John Prats, gay?
Yes, 22-year old actor John Prats is indeed gay! But this is only in the movie, "Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife," Regal Films entry to the forthcoming 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines.
This is the very first time that the actor and commercial model is playing a gay role although he has been exposed, quite comfortably, to third-sex situations since his uncle is gay and his aunt is a lesbian. "Tatlo silang mga anak, but it was only my father who gave my grandparents mga apo." John revealed during an interview at Regal Valencia.
Both his uncle and aunt are based in the States. He also proudly informed us that in New York, his uncle publishes a very successful gay magazine called "Instinct."
So how did John prepare for his gay role in "Ako Legal Wife?"
"Actually, wala naman talaga ako preparation for my role. duín na lang sa set with my initial interactions with Direk Joel Lamangan who has his way of motivating his stars on how best to portray their roles. Basta sasabihin na lang niya what Iíll do, like when he told me to split for a certain scene. Grabe, ang sakit!" John laughed, certainly proud of what heís done.
The young actor admitted that playing the closet gay Hamilton Chong, firstborn of Zsa Zsa Padilla and Jay Manaloís characters, was very demanding and difficult. "Nahirapan talaga ako. Everytime may shooting kami, pinagpapawisan ako, parang demetro lahat...It was the most challenging role so far in my 14-year acting career."
It is recalled that John started out with the now defunct but once very popular kiddie show "Ang TV" when he was only eight.
Playing such a colorful character in "Ako Legal Wife," John of course has many highlights in the film, two of which are seen in the trailer. And yet, they are already strong enough to leave preview audiences in stitches!
Direk Joel canít stop raving about Johnís performance, even going so far as saying that John is a shoo-in for the Best Festival Supporting Award, "Heís a revelation," the multi-awardwinning director gushed. "I just hope that heís not handicapped because the movie is a comedy and acting awards tend to be given to actors in serious dramas."
The director also lauded Johnís bravery in accepting a role that most image-conscious actors would dare not touch. "Ibang-ibang si John dito. In one scene, he appears in drag much to the consternation of his mom. Some of the movieís best moments belong to John and he really rose to the challenge. In one scene, he not only rose. he did a cartwheel," he revealed.
For his part. John took all the praise good-naturedly. "I did my best with this role. and Iím happy that Direk Joel was pleased with my work. Ayoko gawing caricature si Hamilton. Gusto ko ma-retain yung heart niya," he beamed.
John described himself as someone who loves surprises and one who never turns his back on challenges thatís why he welcomed with enthusiasm his gay role in "Ako Legal Wife." But he doesnít want to be typecast in gay roles thatís why he declined the offer for him to do another such role in the ABS-CBN soap "Vietnam Rose."
"Iím not closing my door to gay roles," he stressed however. "Basta maganda ang istorya, Iíll do it again." He is also challenged by the digital film, which has its way of expressing art, he said as he raved about "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros." John would like to do a digital movie one of these days, he said.
"Iíd like to do a film without limitations," he added.
He confessed to having no lovelife at the moment. After his break-up with Heart Evangelista (and later with Maja Salvador) he has no plan to get into another relationship at the moment.
"Iím enjoying my single life, Iím enjoying my barkada, so wala munang lovelife." The charmer with that wholesome and boy-next-door image finds it somehow relieving that heís been freed from the limiting confines of the loveteam mold. He has since re-invented himself, with success.
Right now, John is in the cast of the sitcom "My Juan and Only" and he is slated to make another movie for Regal Films next year.