JC de Vera says playing gay role gave him a ‘deeper understanding’ of LGBTs

JC de Vera and (right) Mikey Ledesma, the affluent gay jailbird he portrays in 'Best. Partee. Ever.' (Exclusive JC photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

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JC de Vera has proven that he is more than just a pretty face that networks love to slather all over primetime television. The 30-year-old actor has just won the QCinema International Film Festival Best Actor award for his role in Howard F. Yambao’s “Best. Partee. Ever.”

JC’s first gay role gave him his first acting award. It may have come as a surprise to some, even to JC himself, who claims to have “surprised” himself with his portrayal of an affluent gay man who spends five years in jail while his drug-related case undergoes trial.

JC did not undergo any special preparations, immersion or workshops for the role even as he treaded unfamiliar territory with the improv method of acting that was used for the scenes.

Recognition for his performance is due and with good reason. JC shines as the young, party-going yet discreetly gay Mikey Ledesma. Coming from a well-to-do family, Mikey is somewhat reserved, excessively pampered and well-mannered. The manifestations of his sexuality are subtle and yet JC naturally delivers them naturally with seeming ease.

It wasn’t a painless ride for the actor, however. “Everything” about the film was challenging, according to him. “Everything, from the beginning of the movie to the end. As in pawis talaga, pagod. Draining both physically and mentally,” he adds.

In the movie, JC’s character finds romantic companionship in prison inmate Pitik, played by Jordan Herrera. They have a kissing scene, which JC refers to as “the longest 30 seconds of my life.” He is quick to clarify though that he did not feel any form of hesitation towards the scene, which went pretty smoothly, even from a viewer’s perspective. No cut-to-cut editing was necessary.

He admits that being cast in a gay role has given him a deeper understanding of the LGBT community and better appreciation for gender equality. Filming in an actual prison facility on the other hand taught him the value of a life well-lived and of maintaining a clean slate.

He explains, “Ang pinakamatutuhan ko talaga is to treat everyone equally. Lalong-lalo na yung part na nasa jail ako. You gain friends. You experience other things na, alam mo yun, hindi mo ine-expect, you learn from all your mistakes inside so natutuhan ko talaga yung, live your life happily. Yung wala kang ginagawang mali para hindi mo pagbayaran yung mga mali mo the hard way.”

He further emphasizes on the need for equality regardless of sexual orientation. “Lalung-lalo na yung sa third sex, mas lumalim yung understanding ko pagdating dun. That you really have to treat everyone equally. As an actor I want to spread positivity. Na there’s equality in all of us. No one gets left behind. No discrimination. Dapat hindi mo sila nilalayuan, hindi mo sila dapat inaalis sa scene. Lahat dapat ine-embrace natin.”

JC has only high praises for his co-stars and the film crew. “Sila yung talagang ‘hasa’ pag dating sa ‘indie’ na sinasabi nila. Kasi ako galing ako sa mainstream. Galing ako sa TV. I felt good. Ang ganda ng experience na ipinakita nila sa akin.”

“Wonderful experience talaga,” he enthuses. “May bago silang tinuro sa akin, which is yun nga, improv acting, and ang galing, kasi they’re all down-to-earth, lahat sila very focused sila sa craft and not sa pagiging pogi, pagiging maganda. They really portray the characters as is, walang icing on top.”

JC’s foray into indie cinema hasn’t ended and “Best. Partee. Ever.” was only the beginning.

He also stars in Alfonso Torre’s “Tisay,” as an aspiring basketball player who meets a young beautiful bookie and gets introduced to the world of point shaving. The film is one of the finalists for this year’s Cinema One Originals.

On the other hand, JC has been working on “Dear Other Self,” a Star Cinema offering, with Jodi Sta. Maria. He will also co-star with Shaina Magdayao in “The Better Half,” an upcoming soap on ABS-CBN. He can be seen weekly on “Banana Sundae,” on the same network.

Aside from his showbiz commitments, JC’s new business venture is something that he looks forward to. The actor co-owns The Burgery, a laid-back burger joint with branches in Circuit Makati and BF Homes Parañaque.

Joining JC in the cast of “Best. Partee. Ever.” are Jordan Herrera, Aaron Rivera, Kristofer King, Mercedes Cabral, Tony Fabian, Shandii Bacolod, Acey Aguilar, Angela Cortez and Odette Khan.

Following its QCinema run, the film will again be screened at Cine Adarna, UPFI Film Center, UP DIliman on Friday, October 28, at 5PM and on Saturday, October 29 at 7:30PM.

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