Leah Salterio – The Philippine Star

October 21, 2021 | 12:00am

However, this pandemic, Jeric inevitably acted in films that are streamed online. He is recently cast in the comedy-action caper, Barumbadings, the 12th film of controversial director Darryl Yap.

For the first time, Jeric is portraying a gay character, something that he has never essayed in the past. “From being an action star, medyo talagang nahirapan akong mag-adjust sa galawan,” Jeric admits. “Kung paano kumilos ng medyo malambot at paano magsalita. Pinaghandaan ko dito ‘yung paglalakad ng naka-stiletto.”

When he was alone inside his hotel room while in lock-in shooting, Jeric made it a point to practice walking in stilettos. “Suot ko bra at leggings,” he offers. “Sabi ko nga, i-respeto pa kaya ako ng mga fans ko kapag nakita akong ganu’n ang suot ko?”

The role, admittedly, is very challenging for Jeric. He plays Izzy, the Japanese-looking gay with samurai skills. His long, shiny black hair makes him not easily intimidated by anyone. He is a man of cryptic words. In fact, he’s the silent type.

“Ang dialogue ko lang sa buong movie, ‘Mother,’ pero hindi naman talaga ako pipi dito,” Jeric allows. “Pero napakahirap mag fight scene ng naka stiletto. ‘Yung takbuhan pa namin, pero na deliver naman namin ng maganda.”

Jeric also enjoyed working with his co-stars, like Mark Anthony Fernandez and Baron Geisler. “For a change, maiba naman,” Jeric says. “Pero na enjoy naman namin nila Mark at Baron.

“Hindi ako nagkamali sa pagpili ng movie na ‘to. Maganda naman ang kinalabasan. Very supportive naman lahat ng co-stars ko. At ang director namin, napaka-haba ng pasensiya.”

Jeric is grateful to direk Darryl for including him in the cast of the movie. “I must take this opportunity to thank direk Darryl at isa ako sa mga napili niya bilang gumanap na Barumbadings. Ang dami ko ng naging director at si direk Darryl lang ang nag-alok sa akin ng ganitong role. At mukhang pag uusapan ng tao. I’m looking forward na magkaroon ng Part 2.”

His family, including his daughter, sexy star AJ Raval, was immediately very supportive after he told them he was playing a gay role for the first time. “When I told them about the movie, na-excite agad sila,” Jeric grants. “So I said, ‘Aba, parang bago ito.’

“Sanay na kasi sila na ‘pag may bago akong movie, laging action or series. So hindi na sila masyadong nagugulat ‘pag gano’n. Hindi nga nila pinanonood ang mga seryeng ginagawa ko. But this one, excited sila sa project na ginawa ko. Ngayon lang naman ako naging gay sa movie.”

Jeric patterned his role after a Japanese character whom he initially showed to direk Darryl. When the latter agreed, it became easy for Jeric to play his part.

The actor was an original choice of direk Darryl to make up one of the three characters who work for Mother Joy, played by Joel Torre, in Barumbadings.

“I wanted Jeric also because I launched AJ in Paglaki Ko, Gusto Ko Maging Pornstar,” direk Darryl shares. “Kung ayaw ni Jeric, I will go to AJ at sa kanya ako lalapit. I really want straight men to play the role. I’m a director and the representation of the characters should be learned and researched.

“With the whole cast, they are all astute. Nahirapan lang ako sa pagpapalambot kasi sobrang controlled lahat. Every now and then, I would say, ‘Cut’ dahil napa-taas ang balikat ni Mark Anthony or ‘yung tindig nila Jeric or Baron matigas.”

Direk Darryl explains further, “Barumbadings is a combination of a well-researched script, right actors for the character and a little sprinkle of hope that maybe, the viewing public will appreciate that this (movie) is really something new.”

The director assures this is not the end of the series. “Barumbadings is a trilogy. This is just the first initial installment of it. We will expound more on the next two episodes.”

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