Elijah Canlas and Zanjoe Marudo’s natural chemisty key to ‘Keys to the Heart’

Netflix stars Elijah Canlas and Zanjoe Marudo shared insights into their remarkable chemistry in a recent press junket for the Filipino remake of Keys to the Heart, highlighting that it was an entirely natural connection.

The film, which tackles the sensitive subject of autism while weaving in the beauty of classical music, has been making waves since its streaming debut on 4 October.

Keys to the Heart (2023) is an adaptation of the Korean original, available for streaming on Netflix, which first graced screens in 2018 under the direction of Choi Seong-hyeon. This heartwarming tale revolves around the story of a washed-up boxer portrayed by Marudo who reunites with his estranged brother, a gifted pianist with savant syndrome, played by Canlas.

Director Kerwin Go introduced a compelling twist to the narrative by adding a significant role for Dolly de Leon, infusing the story with emotional depth through the presence of a mother in her son’s life.

Despite delving into serious themes, the film maintains a light and enjoyable atmosphere, largely owing to the dynamic relationships within the family. It comes as no surprise that Keys to the Heart currently holds the second spot on Netflix’s Top 10 Movies in the Philippines.

During the press roundtable, Marudo and Canlas opened up to the DAILY TRIBUNE about their unique chemistry in the film.

“Hindi siya put on” (It wasn’t forced), said Marudo, recounting their first encounter during a look test.

He described the moment when they faced the camera for the first time to gauge their compatibility as brothers in the film. “Batuhan namin na in character na… so pinagawa sa amin ni Direk ‘yung scene na tinuturuan ko sya mag-boxing, and nag-try ako mag-adlib, tinitingnan ko din reaction ni (Elijah). Lahat ng gawin ko kahit wala sa script, lagi siyang merong sagot. Sabi ko, wow, ang galing ng artista na ‘to. Hindi siya naka-stick sa script
(We were throwing lines in character. The director asked us to the scene where I was teaching him how to box, and I tried ad-libbing. I was looking at his reaction. Everything I did that wasn’t in the script, he picked up. I said, wow, this is a great actor. He wasn’t dependent on the script).”

Canlas echoed Marudo’s sentiments, saying they didn’t need any formal workshops to develop their chemistry: “Yung chemistry kasi mas masaya if hindi siya put on, hindi pinipilit na magkaroon” (Chemistry is more enjoyable when it’s not forced).

Keys to the Heart not only showcases the powerful bond between two brothers but the genuine chemistry between its talented lead actors, Canlas and Marudo. Their natural connection adds an extra layer of authenticity to this heartfelt Filipino remake, making it a must-watch for audiences seeking heartwarming films.