From ‘most hated husband’ on TV, Zanjoe Marudo turns lovable ‘proxy bf’ in film

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
From âmost hated husbandâ on TV, Zanjoe Marudo turns lovable âproxy bfâ in film
Zanjoe plays Marco, the neighbor-proxy boyfriend of June (Bela Padilla) in the heart-wrenching Vivamax film 366.
Photos from Zanjoe’s Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — One may agree that David Ilustre is probably the “most hated” character on the small screen these days. But learn to fall in love with Marco, Zanjoe Marudo’s newest, likeable dramatis persona in the heart-wrenching film 366, which has recently premiered worldwide on Vivamax.

In contrast to portraying David in the ABS-CBN series The Broken Marriage Vow, Zanjoe has shifted to playing the charming “proxy boyfriend” of June (Bela Padilla) in 366.

In the flick, the latter has 365 days to move on with the heartbreak of losing Pao (JC Santos), her ex-boyfriend.

Her neighbor, Marco, suggests they do things that June and Pao have never done before and agrees to be her proxy boyfriend. Soon, they learn to move forward in life and in love... one day at a time.

When asked by The STAR in a digital media conference about which character, between David and Marco, he can closely relate to in real life, the 39-year-old said, “Parang wala ako pareho dun (laughs). They are totally opposite. They have different goals in life.”

“Siguro kung kanino ako mas malapit, siyempre kay Marco. Ayoko naman maging David Ilustre,” he added. “Marco is of good character. I’m not like him but his attitude, character and personality na nag-e-enjoy siya in making people happy, kahit hindi para sa kanya, wala siyang inaantay na kapalit, na magmamahal siya unconditionally, yun yung pinagkaiba ng character ko dito sa 366.”

“Unlike David in The Broken Marriage Vow na napaka-selfish naman nung isa, lahat na lang gagawin para sa sarili niya na kahit may masaktan ng iba. Si Marco OK na siya yung masaktan ‘wag lang yung ibang tao,” he noted.

Zanjoe filmed 366 first before doing ABS-CBN’s infidelity-themed drama series.

The challenge for him in taking on the part of Marco was keeping up with the “established tandem” of Bela and JC.

“Andami na nilang nagawa at napatunayan sa nagawa nila (na projects). Those are the projects that I want to do. The challenging ones like how Marco’s character work. His role is very important to complete the story,” he shared. “Of course, bilang established na nga yung tandem ni JC at ni Bela, so kailangan kong sabayan. Kailangan kong sumabay para mas maganda yung kinalabasan.”

Zanjoe was also thankful for the guidance of Bela, who also served as the film director and writer, and the entire team of 366. “Naging masaya yung pagbuo ng pelikula.?The way na mag-direct si Bela, napakagaan lang naman ng set namin, naging kumportable ako.”

Relating to the movie’s themes, which are “about love, loss and starting life and love anew,” Zanjoe was queried about the thing he regretted the most in life. “Siguro yung pagiging tahimik ko,” he replied. “Hindi ako masyadong nakikialam sa mga bagay sa paligid ko. Kung ano man ang nangyayari. Medyo may kunti akong pagsisi sa ganung mga bagay.”

“Whatever is my status in life, kung sino man ako, I have a responsibility in some way, like being part of a community. I get to do that here in our province. Before, I used to avoid such stuff. Ayoko masyadong nakikisali,” said the actor, adding, “But now, I became more open na makipag-network with the people around me. It’s very important. Kasi kahit papano may boses din tayo na pwede nilang paniwalaan, pwede nilang pakinggan or maka-inspire man lang.”

Meanwhile, Bela didn’t have second thoughts on working again with Zanjoe for 366. They were once romantically linked to each other in 2017 when they did the TV series Dear Heart. Bela later clarified that they never became together.

“Because he is a very good actor,” Bela said of Zanjoe. “Alam niya po na kahit nung 2017 lagi kong kinukwento sa kanya na I was a fan of his work even before I got to work with him. I watched a lot of his movies and I am fan. It was not something I had to think about. Like kung fan ka ng mga tao na you’re working with, ang swerte mo naman na nakakasama mo sila araw-araw.”

She continued, “Working with Zanjoe didn’t become a problem for me. I’m not gonna lie, I was very nervous on the first day. But I think that’s normal for any first-time director. Not because it was Zanjoe on set but because I was nervous.”

“It’s our first time to work in a film and I will not let that opportunity pass,” reacted Zanjoe. “Wala naman akong na-feel nung in-offer sa akin yung project. I was excited to talk to Bela about the story and character. Actually, my initial reaction was, ‘Pwede bang ako na lang yung character ni JC?’ Pero hindi daw pwede. Ako daw si Marco kaya ayun (laughs).”

So what has been the status of his heart in the last 365 days? “It’s OK. I’m happy with my career and personal life. Mas bumagay yung (pandemic) situation sa kung anong personality ko. Kaya parang hindi rin ako ganun kahirap,” he asserted. JC referred to him as “the quarantine boy.”

Zanjoe went on, “Hindi naman siya ganun kabigat sa akin yung mga pangyayari and I’m happy that I still get to do what I love which is acting and nakukuha ko pa rin yung trabahong gusto ko. It’s not really a big deal para sa personal kong pinagdadaanan.”

“I’m trying a lot of things. I tried to make content. Sobrang tagal kong pinagisipan kung paano ko simulan. Bela inspired us na maging matapang sa pag-gawa at pagbuo ng content,” he concluded.


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