JM De Guzman: Getting his heart on
THE DIALOGUE - Raymond Gutierrez () - March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Attempting to recreate something that was phenomenal in the past could very well lead to a death trap if expectations aren’t met. The effort exerted is only half the battle because at the end of the day, it all boils down to the reception of those you’re trying to win over. But for JM De Guzman, landing the same role that catapulted the late actor Rico Yan to superstardom is an opportunity of a lifetime he couldn’t pass up. He admits to feeling the pressure, bagging the coveted role after a series of auditions and beating countless other actors. “I just got called for an audition. I got the script and didn’t expect that this would be the role I was reading for,” he says.

This is his entry into the big leagues and with his stellar acting background in theater and independently produced films, it’s no question that he has the chops necessary for a drama-filled gig like this one. Catering to a brand-new audience and with the machinery behind his new project, it’s no question that JM will give his own spin to this classic role.

YOUNG STAR: This must be an exciting time for you, being launched as a leading man in Mula Sa Puso.

JM DE GUZMAN: I’m excited but I’m trying to fight the expectations, considering malaki yung expectations kasi it was Rico Yan’s original role. He really made such an impact playing that role and I’m just here to give my best.

You had to go through a series of auditions for this, what was that like?

Risque: Reprising the late Rico Yan’s iconic role is a big pressure on the new talent.

Ngayon kasi hindi mo na alam kung ano yung papagawa sayo. It was really unexpected to read for such a big role like this one. During auditions you just have to come prepared for anything they give you.

This is the role that made Rico Yan a star. What’s this character like and do you see yourself in him?

Nakikita ko sarili ko kay Gabriel kasi mataas pangarap niya. Mahirap siya, maraming insecurities, and he fell in love sa mayaman. I see myself in him because I started from the bottom and really worked my way up. We have the same determination.

You told me you didn’t watch the original version of the show. How come?

I have nothing against it. Ayaw ko lang talaga magaya yung mga nagawa na ni Rico Yan. Kasi ‘pag nakita ko na yung original version, feeling ko magagaya ko yung nagawa na niyang maganda. I feel like it will affect my portrayal of the character. They just made me watch some highlights so I know what it was like, but I didn’t watch the whole thing.

Aside from acting, what other skills do you have?

Acting is my first love but I also do mixed martial arts, wrestling, judo, and long boarding. I also play the guitar and compose my own songs.

From stage to boob tube: ‘I promised myself that I should have one play every year.’

Didn’t know you had a musical side. What’s the sweetest thing you’ve done for a girl?

I wrote songs for this girl and I think that’s the sweetest thing you could do. I recorded it myself and posted it online. I just gave her the link because I was too shy to sing it in front of her. (Laughs)

Who do you love listening to?

Locally, Franco. I also love listening to Bob Marley.

I noticed you’re pretty inked out. How many tattoos do you have?

I have seven tattoos and the one at my back is the most meaningful. It’s a photo of a girl, what I would imagine my sister to be. She passed away when she was a baby.

We all had odd jobs growing up, what was yours?

I can’t really say I had an odd job. But I never got paid when I did theater plays when I was younger. I just did it because I love doing it.

Do you see yourself going back to theater?

Invincible: Rejection only makes him stronger, according to JM.

I promised myself that I should have one play every year. No matter where this role takes me, I want to always return to the stage.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this show and your role. What do you expect from all of this?

You do what you do because you want to earn the respect of your audience, your bosses, and the industry. Ultimately that’s my goal. To also gain the trust of the people who hired me because I’m really passionate about my job.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Don’t give up. Keep trying. A lot of rejections will come your way, but you should never give up.

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