secret to protect her mother.
On location, mishaps start happening.
During an online press conference on May 31, Mr. Ramos cites “family and different types of love,” while Ms. Garcia said “finding your purpose” was the theme of the series.
Gil Cuerva (who plays Ben’s childhood friend who develops feelings for LJ) meanwhile, said compassion was the core message in the show. “…Each action has a corresponding effect… and in some cases you have to be held accountable for the choices you make in life,” he said.
The series is directed by King Baco with Irene Villamor as script consultant.
“Tricky ’yung film within a film but it’s not really focusing on that. Mas nag-focus kami sa journey ng family (Presenting a film within a film is tricky, but it’s not really focusing on that. The focus is more on the journey of the family)… LJ’s search for truth about her family,” Mr. Baco said of the series.
Pointing to its difference from the formulaic love stories in dramas, he said: “It’s about leveling up the kind of material we give our audience…We have to keep up. We have to be at par with (international productions). Matalino na ang audience (The audience is smart).”
Love You Stranger is Mr. Ramos first full-length project under GMA Network since he joined in 2020. Garcia and Ramos previously starred in the film musical LSS in 2019.
Also in the cast are Carmi Martin, Tonton Gutierrez, Lexi Gonzales, Kim De Leon, Maey Bautista, Angelli Sanoy, Alex Medina, Nor Domingo, Ces Quesada, Lui Manansala, Bodjie Pascua, Soliman Cruz, and Dindo Arroyo.
Love You Stranger premieres on June 6, at 9:35 p.m. on GMA Telebabad. Viewers abroad can watch the series via GMA Pinoy TV. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman