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Reasons to live until 2024: A KathNiel reunion film (that isn’t a rom-com) on top of their solo projects

If you told me five years ago that we would be getting two Kathryn Bernardo and two Daniel Padilla solo projects in the early 2020s, I wouldn’t have believed you. 

You see, the local entertainment industry is notorious for pigeonholing actors into “love teams.” Once they get paired up, they’re (almost always) expected to exclusively work together for as long as possible, often limiting their range and creativity as individual artists. It’s a formula that has worked well for the industry for decades, but it doesn’t leave much room for growth and exploration.

So, when Kathryn and Daniel were paired up in 2011 for the hit teen drama series “Growing Up” and eventually became known as KathNiel, many thought that their careers would permanently be intertwined. They teamed up for various blockbuster films and hit TV series after that, and their fanbase grew exponentially with every project they did together. 

But even with their immense success as a love team, both Kathryn and Daniel wanted to explore their individual talents and break out of their love team mold. They began to take on meatier roles, with Kathryn showcasing her dramatic chops in “Hello, Love, Goodbye” (2019) and Daniel in “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon” (2021).

Fast forward to 2023, and KathNiel fans are getting a quintuple treat.

“A Very Good Girl”

Official release: September 2023

Playing alongside “Triangle of Sadness” actor Dolly de Leon, Kathryn is set to venture into a genre that she has never done before: dark comedy. Further details are still kept under wraps, but Kathryn’s role will represent the “frustrated and powerless” generation. Director Petersen Vargas and screenwriter Marionne Dominique Mancol also teased that it will have “a lot of sass and class” and an “eat the rich” concept.

“Elena 1944”

Expected release: 2024

Directed by Olivia Lamasan and produced by Black Sheep Productions, this historical action-drama film will center on the story of comfort women during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. This marks Kathryn’s reunion project with the filmmaker after their successful collaboration in “Barcelona: A Love Untold”.

When asked about what made her accept the role, Kathryn said: “It is something na nagre-represent ng pagkababae ko, and I [would] love to do a project like that, representing women empowerment.” (“It is something that represents my femininity, and I would love to do a project like that, representing women empowerment.”)

“The Guest”

Expected release: 2024

Dipping his toes into the world of psychological suspense cinema, Daniel is joining forces with director Jerrold Tarog, screenwriter Patrick Valencia, and award-winning actor John Arcilla to deliver a “mindfuck” storyline. Jerrold, who also directed the critically acclaimed movie “Heneral Luna,” said that “The Guest” will have a lot of twists and turns with a modern film noir feel to it.

“Nang Mapagod si Kamatayan”

Expected release: 2023

This “buddy comedy” film starring Daniel and Zanjoe Marudo will be based on a short story by National Artist on Film and Broadcast Ricky Lee. According to the actor, “Nang Mapagod si Kamatayan” will revolve around the “beauty of life.” It will be directed by Dan Villegas (who previously worked with Daniel in “She’s Dating the Gangster”) and written by Carmi Raymundo.

Untitled KathNiel film

Expected release: 2024

After the success of “The Hows of Us” in 2018, Kathryn and Daniel are set to reunite on the big screen for another Cathy Garcia-Molina film. Details (including the title) are still under wraps, but the director revealed in a media conference last Dec. 2022 that it’s going to be “very different.” “No,” she said when asked if it was going to be another romantic comedy. “It’s something new and we’re all very excited for KathNiel.”


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Photo from Kathryn Bernardo’s Instagram

Posters from Star Cinema and Black Sheep Productions


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