Julia Barretto remains unfazed under the inquisitive public eye

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star
Julia Barretto remains unfazed under the inquisitive public eye
The Viva artist in a publicity still for direk Jason Paul Laxamana’s next fi lm Expensive Candy.
STAR / File

There is more to Julia Barretto than just having a pretty face and a famous last name.

At 24, Julia continues to show maturity and depth in acting. She has embraced it with so much passion. As a next generation Barretto, the actress keeps on honing her craft and remains unfazed under the inquisitive public eye.

I enjoyed talking to her during our intimate conversation on Who Are You When No One Is Watching Season 2 on my podcast.

Julia thinks that acting is a gift. It requires a lot of heart and not everyone is willing to give his or her heart into it. She shared her acting style. “I don’t think I have a process. When it’s a heavy scene, I’m not like others who listen to sad songs or watch a really sad video. I don’t have that process because I love to get lost in the scene. I like to surprise myself. I don’t want to know what I’m gonna do.”

She has her own way of tapping into pain and joy when she acts.

“The first thing I always do is to see what is parallel to me and my character,” said Julia. “Let’s say my character will experience the pain of loss and everybody knows that I know exactly how it feels to lose in different forms whether it may be death or losing somebody you love. I feel like the first step to being able to tap into your joy or pain is to not be afraid to feel. As an actor, you have to be really vulnerable and sensitive and to not be afraid to feel.”

The actress is comfortable in drama acting.

“Every time people ask me if I would rather do a rom-drama or rom-com, I always say rom-drama because I like sensitizing,” said she. “I just love being vulnerable in an environment, where I don’t have to show vulnerable Julia. Like I could be somebody else and then express pain. And they don’t have to think about it.”

She also believes in the importance of physicalizing a role through hair, makeup, outfits and mannerisms. It helps in the process.

“I was wearing everything baggy like stuff that you wouldn’t ever catch me wearing in the last soap I did. It helped me get into the role,” added she. “You have to love your character. Accept and not judge. Of course, you look at the back story talaga. Bakit iyong character mo ganyang klaseng tao? Bakit siya nadala sa ganyang desisyon? ‘Pag inaral mo iyon, ah kaya pala. Then, parang you sympathize.”

During the interview, Julia also talked about Joshua Garcia and Gerald Anderson. She had only good words for Joshua.

“I think one of the things that I really appreciate about him is that he respects Ge a lot,” said she. “And that’s a lot about Josh as well and how much he’s grown and matured. He respects Ge and that means a lot to me.”

They are on good terms and Julia is looking forward to working again with Josh in the future. The two were featured in the music video of Moira dela Torre’s Paubaya and their chemistry was still visible. She said, “I think when we shot that, we were at the best stage of our friendship. That’s why it was so easy to do it.”

As for Gerald, Julia shared, “I always tell him how lucky I feel that I’m with somebody who can guide me just in life in general — who can ground me, who can put sense into my head. He keeps me together. I can talk to him about anything and he puts everything into perspective for me. And that’s what I really need in my life. I need somebody who will put things into perspective for me.” Julia loves Gerald so much that she would say yes to him if, hypothetically, he proposes marriage to her.

To recall, Julia previously shared on social media that she wants to start building a family and have babies at a young age. She explained, “I think I mentioned like 26 or 27. Everybody close to me would know this. They always ask me, ‘Julia, what do you think is your purpose? Or do you think you’re already doing what your calling is?’ I said, ‘You know what? No. I feel like my calling is really to be a mom.’ It’s something you can’t explain. Every time people would ask me, do you feel complete? I said, ‘You know I’m so content, but the only way I think I will feel complete is to have a child of my own.’”

Here are excerpts of my exclusive interview with Julia where she also talked about her memorable movies, directors, and co-actors:

Let’s talk about Vince and Kath and James, directed by Ted Boborol (2016).

“I thought it was the start of my life. It was the first time I felt that people appreciated me. I’m not being talked about because of my last name and I’m not being talked about because of who I ever related to. For the first time, it’s my work they’re talking about. It’s not me. It’s not how I look and move. I love that movie. There’s just no pressure at the time.”

Talk about your relationship with direk Ted.

“Great! Very collaborative. He didn’t intimidate me and I feel it’s so important to have a director who doesn’t intentionally intimidate. With direk Ted, I was able to ask him all those questions. He was a friend and he was so genuine and up to this day, he’s so genuinely concerned about me.”

You worked with Joshua and Ronnie Alonte.

“It was a great experience because I witnessed the birth of those two actors. I feel very honored to have been part of the birth of their careers. With Josh, that was our first film together. I’ve never felt this kind of chemistry with anybody that I’ve worked with and that was just our first scene and first day to ever work together. I think it was Ronnie’s first film and it was for MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival). It was such a joy to watch him because he was just really having fun. No ego. Every time he was being taught something, he would just accept it and then execute it.”

Love You to the Stars and Back with direk Tonette Jadaone (2017).

“I never fail to feel emotional every time I talk about Love You to the Stars and Back. Direk Tonette was amazing. I’m so lucky. I’m always given the opportunities to work with such great directors who become friends and who are people that I can trust. Direk Tonette really put us out of our comfort zones. It was a hard role. I was a really corky, weird, random girl and Josh was a very sick boy there. Whatever happened in my personal life, happened during filming. So it was like a whirlwind. That’s why I love that movie so much because personally while filming that ang daming nangyaring maganda. A lot of things came out while filming.”

Tonette is the kind of director who doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants.

“Yes, Tito Boy. Direk Tonette never gave up on us. She was so trusting. She trusted me and Josh so much with the scenes pero ‘pag may gusto siyang mangyari, doon lang siya. ‘Pag may heavy scenes hindi siya makikialam sa process namin ni Josh.”

Unexpectedly Yours by direk Cathy Garcia-Molina (2017).

“That was fun. Kinabahan ako. First of all, that was my first time working with direk Cathy. I always just dreamt of working with her. And then ang katrabaho pa namin noon were Ms. Sharon (Cuneta) and Sir Robin (Padilla). We’re so lucky. It was such a happy set and working with Ms. Sharon and Sir Robin was an absolute experience. The most down-to-earth people I’ve worked with. They showed us how we should be when we’re older.”

Cathy can be very demanding as a director. What did she demand from you?

“Ang pinakanahirapan ako that direk Cathy asked me to do and hiyang-hiya ako kasi parang nakaisang oras kami sa take na iyon. She was asking me to do a wacky face and I didn’t know how. Hindi ako marunong magpalaki ng ilong o magduling-dulingan. I didn’t know, so hiyang-hiya ako kasi it was an all-star cast. I was doing everything I could and I just couldn’t do a wacky face. Ang pinaka request niya lang sa akin noon was don’t be pretty. But she was wonderful.”

Between Maybes by direk Jason Paul Laxamana (2019). Your performance here has been described as “beautiful, sincere, and with astounding maturity.”

“Wow. That was a special project because that was my first film outside of my loveteam at that time. Very challenging ito sa akin kasi first film ko ito independently without my partner. Sige, I’ll embrace this opportunity sabi ko. Let’s take this job.”

So, how was it working with Jason Paul Laxamana?

“Si direk Jason ang gusto niya super natural. Ayaw niyang acting-acting. Kahit nagkakasabay mga lines namin okay lang sa kanya. Gusto niya imperfect siya. Gusto niya what happens in real life.”

What’s next for you as an actor?

“I’m so scared. I can’t believe I just said that now. I’m scared because I know now that anything I will do next is going to be absolutely different. I’m just going to be forced to grow up. I feel like I’m a fish in an aquarium and everybody is just waiting for my next move. But I grew up living like it.”

At 24, who are you when no one is watching?

“Just Julia.”


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