TJ Trinidad gives his role as Tristan in Stairway To Heaven a fresh take

"I don't want to see how the guy did it, so I have a fresh take. Kasi, kahit sabihin natin na pinanood ko 'to, 'tapos may ginagawa ako, subconsciously, may makukuha ako sa ginawa niya. So, I wanted to have an original performance and original take on Tristan. So, I didn't watch any talaga," says TJ Trinidad about portraying his role in Stairway To Heaven in his own style.


Isa si TJ Trinidad sa may mahalagang papel na gagampanan sa Pinoy version ng Stairway to Heaven. Ang mga nakapanood ng original Koreanovela na ito ay pamilyar sa role niya bilang Tristan, na magkakagusto sa stepsister niyang si Jodi (Rhian Ramos).

Pero sa original version, ang gumanap sa role na Tristan na si Kim Tae Hee ay may tatak na mahabang buhok. Alam naman daw ito ni TJ nang makausap siya ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal).

"Dapat kasi, mas mahaba pa. But may deadline na, so 'eto na, I didn't cut [my hair]. After Zorro, hindi ko na pinagupitan. Kinonsider nila yung hair extension, pero mas maganda ang natural. Pinahaba ko na siya, kaso lang, it's not enough time, so, ganito lang kahaba," saad ng aktor.

Bago ang Stairway to Heaven ay napanood si TJ sa action-adventure series na Zorro, kung saan kontrabida ang role niya. Ibang-iba raw ang role niya sa dalawang nabanggit na serye.

"Kasi sa Zorro, we were almost like caricatures. Our movements there... The whole show actually, it's like a heightened reality. Ito [Stairway To Heaven], it's emotionally draining. Zorro was tiring also because I was angry all the time. But it's more tiring to be depressed, for me. Minsan kung galit ako, mangangabayo lang ako, okay na ako. 'Eto, I have nowhere to go, e. I only let go when I'm done. It's easier to get over anger than depression."

TJ AS TRISTAN. Ayon kay TJ, hindi raw niya pinanood ang alinmang episode ng original Stairway to Heaven para maging fresh ang atake niya sa role.

"Hindi ko pinanood, and I didn't watch it on purpose. Ayoko. I don't want to see how the guy did it, so I have a fresh take. Kasi, kahit sabihin natin na pinanood ko 'to, 'tapos may ginagawa ako, subconsciously, may makukuha ako sa ginawa niya. So, I wanted to have an original performance and original take on Tristan. So, I didn't watch any talaga," paliwanag ni TJ.

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Paano niya ide-describe ang role niya bilang Tristan?

"This guy is a hopelessly in love. Lahat gagawin niya, but it comes from some place good, you know. It's a pure love... It's a fine line, coz some people would call it obsessive, you know what I mean? It's not a kind of love that charms him to the other person. Okay lang sa kanya na masaktan siya kahit physically, huwag lang yung mahal niya. It's love... How can you explain that anyway? Pure siya at wala siyang masamang buto sa katawan. Mabait akong tao rito," saad ni TJ.

May similarity ba ang role na ginagampanan niya sa totoong TJ?

"Not so much sa pagka-martir!" natatawa niyang sabi. "Siyempre, 'pag mahal mo, like you love someone, you do whatever you can... it's normal. but not the martyr side, not so much."

Aware din si TJ na ang role niya ang isa pinakaimportanteng character sa Stairway to Heaven.

"Yeah, I'm very conscious of that. Of course, I had a character background. I studied it, so, alam ko lahat ang istorya niya because I studied it. But I didn't watch his performance, so it's a different take. The same background, same character. But hopefully, madi-distinguish nila ang performance ko from the original actor who played Tristan."

Sa telenovela ay isa ring magaling na pintor ang role ni TJ. Ayon sa aktor, hindi siya nag-aral talaga ng painting, pero may drawing book siya at nagdo-drawing din siya.

"I started drawing again. So, sa set, dinadala ko ang drawing pad ko. In between takes," banggit niya.

Dahil remake na ang ginagawa nilang serye at marami ang nakapanood ng orginal version nito, may pressure ba sa kanila na higitan o pantayan man lamang ang naging success ng original Stairway To Heaven?

"There's a lot of pressure on us," pag-amin ni TJ. "I mean, from the beginning because of the success of the show and how it was done. Not only the artists, but the whole staff, 'cause we have to match it... But I think we're doing a good job, a great job... Kasi we watched the premiere last night [Sept. 6], so I saw it. My confidence level just rose nung nakita ko. Sabi ko, 'we're doing good, we're on the right track.'"

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RHIAN & DINGDONG. Ang Stairway To Heaven ang ikatlong pagkakataon na makasama ni TJ si Rhian Ramos. Una silang nagkasama sa pelikulang The Promise at sumunod sa Zorro. Tinanong ng PEP si TJ kung ano ang mga pagbabagong nakita niya kay Rhian magmula nang una silang magkatrabaho?

"She has grown a lot, I must say," sabi ni TJ. "The range of emotions that she can show from The Promise to now is just exponential. She definitely got better. She's a good actress."

Si Dingdong Dantes naman daw ay pangalawa niya nang beses na makasama. Una silang nagkasama sa pelikulang Resiklo.

"For me, he's a very natural actor. He does Cholo very well. I don't think I can do it as well, maybe..." nakangiti niyang sabi.

Bagamat bihira pa raw silang magkasama ni Dingdong sa mga eksena, okay naman daw ang samahan nila sa set. Yun nga lang, dahil sa role niya ay madalas depressed daw siya sa set kaya ganun madalas ang mood niya.

Kung dito sa Stairway To Heaven ay si Dingdong ang kasama ni TJ, sa Zorro naman ay naging kontrabida siya ni Richard Gutierrez. Tinanong ng PEP si TJ kung paano niya iku-compare ang dalawa sa itinuturing na top leading men ng GMA-7 pagdating sa acting.

"They're both already at their prime. Of course, there's no perfect acting. Everybody at any given point in time, has to keep working on it. But with regards them also, I think they're hitting the stride, in the sense that their confidence is up. When it comes to tackling roles, they just don't tackle it and try to be natural. They try to dissect it, they try to find out their craft... They're both adept at that," saad ni TJ.

TJ AS A KAPUSO. Ang Stairway To Heaven ang ikalawang project ni TJ sa GMA-7 mula nang lumipat siya from ABS-CBN. Kumusta naman ang pakikipagtrabaho niya sa Kapuso network?

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"Good, good... I love working with new people. I love it. As an actor, you want new things talaga, so this is a great opportunity. Malaking pasasalamat ko sa GMA and, of course... I'm just kind of making them see that they made the right choice by choosing me," ani TJ.

May kasunod na ba siyang project after Stairway To Heaven?

"Next soap, we'll see what my next soap after this, bahala na. Hopefully, I can get a leading man, so we'll see," sabi niya.

TJ'S LOVELIFE. Dahil ang role niya bilang Tristan ay gagawin ang lahat para sa kanyang mahal, tinanong ng PEP si TJ kung paano naman siya ma-in love sa totoong buhay?

"Gagawin ko ang lahat, pero hindi ako martir," sagot niya.

Ano ang most extreme na magagawa niya para sa kanyang minamahal?

"I think the most you can do is really die for your love, I mean it, the most, ultimate sacrifice, 'no?"

Is he the romantic type?

"I think so, I cannot... Iniisip ko hindi ako romantic, but I think in the end, I think lahat naman ng lalaki ganun, e, lahat tayo nagpapakagago... Kahit na magmukha tayong tanga para lang mapa-impress yung tao, gagawin natin, e.

Wala halos nababalitaan tungkol sa lovelife ni TJ, although aminado naman siyang may girlfriend siya ngayon.

"Because non-showbiz naman siya kaya she doesn’t really need to be included in this. Although, she's very supportive. But being in the public eye, that's my space, that's the responsibility that I will take. But, you know, I have to respect her anonymity," paliwanag niya.

Was it his choice to keep it private?

"Yeah, absolutely. Even me, I'm not controversial to begin with, so that’s fine by me, okay lang," sabi ni TJ.


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