A sizzling hot role for Carlos Morales
() - November 10, 2000 - 12:00am
It is the hottest role in years, coveted by some established actors. But the producer, director and writer opted for a relatively new face, one who is at once innocent and devilish.

The role is the male lead in Laro sa Baga, played by Fil-American Carlos Morales, the unanimous choice of Regal Entertainment producer Lily Monteverde, novelist-scriptwriter Edgardo Reyes, and director Chito Roño. Carlos has the looks and appeal. He’s also got the body for the nude scenes – frontal and backside – integral to the story of a man’s initiation to sexual pleasure. But does he possess the acting ability? But for some so-so roles on the big screen, Carlos had no real acting experience to speak of.

Fortunately, Chito was impressed with his performance in the play Pusang Gala and during the audition where the director drew out varied emotions from the newcomer. Equally impressed were Mother Lily and Edgar who told Chito they’ve found the perfect actor for the part.

Cast in principal roles with Carlos in Laro sa Baga are Monique Wilson, Angel Aquino, and Ara Mina, who’s back in a sexy role after playing leading lady to action superstars.

Needless to say, Laro sa Baga is no ordinary sex flick. It is based on the award-winning and best-selling novel of the same title by the literary giant Edgardo Reyes, who also wrote the script. Laro sa Baga is an honest, unapologetic, oftentimes hilarious depiction of Filipino machismo told from the point of view of Carlos. Aside from showing his Adonis-like physique, Carlos proved he’s a highly sensitive actor with a commanding screen presence. Thanks to Chito’s motivation.

Pleasing Chito during the actual shoot wasn’t easy. Carlos heard from other actors that direk was a perfectionist, "Naninigaw kung hindi mo nakukuha ang eksena." On his first day, Carlos experienced just that. He shouted at me on my very first scene. That was my scene with Mark Gil (who plays his boss and buddy). "My dialogue was long, but when direk shouted, my mind went blank." He managed to get back to his senses and did the scene well. After which Chito tapped him on the shoulder. Everything was okay.

Carlos recalls his shower scene with Ara, who plays his childhood sweetheart, the one woman he truly loves. It was beautifully executed, full of passion and love. "Mabilis kasi maganda ’yung unang take. Ara and I were naked and wet. And our bodies were very close."

Did he get, uh, excited, aroused? "No! There were just too many people. Some scenes will really carry you away. But this one’s purely work."

His most difficult scenes were with Monique, playing the mayor’s daughter who gets knocked up by Carlos. In a moment of mad anger, she creeps near a sleeping Carlos, holds his penis, and attempts to cut it with a kitchen knife. "Natakot ako doon kasi akala ko nga talagang mahihiwa ’yung ano ko. I closed my eyes, hoping that nothing will happen to me. It turned out that the knife was dull."

Carlos gets to shed real tears in two scenes with Angel, cast as his godmother Carmen, whom he desires since childhood. "I really prepared for the scene where I bid her goodbye and asked for forgiveness. I just thought of my grandmother who raised me. And I really cried."

Carlos Morales (Carlin Craig Woodruff Jr. in real life), was born in Olongapo City. His father is an American Navy serviceman and his mother is a Filipina. Carlos is the youngest in the brood of four children. "I’m also the only one who has remained single," relates Carlos.

His parents separated when he was only six. Woodruff Sr. is now living in Florida with his second wife. His mother, Lilia, remarried (to another US Navy officer who died a few years later). Carlos finished high school at St. Joseph in Olongapo. In Manila, he transferred from Centro Escolar University to San Sebastian College, where he finished third year as a broadcasting major.

He confesses that when he was younger, he was like the guy he plays in Laro sa Baga. "I was fond of playing around with girls. I didn’t think of the future. One time, I tried drugs but I got turned off because I wasn’t able to sleep. I promised myself I won’t do it again. You worked hard to have a beautiful body only to ruin it with drugs. I’ve also stopped smoking and drinking."

After Laro sa Baga, Regal Entertainment casts Carlos in Onsehan and Babaeng Putik.

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