Let Benilde Blazers’ own ‘Richard Gomez’ charm you in his debut film
Barry Viloria on Dec 20, 2016 04:35 PM
"Ang showbiz idol ko ay si John Lloyd Cruz. Ang crush ko naman ay si Liza Soberano!" (All photos taken from de Guzman's Instagram: @johnvicdeguzman)
He makes the archetypal tall-dark-and-handsome combo who’d remind you of Richard Gomez’ 90s self on a boat, rowing down a lake. Throughout his grade school and high school years, he’d be frequently chosen as the class escort. He danced in campus events and was a member of a rock band for around two years in high school, too. From time to time, a lot of people have asked Benilde Blazers’ very own Johnvic de Guzman why he didn’t push through with showbiz.
That is, until now.
Just last week, de Guzman finished the press conference for the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival entry Seklusyon. The horror film is set in 1947, revolving around four deacons who go to live in a remote convent as part of the priesthood rites. De Guzman plays one of the deacons, and joins Neil Ryan Sese, Dominic Roque, and Ronnie Alonte in the cast. This is also the volleyball player’s debut film.
“Actually, active kasi ako sa pagsali-sali sa kung anu-ano so ayun, pero ang pagiging athlete simula elementary, badminton na ako until high school,” the 23 year-old jock explains.
While de Guzman tried his hand in a lot of extracurricular activities, sports later became his calling. A scholarship at the DLS-College of St. Benilde invited him to take on volleyball more seriously—and why not if you stand around 6’2” and could leap like a red kangaroo?
De Guzman proved to be a star, playing vital cog in CSB’s NCAA Season 90 Finals appearance and a Final Four spot in the next season that followed. This NCAA season, the graduating player is currently ranked as first in the MVP race.
The aspiring star
So, how did acting find its way back to de Guzman? Because of his being a star player in the collegiate ranks, he inevitably saw himself getting opportunities here and there. He modeled on the runway and for some brands, and did photo shoots for magazines. His biggest project: an ambassadorship for PLDT Home Ultera along with then-and-now UAAP superstars Alyssa Valdez, Mika Reyes, and Jaja Santiago.
It didn’t take long for de Guzman to get a talent manager. In April this year, he signed with Virtual Playground, which also houses the likes of Brandon Vera, Jeron Teng, other NBA, UAAP, and NCAA stars, and other non-sports personalities. Virtual Playground boosted his presence in TV shows and brand-sponsored launches and events. Ultimately, the agency also helped hook the volleyball player up with the Seklusyon production, led by its esteemed director Erik Matti.
Why did de Guzman decide to push through with it? Unexpectedly, it was for the fans.
“This is my first time to do acting. Since it’s an opportunity, I grabbed it kasi naisip ko na hindi lang pala sa volleyball ko ma-e-entertain ang mga supporters but also sa pag-arte,” explains the star athlete who currently keeps around 13,500 followers on Instagram.
The certified star
Seklusyon will be shown in theaters starting Christmas day, at a storied annual festival since the Marcos era. The movie is part of a string of flicks chosen so this year not for their commercial value but for their showcase of artistic excellence. Seklusyon and the rest are in contrast to the predictably box-office hits in the recent decade or so. And so this just put more pressure on the acting beginner.
“Syempre, may konting kaba at excitement at the same time hindi ko alam gagawin ko!” he laughs.
For the film, de Guzman underwent a one-week workshop with his co-stars. Matti—who earned nominations and awards for his past films Magic Temple, On The Job, and Honor Thy Father (the student-athlete’s favorite!)—headed the seminar.
“Sobrang blessed ako na si Direk kasi dati napapanuod ko lang mga movies niya. Ngayon, part na ako!”
“Madami kaming ginawa, pati kung paano ka magiging malapit sa mga kasama mo. Yung ipapakita mo kung ano ka, kung paano kayo magbo-bond as a team tapos kung paano mo mailalabas feelings mo,” he recalls the workshop. “Sa una, medyo awkward pero kailangan mo lang gawin at isapuso at isip yung linapagawa para makuha mo at matuto ka. Yung need mong ipakita yung takot at kaba without saying anything.”
Like acting with your eyes and body language? We ask.
The star athlete
De Guzman feels grateful for Seklusyon, which got his one foot at the door of celebrity. He admits getting “star struck” over everyone in the cast “dahil pare-pareho silang magagaling pero magkakaiba. Sobrang kulit at walang ka arte-arte, mabait, humble, kalog, at panay kalokohan kaming lahat pag nasa labas. Minsan nagkakantahan kami, nag-gi-gitara pag walang gingawa, tapos kwentuhan.” His favorite costar, he says, would be child star Rhed Bustamante.
There was no special treatment for De Guzman, who spent “basically 24 hours” taping.
“Pag matagal, 4 a.m. ang pack up. Maaga na ang 2 a.m. Umabot ng two-three months ang buong taping pero ako eight days lang.”
How did the Human Resources Management senior squeeze it all in?
“Actually, time management lang po talaga. Sa morning, training. Then hapon, aral.”
“May times na diretso ako sa training, tapos gawa ng thesis. Buti nalang mabait ang coaches ko, may times na hindi ako pinagte-training at pinapahinga nalang nila ako then, thank God nataapos ko lahat pati thesis ko,” he sighs.
Still, de Guzman considers all this a blessing “kaya sobrang saya, lahat ng pagod at hirap nabawi!” Nowadays, he keeps busy overtaking LPU’s Joeward Presnede and Letran’s Bobby Gatdula as the NCAA’s hero while promoting his debut film. (Yes, you can spot him at various mall shows, singing and dancing!) Is showbiz going to be de Guzman’s endgame?
“What’s next? We'll see, hindi ko pa po alam, eh!” he teases. “Kung may opportunity sa showbiz, kahit ano naman gagawin ko, wag lang nakakasira ng dignidad.”
“Actually, hindi nagkakalayo ang showbiz and sports, eh. Sa volleyball, nag-e-entertain ka ng tao sa pamamagitan ng paglalaro. Sa showbiz, nag-e-entertain ka ng tao sa pag-arte. Ang pinagkaiba lang nila, sa showbiz, mas madaming field ang pwedeng gawin.”