John: Longevity, not stardom, matters more
By: Maridol RaŮoa-Bismark
From: Philippine Star   [June 18, 2005]

    There are new talents and then some. Surf the channels and you see talent search after talent search. John Prats knows this but heís not afraid.

    "Why should I feel insecure? Itís so easy to be an actor, especially these days. Whatís hard is continuing to be one. Showbiz is not so much about being famous but staying long in the game," he declares.

    Besides, John just stumbled upon showbiz one fine day. It was never part of his plan. So he doesnít have hang-ups about its glittery trappings and the snap-of-a-finger pleasures it brings.

    To drive home his point, John shrugged his shoulders when someone told him his name in the Happily Ever After poster is below that of younger co-star Rainier Castilloís.

    "Billing has never been an issue for me," John states. "Iím more concerned about work and what I do in the film. There are no small roles, only small actors."

    John cites his role in Mano Po 3 as a case in point.

    "My role there (that of the young Christopher de Leon) was short, but it created an impact," observes John. These are the kinds of roles not necessarily long, but meaty that he goes for.

    He also mentions the case of Al Pacino, who can swing from lead to cameo roles with ease. And if Pacino can do it, why canít John?

    He concedes though, that he wonít stand by and twiddle his thumbs while those young stars shoot like a meteor right in front of his nose. He has to re-invent himself, to show the public a side of him they havenít seen before.

    And thatís why heís gone back to a childhood passion: dance.

    "I loved dancing ever since I can remember," he says. John danced up a storm as part of the Ang TV Kids. He is poised to host the next season of Star Dance. Better yet, he will have a dance concert at Music Museum in August or September.

    But first things first. John is beside himself with job about finally getting to work with director Maryo J. delos Reyes in the title role of Playboy Kuba, one of three love stories in MAQ Productionsí Happily Ever After.

    "Since Iím his big fan, I felt intimidated on the set at first," admits John. He soon found out how unfounded his fears were.

    "We were always laughing on the set," John reports. Never mind if one sequence took all of two hours to do. Direk Maryo, as everyone knows, has an eye for detail.

    Portraying the playboy hunchback opposite Maxene Magalona as love interest was a breeze for John. That disfigured face with the woebegone look is enough to stir feelings of apathy and self-pity. No need for histrionics or any attention-getting tactic there.

    What was hard was the prosthetics. John reveals he had to report to the set two hours earlier than fellow cast members because of this.

    "I just took a nap for two hours, which was how long it took to put the prosthetics on," says John.

    Now that he has bid goodbye to his loveteam days with Heart Evangelista, John is finally getting an identity of his own. He has, in other words, survived the loveteam kiss of death to many a male actorís career.

    In fact, heís excited about playing a closet homosexual (at least to his parents) in Regal Filmsí Ako Legal Wife. The movieís playdate may still be far off (August or in the Metro Filmfest) but this early, John is already doing his homework. Heís studying the movements of a gay director whose subtle tweaks of the finger and other gestures give away his uh, sexual preference.

    His character, obviously, is not the flamboyant type. And this excites John no end. As to how this straight guy will fare in his first gay role, thatís for all of us to find out when Joel Lamanganís latest comedy-romance hits the big screen.

    John Prats has every reason to feel high these days. He couldnít have gotten these juicy roles had he stuck to his matinee idol image. The heartthrob profile has given way to more serious, more mature roles that will give Johnís character the depth of a seasoned performer.

    Who knows, these types of roles might just lead John to his dream, not of stardom, but of longevity in the biz he has learned to love through the years.