No more personal issues: ‘McLisse’ returns in 1st movie after starting a family


“McLisse” love team

Elisse Joson and McCoy de Leon are still learning the ropes of parenting. But after a year with their baby girl, Felize, the couple feel like they have matured a great deal and are now more conscious of the responsibilities that come with starting a family.

“We continue to mature, especially when it comes to having to take care of someone other than yourself. You now have a much bigger priority, someone whose needs you have to think about before yours. Now there’s someone more important who figures into your everyday decisions,” Elisse told the Inquirer in a virtual conference for the romantic drama film “Habangbuhay.”

Challenges are inevitable, McCoy said. But the joy her daughter brings far outweighs whatever hardship he and Elisse may come across along the way. “There are hard times, but that’s part of the journey … that’s how we learn. But we’re also thankful for the help and support of our families,” he said. And as tough as it is, raising Baby Felize doesn’t feel like a chore. “It’s not a job for us because we enjoy everything we do for her, even the adjustments we have to make. May mga sablay pa rin, but it’s part of the learning process. Seeing Felize’s milestones—however small they are—makes everything worth it,” Elisse said.

Now streaming on the digital content platform Vivamax, “Habangbuhay” is the “McLisse” love team’s first film together since “Sakaling Maging Tayo” in 2019.

“McLisse” love team

“McLisse” love team

Better working dynamic

Directed by Real Florido, the film follows Bea (Elisse), a woman diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, a health condition characterized by low levels of protective antibodies. Because she’s susceptible to infection, her overprotective mother doesn’t let her go outside. Thus, Bea fills the void with music and creativity, and relies on live streaming for social interaction. McCoy plays the house boy JR, who grew up “taking life too seriously.” But as JR loosens up, Bea starts to enjoy his company and even sees him as her “safe space.” But later on, for unknown reasons, Bea starts to feel like JR is driving a wedge between them.

Elisse and McCoy admitted that their last movie together was affected by personal issues they had at that time. But now they’re in a much better place and have developed a better working dynamic.

“We know the dynamic better as a team; we have memorized each other’s [habits]. We have learned from our mistakes from previous movies,” said Elisse, who rekindled romance with McCoy in 2021 after a one-year separation. “We were younger back then and let our issues affect work. “We have matured enough to handle these things, and set them aside at work. That’s why we can now give more balanced acting.”

Communication is key, McCoy pointed out.

“We’re always talking to each other. We now draw or base our inspiration from the characters themselves,” he said. “Our experiences from our past projects help us,” he said.

And though they’re a real-life couple, they try their best not to let their actual relationship tendencies or nuances bleed into the story. “When we’re on the set and dressed as our characters, we imbibe the fact that we’re Bea and JR—not Elisse and McCoy. You feel like you’re assuming those people’s lives,” Elisse said.

Open to growth

McCoy, on the other hand, gets himself in character even before he reaches the set. “I study the script beforehand and try to do whatever I can to piece together the colors of my character, so I don’t arrive on the set confused about who I am. That’s what I think about before I sleep and upon waking up,” he said. Given the opportunity, Elisse and McCoy are still open to being paired with different actors in the future. “When it comes to projects, as long as the material, the story and characters are good, we will always consider them. We consult each other because we’re starting a family. But we’re open to things that will lead to our growth as actors,” Elisse said. “We always have to offer something new,” McCoy added. “And the material is more important than whom you’re paired with.”

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