Alex Diaz has scored his biggest break yet with the international film project Glitter & Doom.

The US entertainment news outlet Deadline recently announced that the Filipino-Scottish actor and singer has been cast in the jukebox movie musical as the title character Glitter. He plays opposite fellow “international discovery,” as the report put it, British actor Alan Cammish as Doom.

Also joining the cast are Ming-Na Wen (The Mandalorian, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Missi Pyle (Y: The Last Man, The Artist). The former plays Alex’s mom in the film.

Directed by Tom Gustafson from a screenplay by Cory Krueckeberg, Glitter & Doom is described as an LGBTQIA+ jukebox musical feature told through the iconic music of the Grammy-winning pop-folk duo Indigo Girls. Some of their popular songs are Power of Two, Kid Fears and Closer to Fine.

“Billed as a fantastical summer romance, the pic — which is in production in Mexico City — follows a musician who wears charisma as camouflage and a carefree kid about to run away with the circus as they fall in love at first sight,” the Deadline report said.

The STAR recently had a virtual one-on-one with Alex, who has been filming in Mexico since mid-August, to talk more about Glitter & Doom.

Asked how he won the role, the 27-year-old said he’s been doing Hollywood auditions as part of his management team Cornerstone Entertainment’s #CSGoesGlobal efforts to get its artists cast in international productions. But during the pandemic, an L.A.-based agent who “champions for people of color, Asian talent and queer talent in Hollywood,” reached out to him after seeing his YouTube videos.

Alex was made to audition virtually for the movie, called back the next day to do a vocal range with a music coach and then asked to send in one more video that showcased his falsetto.

Call it gut feel, but he had a good feeling the moment he auditioned. “I was a little bit like, okay, so they need an LGBTQ actor, they need a European-Asian, they need someone who can sing, they need someone who can dance, they need someone who’s done gymnastics. Parang swak sa akin ‘to (laughs)! I was like, ‘This is definitely mine, this is definitely mine!’ I had this feeling.”

Still, when he finally got the call last July that he landed the part, it came as a shock. “I remember I broke down because at that moment, I felt like, ‘My life is going to change after this.’ I think this is the first step into the next chapter of my life…”

At that time, Alex couldn’t help but feel validation and gratitude. “Because I think, sa Pilipinas, it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to climb. I don’t know what the formula is for a leading actor in the country but definitely, it has been difficult for me to be prioritized and to be put at the forefront of the network that I was previously with.”

Nevertheless, he added, “With that being said, I’m super grateful for all the opportunities that I was able to get. But I think, at this point in my life, I’m done being grateful and it’s time for me to recognize what I can bring to the table, and to stop just, you know, taking whatever comes in, and start prioritizing my talents and my skills. And this was a validation of those talents and skills. I just remember thinking, ‘It’s about time.’”

His family in Canada was among the first few to know the good news. “Siempre alam nila na eight years ko na pinu-push itong passion ko. And in those eight years, you’re gonna question yourself, para sa akin ba ‘to? It wasn’t the easiest time these last few years, and nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, so you start thinking, magbi-business na lang ba ako? But yeah, they were super happy for me…”

He particularly noted his father’s reaction. “My dad, he’s very much conservative. It was a bit of a shock to him, like in 2019 when I came out as bisexual. But nowadays, super supportive siya, like when he saw my cover with Mega, he’s like, ‘Oh, I saw it and I really liked the makeup in that editorial,’ and I’m like, ‘Dad, is that you?’ So, they’re super supportive.”

According to Alex, he immediately got drawn to the Glitter & Doom story because he could see himself in his character. “Very much… ako yung character. Glitter is this hodgepodge, happy-go-lucky, hippie who is constantly searching for something in his life, but it’s uplifted by his kindness.

“He’s very much jumping from possibility to possibility. Marami siyang talent but di siya makapag-focus. Eh ako na ako yun eh (laughs). Nag-MYX VJ ako, nag-theater ako, nag-music ako, nag-radio DJ ako, nag-modeling ako, nag-acting ako (laughs). I’m very much the character. I honestly feel like in a lot of ways, I’m able to inject my personal experiences into this character.”

Even Glitter’s relationship with his mom was something he found easy to connect with. “My mom is played by, my gosh, the legendary Ming-Na Wen, who was the original Mulan. She was in The Mandalorian, she was in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she plays my mom. Glitter’s mom is very protective and wants him to do something na he will be secure in his future. But Glitter wants something else for himself, he wants to go to the circus. So, that’s like me. My dad wanted me to go to business school (but I entered showbiz). It’s very, very similar, their experiences,” Alex related.

What he would consider as the hardest part during the preparation was the circus school where he had to learn how to juggle balls and pins, as well as “authentic clowning”.

As for the on-set experience in Mexico, he’s been well-taken care of, although the production has been “very strict” in terms of health protocols. “Every single day, we get a swab test and every three days we get our (RT) PCR. When you go to set, you have to change your mask, they give you a mask. They give you a face shield. Everyone has to be two meters away (from each other).”

Alex entered Philippine showbiz in 2013. He mostly played support and kontrabida characters in ABS-CBN dramas and shows before taking on lead roles in Boys’ Love (BL) projects in 2020 with Oh Mando on iWant TV and My Fantastic Pag-ibig on GMA 7.

For years, he admitted, his career wasn’t going the way he wanted. “Kuya Mac (Merla, handler) definitely is one of the biggest reasons, and Kuya Erickson Raymundo (head of Cornerstone), that I’m still here because it was a very turbulent first few years of my career because I was dealing with a lot of people,” he added. “There’s a lot of mental struggle that you go through to try and stay in an industry where you’re constantly compared to other people… and competing with other people for roles.”

Looking back now, he said not getting lead roles became a “blessing in disguise because I was so hungry for my career… It forced me to venture into MYX. It forced me to explore my talents, which are hosting, music, radio DJ. I did theater while I wasn’t getting roles; I produced a music festival. So, when I say that I wasn’t getting the acting recognition that I wanted, I don’t say that with a heavy heart because it allowed me to develop a vast array of experiences that to this day I’m so grateful for.”

He said everything he went through, including being publicly outed in 2019 — a controversy that led him to come out as a bisexual — was part of his growing process.

“Yeah, every mountain and every valley has prepared me for this moment. I always say there’s nothing I regret in my life. I remember back in 2018 when I was at the height of my depression, I would sit outside my window and just pray to God to take all of my hardships, take all of my sadness and take just all of my confusion and turn it into something beautiful.

“And I’m sitting on this couch every single day and looking back at that younger version of myself thinking God really provided. He really turned it into something beautiful… And it’s just a blessing and it’s so humbling. I’m so grateful to be here.”

Alex said he’s also feeling proud and happy to be part of the Filipino representation in international projects, like fellow Cornerstone artist Inigo Pascual, one of the leads in the upcoming Fox series Monarch, and Lovi Poe, who’s now filming the British production The Chelsea Cowboy.

“I’m excited for all of us who get to go out. I know it’s not just me… and all of us are very different in our fields and the projects that we’re getting. So, it’s exciting that we all get to bring this home to the Philippines.”

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