Zanjoe Marudo on gay-to-gay relationships: “Wala naman sa gender ’yan. Kung nagmamahalan… yun ang importante.”

In his launching film, Bromance, Zanjoe Marudo plays the twin characters of Brando and Brandy, respectively—a straight guy and a gay man. The Skylight Films production, which promises a laugh-out-loud comedy, will seal the model turned actor’s niche in showbiz. After years of playing the quintessential leading man of today’s hottest actresses, Zanjoe is certain that his time has come: “Nag-antay na lang talaga ako and dahil na


As Zanjoe Marudo takes on the dual character of twins Brando and Brandy—the straight brother and the gay brother, respectively—in Bromance, we cannot help but wonder how comfortable he is around gays.

Among the known leading men of the ABS-CBN network, the model turned actor had no qualms in accepting the movie project since he finds no issue in playing a gay character.

In the first place, he is not homophobic like most straight men.

“Siguro lumaki rin ako sa lugar na maraming nakikitang bading kasi sa Sampaloc ako nag-ano, e, nag-dorm.

“So, tuwing gabi, ang daming nagmi-Miss Gay sa kalye. Oo, maraming Miss Gay… tapos nagpa-practice sila sa kalye para sumagot sa question and answer [portion].

“Hindi kasi ako takot, e. Bata pa lang ako, talagang napapalibutan na ako. Sanay ako, sanay.

"At alam ko yung mga kilos. May mga lalaki kasi na ilag, e,” relayed Zanjoe at the grand press conference of Bromance last Sunday, May 5, at the Dolcelatte restaurant along Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.

The actor is not quick to judge those who engage in gay-to-gay romance either.

Firmly, he stated, “Wala naman sa gender ’yan. Kung nagmamahalan, pakiramdam yun—yun ang importante.”

Has Zanjoe experienced being courted or being the apple of the eye of a gay man before?

Modestly, he replied, “Feeling ko may mga gusto pero… natakot, parang hindi ganun talaga maipakita kung gusto nila."

He considered too, “Siguro kasi lagi din akong may girlfriend kaya parang hindi na rin sila nagtatangka. Siyempre ayaw nilang may girlfriend ka…”

Zanjoe’s girlfriend is A-list actress Bea Alonzo.



FINALLY. Bromance, directed by Wenn Deremas, is Zanjoe’s launching film.

After being seasoned and cast by the Kapamilya network in soaps and movie projects—mostly romance dramas as the teleseryes Diyosa, Lovers in Paris, and Kristine, also films such as You Got Me! and One More Try—the actor is finally given a solo lead character.

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He believes that it took a long while because he might not have been ready earlier in his career.

“Dati siguro naghihintay rin ako and siguro baka hindi ko pa kaya talaga kaya siguro hindi ibinibigay."

Asked if he feels that he deserves this project now, Zanjoe said, “Siguro ngayon naniniwala na rin sila na magagampanan ko yung pelikula.

“Nag-antay na lang talaga ako and dahil nagpapasensiya ka naman, pag matiyaga ka namang maghintay, may mangyayari namang maganda.”

The operative word is “timing” according to the actor—"right timing.”

With the major role, of course, comes the pressure to deliver, not to mention to rake in money with a blockbuster-titleholder director as Wenn Deramas.

But Zanjoe would rather shake it off.

“Ayaw ko isipin… Mas matutuwa ako [kasi] ito na nga, e, malapit nang ipalabas.

“Pero siyempre, hindi ko alam baka pagdating nung araw bago siya ipalabas, di ba, kung makakatulog ba ako, kung ano ba mararamdaman ko,” he said.

“Sa ngayon," Zanjoe continued, "ang nararamdaman ko, nae-excite ako na mapanood na ng tao kasi nga sila Direk Wenn, yung cast, yung creative, lahat sila happy sa kinalabasan.

“Ayokong isipin yung pressure kasi first movie ko na ito nga, ako yung magbibida.

“Ayaw ko siyang ikumpara sa mga pelikula ng iba kasi hindi naman akin yun.”



BEING TYPECAST. People might think that Zanjoe’s gay character in the Star Cinema-produced 24/7 In Love, wherein the actor played the gay best friend of Bea Alonzo’s character, is what altogether started the idea of Bromance.

While his performance in the said film received good feedback, Zanjoe said he did not expect that he would afterwards be cast in a full-length film with him playing a gay character.

The 30-year-old actor said, “Hindi ko naman alam na mabibigyan ako ng ganung role [in] a full-length film, di ba?

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“Hindi ko akalain na magkakaroon ng seryosong pelikula na gagampanan ko sa buo tapos simula hanggang matapos.”

The actor’s versatility is tested in the film with Zanjoe playing two roles, with one of the characters a gay person.

He accepted it, nonetheless.

“Minsan lang din naman natin magagawa yung ganung klase ng role. Maganda pa kasi comedy. Malapit sa puso ko.

“Nakagawa naman na ako ng isang gay role tapos inayos ko na lang.

“At kung ano’ng hinihingi nung istorya, yung para dun sa bading, actually parehas naman sila, e.

“Parehas sila nung bigat—yung lalaki saka yung gay. Pagdating sa role, actually, mas bida pa yung lalaki.”

Great actors as Comedy King Dolphy have been typecast in gay roles. Does Zanjoe welcome this?

“Depende naman siguro ’yan sa artista kung yun at yun na lang din ang gagawin mo, di ba?

“Nasa artista naman ’yan kung papayag, e.

“And kahit ginagawa ko pa naman ‘to, meron pa namang… like sa TV, heavy drama ang ginagawa ko pag lalaki ako.

“So, sabay sila.

"Hindi naman siguro nawawala sa utak ng mga katrabaho ko, ng mga tao sa paligid ko na lagi na lang ganyan ang gawin, lagi na lang ganyan.

“Hindi naman siguro,” he pointed out.



ZANJOE’S OTHER ROLES. Meanwhile, Zanjoe plays a solider in the independent film Death March, which was recently selected to be screened at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival.

Directed by Adolf Alix Jr., the indie film also stars Sid Lucero, Jason Abalos, Luis Alandy, Sam Milby, Dominic Roco, and Benjamin Alves.

Zanjoe said about Death March, “Yun nga, e. Ang sarap ng pakiramdam na nakakatawid ka sa isang aspeto. Hindi yung naka-close ka lang sa isang box.

“So, ayun, sabay-sabay na nangyayari ngayon kaya nakakataba ng puso na nagbubunga yung pagod.”

He finds it amusing how he played a gay character in Bromance and a soldier in Death March.

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“Ang sarap! Ang sarap paglaruan, e. Ang sarap gumanap ng ibang tao.

“Kasi ako, bilang tao, hindi naman ako malikot, hindi naman ako maingay o galawgaw," said Zanjoe.


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