Pinta*Kasi was supposed to be his breakthrough role.
But more than two years since the film's shoot wrapped up, it was another actor, the then-struggling JM de Guzman who took center stage.
John Wayne Sace—who plays DJ, the male lead, in Governor Imee Marcos's project—was inadvertently put in the shade.
During the movie's press conference held last month, he said, "Kung yun ang nagustuhan ng tao, wala tayong problema sa akin."
But he didn't seem comfortable being in front of reporters again. In fact, he left the interview area hastily after the question and answer portion.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment portal) saw him enter another door, and just waited.
After a few minutes, he obliged to our request for a one-on-one interview, where the question that greeted him was, "Ano bang nangyari sa iyo?"
The guy who used to make the ladies swoon because of his mysterious charm answered in a quite unsure tone, "Nagpahinga lang po. May mga inaayos..."
Jawe (his nickname) is still slim, but his physique is no longer as lean as before. Short spikes replaced his quite long hair, which now has blond streaks.
What's with the hairdo?
With his eyes smiling, he told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "Sinubukan ko lang. Ayaw ko na nga, e. Ang pangit...Papalitan ko na kulay."
Six years ago, he was one of ABS-CBN's busiest stars—working with three regular television projects (Sa Piling Mo, Your Love, and Love Spell) almost at the same time.
Also in 2006, he starred in the movies Don't Give up On Us and Kutob.
It was also around this year when reports about his being pasaway began to surface.
John Wayne's expression turned a bit morose upon mention of the old times. "Nung bata ako, wala akong pinapakinggan. As in wala. Hari ako ng sarili ko," he admitted.
PEP asked: "Why?"
He replied, "Siguro yung pamilya ko...May time na heartbroken..."
Jawe shook his head when asked if the girlfriend who broke his heart is from showbiz, then he continued, "Ahm, siguro para sa atin bilang isang artista, natural na yung medyo, minsan broken-hearted, 'yan, 'yan...
"Yung male-late, siguro hindi naman natural ma-late..."
But he swore that for Pinta*Kasi¸ "Sabay-sabay kaming nagpupunta ng shoot so, wala naman akong natatandaan na na-late ako nang sobra o naging sakit ako ng ulo...sobrang naging pasaway."
He added that a "reformed" Jawe wen to the shoot of this film produced by governor Imee Marcos.
Basta ako, nagtatrabaho ulit, pinapakita ko na...para mabura yung mga dating...mga dating bad vibes, binago ko. Pagdating ng Pintakasi shoot, sobrang ang laki ng pinagbago."
CAREER PLANS. The pasaway image took its toll on his career. His one and only project last year was Guns and Roses, where he played the young Robin Padilla.
Does he have plans of reviving his acting career?
Jawe quickly answered, "Pumasok na rin sa isip ko pero siguro, buwelo pa. Kailangan ko pang bumuwelo.
"Kailangan pang, kailangan pang makapag-ready.
"Kailangan pang pag-isipan na mabuti para yung next project ko [para] hindi lang ako mapunta sa wala."
Transferring to TV5 has crossed his mind.
He related, "Naisip ko ring lumipat siguro. Naisip ko rin yung Channel 5 ngayon, sobrang daming trabaho. Parang dating Channel 2..."
And given the choice, the 23-year-old actor-dancer wants to give "comedy shows" a try.
In the meantime, he's going to be known as DJ in Pinta*Kasi, which will be shown in SM Cinemas starting today, February 8.
Lastly, are his pasaway days over?
John Wayne quickly said, "Hindi na. Burado na sa isipin ko yun. Nung bata ako, wala akong pinapakinggan. As in wala. Hari ako ng sarili ko.
"Pero ngayon siguro hindi na, kasi may mga kaibigan na akong nagmamahal sa akin. May girlfriend akong nagmamahal sa akin. Pamilya ko, suporta pa rin sila para sa 'kin..."