Every actor has a role that challenged him the most.
Even an actor like Jericho Rosales, who has been in local cinema for more than two decades, admits that he, too, once came face to face with his Waterloo.
In a Calamansi live cast session on April 21, with the editorial staff of PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Jericho named his role in the 2004 movie, Santa Santita, as the toughest yet that he has played.
In the Laurice Guillen movie, Jericho plays Mike, a single father working as a gigolo to hustle a living, and whose lover, Malen (Angelica Panganiban), suddenly and miraculously heals a sick child.
In particular, Jericho pointed to his scene with the late veteran actor-comedian Johnny Delgado as “one of the most difficult scenes that proved na sobrang hirap talaga ng character na iyon.”
Said he, “Parang pinagtatawanan ko iyong pagiging pari niya. So, parang we were playing angel and devil and I was the devil.
“He was a way more experienced actor, I was a beginner, and he had so much power on the set, he had so much energy and power as an actor. Talagang tumatagos sa akin.
“Imagine, you are just a Marvel character and then you’re fighting against Thanos? Parang ganun iyong feeling noon!
“Because of me being inexperienced as a human being, and the role required so much research and preparation, which I wouldn’t able to have, I had to drink a whole bottle of gin to desensitize myself!
“And then noong na-desensitize na ako, I think I did well because he [Johnny] was very happy, Direk Laurice was very happy.
"Then I went back to the car and slept.
“I had this habit of sleeping after a scene kasi sobrang pagod ako.”
Jericho said he also had difficulty playing Manny Pacquiao in the 2006 biopic Pacquiao “because I had very little preparation for that.”
He considers his most memorable film the 2012 independent film Alagwa, which premiered at the 17th Busan International Film Festival.
In the movie directed by Ian Lorenos, Jericho plays Robert, a single father whose son is abducted by human traffickers.
Jericho recalls, “Hindi ko alam iyong feeling na nanakawan ka ng anak.
"But, thanks to my director and thanks to our preparation, nagawa siya.
“I will never forget this. This was the movie that gave me an Urian, Gawad Urian,” referring to the critics' group Urian which gave him the Best Actor award in 2013.
JERICHO’S BREAKTHROUGH MOVIES
Asked about his breakthrough movies in the early years of his career, Jericho makes special mention of Bagong Buwan and Tanging Yaman.
Bagong Buwan is the 2001 Metro Manila Film Festival entry directed by the late, award-winning filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya, and top-billed by Cesar Montano and Amy Austria.
Jericho tells the story: “I played a soldier sa film, and you’re wearing a uniform, and then ang laki noong cast and nasa location kayo, there’s like stuntmen and you have your artillery.
“Everything is happening, and we shot in film, 35 millimeters na film, and then you find yourself shouting the line ‘Ceasefire!’
“It felt so good that during that time, when we were shooting that, I felt the scene. I felt everyone feeling the line and parang nag-reverberate lang talaga iyong ‘Ceasefire!’
“The next thing you know, it’s being promoted on TV with that line.
“Personally, it was a breakthrough. It didn’t mean anything for me, na this is gonna turn my career into something.
“But my main focus there is to say that line in this movie, and now everyone is shouting 'ceasefire.'
"Kapag may nakita akong tao sa sasakyan, they shout 'Ceasefire!' Wow, that was a good role because they remembered it.”
During this time, Jericho says he picked up advice from cinematographer Lee Briones-Meily that would impact on his career
Says Jericho, “The best advice ni Lee Meily sa akin, she said in my early years: ‘Choose your roles wisely and be patient.'
"That was the first time na, ‘Okay, I will start choosing my roles very well,’ and that [Bagong Buwan] was one of the greatest."
Tanging Yaman, where he played the rejected son Rommel, left its mark in his career.
Of the 2000 family drama, Jericho remembers, “Being that character, for me, it was such a big role, para siyang monumental character to play.
“Then I had Edu Manzano as my father in that movie. One of the highlights was when he was banging me against the wall. Then there was a scene na nalunod iyong character ko sa river.
"I just really felt that we worked so hard, and we worked closely with my directors, and then when we were promoting it, people were excited about it.
“That’s when I said this is the beauty of filmmaking. I really miss that.”
Jericho Rosales is PEP.ph’s top pick in The PEP List of 15 Greatest Actors of Philippine Cinema in Leading Roles, 2000 to 2020.
To read more about The PEP List of 15 Greatest Actors of Philippine Cinema in Leading Roles, 2000 to 2020, click here.