Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

October 18, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To be given a break for an acting piece is every actor’s wish, said Jak Roberto in a previous interview. It’s a remarkable role that audiences will associate with the actor.

Jak’s character, Bruce, in Stories from the Heart: Never Say Goodbye is that break he has been waiting for. Fans will see again how the GMA Artist Center talent fares in the drama department when the Afternoon Prime drama anthology premieres today after Nagbabagang Luha.

“This is my heaviest acting project so far,” Jak compared his Never Say Goodbye assignment to previous works like the Magpakailanman and Wagas episodes and romantic-comedies Meant to Be and Heartful Café in a media call. “Actually, I’ve been aiming to prove (and show) my acting in drama. Most of the time ang mga ginagampanan ko ay rom-com and gag show (Most of the time, I was tapped to play rom-com and gag show roles).”

Although he anticipated the time to score a meaty role, Jak got intimidated first when the Stories from the Heart: Never Say Goodbye role landed on his lap. He knew the demands of playing one. There was also the nagging thought of “whether I could pull the character off or not,” said Jak, and the challenge to do the role with consistency and commitment for weeks.

Jak (seated, center) with co-stars (from left) Shermaine Santiago, Mosang, Lauren Young, Kim Rodriguez, Snooky Serna, Klea Pineda, Max Eigenmann, Herlene Budol and Luke Conde

“(To go) all in or go home itong show na ito,” said Jak of doing Never Say Goodbye. “Kapag hindi ko pa binigay dito, kailan pa, kailan pa ako mabibigyan ng chance? (If I didn’t give it a try and my all, when would my next chance come?). I’m so thankful to GMA for giving me such opportunities like this (show) and being cast in this kind of role. I really want to try my hand at different kinds of acting.”

Jak acknowledged the support of his fellow actors and the creative team, led by his director Paul Sta. Ana and associate director Pam Miras. It kept him on his toes during the entire shoot. The GMA Artist Center talent wanted to say thanks to them all.

Jak’s Bruce, as direk Paul talked about the show, is part of the ensemble that “is trying to dramatize the kind of love that is pure, especially because our main character (Joyce) here is sick. The One Who Got Away (Bruce) will eventually return to take care of her,” said he. “The show is saying that ‘Habang may buhay, may pag-asa.’ It’s a kind of love that gives us hope and tells us ‘Never to give up.’ It’s very dramatic, it’s very deep with the kind of love that we would all aspire for.”

Sharing the screen with Jak are Klea Pineda and Lauren Young, who were his leading ladies in Magpakailanman and Contessa, respectively. Klea and Lauren portray Joyce and Victoria in the TV series.

“They were very concerned about the people they were working with in scenes, like even before mag-start and after mag-eksena,” said he. “You could feel their support. Working with Lauren, you could get a lot of emotions from her. It was also the same with Klea. She was very organic, like sasakyan mo lahat ng ibabato niyang linya, sasakyan mo lahat ng reaksyon niya.”

As for his thoughts on the story, which somehow reminds one of Love Story and A Walk to Remember, Jak said: “When I read the script, my impression was, its story was all about life, like the sacrifices we make for our loved ones, the decisions that we need to think and do. All of that can be found here.”

Working again in a bubble, Jak could attest to the advantages of it: “The hotel quarantine allowed us to re-read the script and watch movies (for keeping myself refreshed). With the lock-in taping, ang sarap ng magtrabaho kasi tuloy tuloy yung trabaho, 14 hours of working and 10 hours of break. With that system, like what others say, you never lose your momentum and you’re in character.”

With that, Jak had the grip and grasp of his character. At the end, the actor was happy to know that his wish to play a meaty character had been granted.

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