Serendipity, as defined by the dictionary, is a fortunate accident. It is perhaps the best way to describe the partnership between Kim Chiu and Xian Lim, known by the portmanteau KimXi. Their partnership was something that the studio bosses never expected or came up with to begin with, but here they, on the cusp of superstardom. They are considered one of today’s more marketable loveteams, with their huge fanbase and proven track record in media.
It is interesting to note that in their first soap together, 2008’s My Only Hope, Xian played the elder brother of Kim’s then loveteam partner Gerald Anderson. Kim was already one of ABS-CBN’s hottest properties then, while Xian was an upstart, a player from the University of the East Red Warriors Team B, who was crossing over to the klieg lights of show business. Since the focus of the story then was between Kim and Gerald, Xian was relegated more to sidelines, to the point that his character was killed hallway through the series.
Fast forward to 2011, when Kim was given the title role in the series “My Binondo Girl.” Since she was no longer with her loveteam, she was given three leading men to be paired with, Jolo Revilla, Matteo Guidicelli and Xian.
According to an interview with Star Magic Head Emeritus Johnny Manahan, Xian’s role was originally meant to be gay, a support role for the other leading man, but this was eventually scrapped and Xian’s character was elevated to leading man status. In addition, given that Matteo was the biggest name among Kim’s leading men, he was originally meant to get Kim’s character, Jade, at the end of the series.
As My Binondo Girl’s story unfolded, it called for Matteo’s character, Trevor, to leave the series for a while. In doing so, he entrusted Jade to his brother, Andy, played by Xian. Jade and Andy have not been seeing eye to eye and the tension between them soon turns to affection. The chemistry and the rapport between Jade and Andy was not lost on the followers of the soap, and soon they were on board Team JaNdy (a portmanteau of Jade and Andy). With fans rallying behind Jade and Andy/Kim and Xian, the writers of the soap revised the story, ditching the original Jade-Trevor pair up to favor the Jade-Andy story which captivated the fans. Overnight, Xian and Kim became the hottest pairing in showbiz.
After My Binondo Girl ended in early 2012, their fans rallied and requested for a follow up project for KimXi. They did not have to wait long. By October 2012, their follow up project, Ina, Kapatid, Anak premiered.
If My Binondo Girl launched the pairing, Ina, Kapatid Anak catapulted KimXi to stardom. Xian was catapulted to leading man status, while Kim’s star shone even brighter. Their mall shows with fellow cast members Enchong Dee and Maja Salvador were always filled to the rafters. The show’s merchandise, most notably Memorata Shoes, the company owned by Kim and Maja’s family in the show, sold like hotcakes. The show’s soundtrack was also recordbreaking, staying on top of record charts for weeks.
The show made Celyn and Liam, Kim and Xian’s characters respectively, household names. There are nights when CeLiam, a union of their characters’ names have become part of Twitter’s trending topics. There are times that “Celyn” or “Liam” alone have appeared on trending lists.
While they play sweet music onscreen, fans and the public have been wondering whether their chemistry and sweetness translates even when the camera is no longer on them. When asked about their relationship, both Kim and Xian would only offer a vague answer or just a smile.
After Ina, Kapatid, Anak ended its phenomenal run in June 2013. As the show ended, KimXi fans clamored for more Kim and Xian.
ABS-CBN was quick to respond to their request and Kim and Xian were given their first film outing together, an adaptation of Ramon Bautista’s Bakit Hindi ka Crush ng Crush Mo?
The movie highlighted the loveteam’s comic skills, most notably of Kim who gamely altered her look and deglamorized herself in the movie.
The gamble paid off for them as Bakit Hindi ka Crush ng Crush mo raked in over 100 million in the box office and made both Kim and Xian certified box office stars. It was Kim’s second 100 million film, after I Love You, Goodbye. In Xian’s case it was his first box office hit. He played support in a couple of movies, among them Mamarazzi, but these were minor hits compared to the money raked in by Bakit Hindi ka Crush ng Crush mo.
Naturally, a follow up movie was in the works, this time the movie is Bride for Rent, another romantic-comedy this time with Kim playing a struggling bit player and Xian as the spoiled production house owner.
As part of the promotion, Kim was once again asked as to the real score between her and her screen partner. This time, Kim replied that they do not owe the public their private lives. It was an answer that set tongues wagging as it was contrary to her sweet image. Naturally, there was a backlash against the actress, but it also proved to be a rallying call to her supporters. But at the end of the day, publicity whether good or bad is still publicity.
Currently, Bride for Rent is showing in cinemas nationwide. According to reports, the movie raked in a total of 20 million on its opening day, and it’s on its way to being probably the first local blockbuster of 2014.
The movie also cemented Kim and Xian as a bankable screen tandem. They have successfully transcended the small screen to the big screen. What’s next for them is up in the air, most probably a television series. But assured that whatever it is, it will definitely be a hit.
Great things, indeed are up ahead for this very unexpected yet very fortunate accident.