More than a decade since he first started doing daring scenes with Rosanna Roces in their 1997 film Matrikula, Jao Mapa said he is more experienced now as an actor in his latest Vivamax project Paraluman.
“Actually that’s a very delicate subject. Going back to Osang that’s a different experience. The role there at that time was ako yung bata. Si Osang yung nagtuturo sa akin. Ngayon baliktad. Ako yung matanda at meron na akong tinuturuan na bata. Back then I was naive like Rhen (Escano) now and dominant si Osang at that time but she took care of me. We didn’t have any workshop but I would like to say that she took care of me in a way that she knew how to take care of my inhibitions and my fears. I have to thank Rosanna for that. Pillar siya ngayon eh. She’s a very sought after actress,” he said.
Comparing his Paraluman co-star Rhen Escano with his former leading ladies, Jao admitted there is a big difference.
“With Rhen right now it’s different because Rhen is kind of reserved, kind of more conservative but she knows how to use her craft. She’s using it to her advantage and it’s her strength right now. That’s why I’m very much surprised and happy that I have w orked with the likes of Ms. Rhen right now. It’s teaching me that this is a whole different ball game. It’s more serious, you have to be at par kumbaga. Kumbaga maging level ka na ngayon kasi ganun ang labanan ngayon.
“I would say that I’m still a student right now coming back and getting pointers from a young actress right now. That’s how Rhen is playing the game right now. That’s why she’s at the top of her game. I’m very thankful and very fortunate to be working with her. Right now I can’t see anybody else that could fit the shoes of Pia. Perfect fit and Rhen and I’ve got to give it to Rhen, she really did this role with flying colors. That’s how I see it. She’s very beautiful inside and out, that’s what I can say. Not only that as a person and working with her is a breeze. No inhibitions after that workshop pero more so after we started shooting, wala talagang we didn’t expect ganun ang magiging working relationship namin at ganun kaganda ang mailalabas namin para maipakita yung storya,” he shared.
The actor, who is making his movie comeback with Paraluman, also admitted how surprised he was at the changes in the showbiz industry after his more than two decade hiatus.
“When I came into this whole picture, dala ko pa yung style na how I work and back then I wasn’t really serious. I was just play acting. But Rhen made me realize that this is serious stuff. I haven’t met an actor as dedicated and as passionate as Rhen so parang she’s a model for me and that kind of woke me up. Not only that, also working with direk Yam (Laranas), he has brought filmmaking on a whole different level. Top notch man. I’m talking about the works. I think every filmmaker would like to know or have been influenced by direk.
“In our set, nobody’s joking around. Walang naghaharutan. Seryoso. I haven’t seen this kind of filmmaking or work done by a great group production with direk of course and it made me realize na wow galing I’m proud to be part of this production and I’m proud to have worked in this film. That’s what I learned and we got flying colors for it and I’m really excited for it kung anong outcome ng pelikulang ito,” he shared.
While promoting director Yam Laranas’s latest film, Jao said he is also open to having a makeover for his showbiz return. “Yes sure (laughs). I won’t have any problems with that. It’s my first time to actually get into this business and I’ve actually been carrying this look for quite a while and yeah I’m open to a makeover,” he said.
Aside from the physical change, Jao said he also has no problem accepting more daring roles now. “Actually I have done roles like this before so it’s not new to me. I consider myself as a character actor. Sometimes this character is up and then the character in my next project will be different, action or comedy, kahit saan puwede ako. Yun lang ang sinasabi ko. I’m a character actor and I like doing different roles but I don’t want really to be associated or pegged with just one character. I just want to be known for my acting capablities,” he added.
Paraluman is available for streaming on Vivamax. Starring Jao Mapa, Rhen Escano, and Gwen Garci. Directed by Yam Laranas.