While JM De Guzman is happy being compared to Coco Martin, he wants to establish his own identity in showbiz.
Newbie actor JM De Guzman talked about how happy he was when he got a call from ABS-CBN that he would be part of Precious Hearts Romances presents Midnight Phantom. “Sabi ko talaga, ‘This is my time! I’m going to show the world na kaya ko.’”
Midnight Phantom is JM’s biggest TV break in almost a decade, next to a short stint on Ang TV 2 where his batchmates included Shaina Magdayao and Midnight Phantom’s lead actress Denise Laurel. JM was only 14 when he did Ang TV 2, but he left the show when he felt that his showbiz career was not going anywhere. “Naramdaman ko na parang may kulang. Bakit hindi ako nage-excel? I decided na tumigil muna ako kasi wala namang dumadating na ibang projects. Tama na muna ang TV, focus muna ako sa studies. I took up Theater Arts sa Dulaang UP, and dun ako nalaman lahat ng theories about acting, how to build your character, paano umarte sa stage.”
His theater experience helped improve his acting, and when he felt he was ready to be an actor again, he auditioned and was later cast in the 2009 Cinemalaya film Last Supper Number 3. The indie film was where Direk Lauren Dyogi, business unit head of PHR, found him and asked JM if he wanted to audition for Midnight Phantom. He passed the audition and now stars as the best friend of Rafael Rosell who plays the title role.
This 21 year-old is a mixed martial arts fighter and was almost turned down for Midnight Phantom when Direk Lauren noticed he looked way too big on screen since he looked very buff. “Mukha akong bouncer, 185 lbs ako. They told me to lose weight. Feeling ko napakalaking opportunity na makakapag-TV ako uli, so ginawa ko lahat para pumayat. Hindi ako kumain ng kanin. After a week napansin ko na pumapayat ako, so tinuloy tuloy ko na. Hanggang two years na akong hindi nagra-rice. 140 lbs ako ngayon. Pero tuloy pa rin ako sa gym, na tone lang ‘yung body ko. Makikita niyo po sa first episode [ng Midnight Phantom] mataba pa ako. Buti na lang may ten years after sa story kaya relevant ‘yung pagpayat ko.”
JM left MMA for a while to focus on being an actor. He currently stars in the Cinemalaya entry Rekrut with Joem Bascon, Alwyn Uytinco, and Pinoy Fear Factor’s Manuel Chua. He is also doing the indie film Una with Mark Solis and Yayo Aguila, and is set to star with Cristine Reyes and Zanjoe Marudo in the Kristine series.
Coming from the world of indie films and now breaking into mainstream showbiz, JM is often compared to Coco Martin, one of today’s acclaimed teleserye actors who started out doing indie flicks. Although JM considers it a compliment being compared to Coco, he said he wants to have his own identity. “Parati ngang nababanggit sa akin si Coco Martin. Naku-compare ako sa kanya. Masaya naman na nako-compare ako sa kanya pero magkaiba naman kasi kami. Iba kami ng style as an actor. Pero 100% ang respeto ko dun kasi napakagaling naman talaga.”
JM is hoping that Midnight Phantom will open more doors for him as an actor. The still single JM blushed when he was asked to name some of his celebrity crushes and dream leading ladies. “Crush ko talaga si Sam Pinto. Gandang ganda ko sa kanya nung napanood ko siya. Tsaka si Mariel (Rodriguez). Like ko talaga ‘yung may magagandang cheeks.”