“ONE hundred percent.”

This was the honest and direct answer of actor Tony Labrusca when asked if he considered it a blessing in disguise that he did not win “Pinoy Band Superstar,” a singing competition in ABS-CBN back in 2016.

The 22-year-old said that just like most hopefuls trying to join showbiz, he also auditioned for Pinoy Big Brother (PBB), a reality show also on the Kapamilya Network.

And although the universe did not conspire for him that day, he believes that one’s star will shine at the right place and at the right time.

Thus came “Pinoy Band Superstar,” where he was one of the top contenders.

After his stint with the singing competition, a bigger door of opportunity opened when he was cast in “La Luna Sangre,” a horror-fantasy series headlined by Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla in 2017.

He played Jake, a half-human and half-werewolf ally of Malia, Bernardo’s character.

With his charm and toned physique, Tony made a buzz online with his appearance in the fantaserye.

“It’s really about timing,” he says.

After ”La Luna Sangre” Tony will debut on the big screen via the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2018 entry, ”ML.”

Directed and written by Benedict Mique Jr., the film also stars veteran actor Eddie Garcia, Tony’s fellow PBS alumnus Henz Villaraiz and Lianne Valentino.

Tell us about “ML.”

It is about Martial Law. It’s gonna be exciting and definitely relatable because Martial Law is part of our history.

Also, it is relevant to what ishappening to us today. It could be a very controversial movie because it talks about a sensitive topic and everybody
will definitely have something to take away from it.

What’s your role in the film?

My character’s name is Carlo. His background, how he was raised… he is very sheltered. He is a little bit ignorant of what Martial Law is because, from his perspective, he has never experienced it first-hand.

My character is a happy-go-lucky guy, and for the most part— just like I think most of the kids my age—is ignorant of Martial Law.

Are you “Carlo” in real life?

I can relate to my character because Carlo doesn’t know much about Martial Law, too.

It’s something that I only heard through stories.

I was raised in the U.S. and Canada. I’m very Westernized. Over there, my mom, my grandmother… like Martial Law is really not our thing
because we are far away.

How did you attack your character?

I just worked on it so that it would be as relatable as possible.

As an actor, I listen to my director and I just have to make sure he is guiding me at all times.

Is “ML” inspired by real-life events?

I don’t want to reveal too much details, but it’s more about my relationship with the Colonel, played by Tito Eddie Garcia.

His character has experienced Martial Law first-hand.

How was it working with THE Eddie Garcia?

Everybody calls him The Legend and he really is. I am just happy na for such a new actor and in my very first film, I got to work with such an amazing actor.

That’s crazy! I’m always gonna put that on my resume.

Not everybody will be able to say that they worked with Tito Eddie.

Did you get any acting tips from him?

How do I say this?

He would not tell me what to do. But he told me one thing that everybody says also—it’s really about the eyes, subtle eyes. He told me that I am a subtle actor, which is good in my opinion. Kasi at least, I am not starting out na sobrang overacting sa acting.

He is an amazing actor and I learned from him. Like, I can really vibe out his energy when we are doing the scenes so I can feel that he was in that moment and that really helped me.

How did you get the role? Did you audition?

I had just the right look. Sabi nila they needed an Alpha-looking male.

Are you an Alpha male in real life?

I don’t know. Honestly, I am pretty chill. But I just look the part ‘eh. That’s what Direk wanted. Ayun, we had a meeting. Actually, they did audition for that part, but I was not able to audition for it. But after they did all the auditions, si Direk,

I guess he still wanted my look.

What’s the most challenging part of the movie?

The most challenging part for me was really staying in the moment because there were torture scenes, and at times it was tiring na.

It felt like I was being tortured na. I think it was more physically challenging.

What have you learned from this project?

Let’s not be ignorant about political issues.

Whether you are a teenager in the States or in Asia, it is good to be aware of your surroundings and what is going on in your area.

Sana the millennials and the new generation will be more informed. After our parents kasi we are next in line sa future.

How are you dealing with your celebrity status?

I know there are a lot of people who are saying na: ‘Oh, you’re a celebrity, an artista.”

Well, I just think I have a cool job. But definitely I am still finding my passion, I’m still discovering myself. At the end of the day, I am still a human being. I don’t feel like a big star.

I’m just trying to make a living just like anybody else, you know.

I just want to buy my own house, my own car, provide for my family.

It just so happens that I have this cool job and I am blessed that I am able to provide for my family.

But was it always your dream to join showbiz?

I always knew I wanted attention.

That’s for sure. Kulang sa pansin! Joke! Growing up, my parents did not push me to become a lawyer or a doctor, anything like that. I was kinda confused about what I’m gonna get myself into in the future.

I did not set up myself for college.

I have never been into college.

What course will you take up in college?

I’m thinking of Psychology. I like analyzing things. I am also a very emotional person. I like to get to the bottom of things.

Would you prefer to be in a love team or go solo?

Honestly, being in a love team is fun.

Being solo is fun.

My opinion is that if you are an actor, entertainer, performer, you should be able to do everything and anything.

You should be able to work with a love team and be able to stand alone.

My goal is to do both. So that if they can pair me with a leading lady kaya kong gawin ‘yun and kaya ko rin mag- stand alone. But being in a love team is really fun.

Your love team partner Kisses Delavin is also being paired with Donny Pangilinan. Do you get along with Donny?

Donny and I get along. I wouldn’t say we are close friends or anything, but yeah, we get along.

What is your dream role?

I have a lot. I want to be in a fantaserye again.

You seemed to enjoy the fight scenes in “La Luna Sangre.”

Merong isa (scene) na natakot talaga ako. May scene kasi kami na napagod na daw yung mga tao na puro na mga bampira pinapatay namin.

We had fight scenes with humans. There was a gun.. and ‘yung gun is ganito kalapit (points to face).

‘Yung gusto ni Direk, ipuputok muna ang baril before ilag. It was scary because they had a gun right in front of my face.

I got scared because Bruce Lee’s son died because of an accident.

He was accidentally shot on the set. That was really scary for me.

There was another scene with an assault rifle ha. Direk wanted me to jump on the floor and roll sideways and the gun was like “Brttttttt … “ That was scary. Kahit may blocking sobrang nakakatakot. I did it kahit wala akong stunt double.

Why did you not have a stunt double?

Mas maganda ‘yung angle pag ikaw talaga ‘eh. If you have a double they have to do an angle na hindi nakikita ang mukha mo.

Does this mean you want to do action movies in the future?

I want to do action films. That is one of my favorite projects. Action and more superpowers, like the “X-Men.”

You’re always in Cebu. What are the places you’ve been to?

Cebu has amazing beaches. We went to Kawasan Falls (Badian) and Oslob in the south.

We also went to Pescador Island in Moalboal. Basta maganda! We also went to Camotes.

We went to the caves kung saan nag shoot sila Kathryn (Bernardo) sa film (Can’t Help Falling In Love) nila.

You’re turning 23 on Aug. 7. What’s your birthday wish?

To be very rich and powerful. But also keep my relationship with God.

What do you mean by powerful?

There are many types of power.

For example, knowing your self-worth —that is very powerful. You know exactly how much your worth is as a person.

And you understand that God made you perfectly.

Imagine what kind of power you have. You can truly be yourself. I think that is really powerful.


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