What matters most to John Prats
From: The Philippine Star [December 22, 2004]

    Itís not the height that counts, but the talent. This, John Prats would like to tell detractors who point out that his being uh, vertically-challenged makes him less of an actor to reckon with.

    "Look at Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. What they lack in height, they compensate in terms of talent. Itís talent that counts," John explains. And heíd like to believe that itís also this talent that has enabled him to stick around in the business this long. The star of the Metro Filmfest entry Mano Po 3 no longer has to rely on Heart Evangelista, his partner in many a romantic flick, to get public attention these days. John is on his own and doing fine, thank you.

    The matinee idol looks are still there, yes. But they are no longer used solely to melt an enamored girlís heart in those syrupy movies he used to make.

    In Mano Po 3, those looks assume more character, tempered as they are with an activistís angst and a typical teenagerís idealism. John plays the young Jay Manalo (cast as Vilma Santosí husband) in the movie about love lost and found after so many years.

    In the flashback scenes where he figures prominently with Angelica Panganiban (as the young Vilma Santos) and Carlo Aquino (as the young Christopher de Leon, Vilmaís first love), John did more than just woo his inamorata. His eyes expressed not just longing for Angelicaís character, who did not love him, but Carlo instead. John conveyed pain and quiet acceptance when he discovered the truth about Angelicaís feelings towards Carlo.     The budding maturity did not escape the critical eye of Johnís director, Joel Lamangan. Johnís role, his director says, required serious acting. And he didnít disappoint.

    This is vital for someone like John, whose role in the movie is crucial. The flashback scenes, after all, propel the story, providing the why and where for of the movie itself.

    Itís Johnís golden chance to prove himself in the acting department. And heís understandably eager to see how people will take it. Heís keeping his fingers crossed that after Mano Po 3, the audience will see him in a totally new light.

    John hopes that from here on, the audience will see him, not merely as the other half of a hit love team, but a series actor who can stand, and shine on his own.

    After all, at 21, John is past the teenybopper stage, and, like all actors who must make a mark on their own, John must move on. He knows he canít play second fiddle to his leading lady in many a romantic flick or TV show forever.

    Heart Evangelista, his love teammate for four years, is now being paired with Geoff Eigenmann. And while he admits feeling a sense of loss, John knows he canít hold on to her forever. Itís time for both of them to move on.

    John himself is committed to his nonshowbiz girlfriend, rumors linking him to Jeni Hernandez notwithstanding. "I like her face. Yes, weíve gone out on dates, but sheís a friend, no more, no less. My girlfriend is nonshowbiz," he says.

    He may be in a relationship right now, but John says this doesnít mean heís ready to be a father, wed or unwed. Heís learning a lot from a friend, who was thrust into fatherhood at a young age.

    "I can see how he puts his childís needs before his. Itís such a big responsibility Iím not yet ready for. As it is, mga kapatid ko pa lang, nakukulitan na ako," explains John.

    Besides, the ABS-CBN Star Magic talent already has his hands full. He has his career and studies (Business Management at Thames ) to focus on. The balancing act alone is enough to keep him gainfully occupied his mind away from temptation. This way, too, he can keep on behaving, and starring in more movies and shows to prove that yes, itís not the height that counts, but the talent.

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