A great actor is like what “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe once said as one “worth their salt (who) wants to show as much versatility as they possibly can."
Perhaps, that's the reason why local celebrities, particularly the Kapamilya actors are challenged to take on roles like that of gays. In this episode of Kapamilya Snaps, we feature outstanding actors who left their comfort zone in their thespic craft, and took on difficult gay roles onscreen.
Yves Flores starred in the primetimes series A Soldier’s Heart (2020) as Benjie, who eventually came out as gay. He had a budding romance with Phil (Jerome Ponce).
A Soldier’s Heart is about the challenges and ordeals of a group of soldiers in a protracted war in the southern Philippines. Benjie’s character was only one of the examples that showed how everyone is brave in their own ways.
The 26-year-old started his showbiz journey as a housemate in Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4 and has since been a Star Magic talent. At present, Yves stars as Eduardo 'Dodong' Ponce in the series Bagong Umaga. Most of his appearances on television were in Ipaglaban Mo.
Albie Casiño has been a hunk throughout his career, especially after starring in Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Los Bastardos (2018), but he does not shy away from all kinds of roles. In the 2016 Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Picture,” Albie portrayed the role of Bong who transitioned into a woman named Erika.
In 2018, he played Lucas Aguilar and Lucas Cardinal in Los Bastardos with Jake Cuenca, Marco Gumabao, Joshua Colet, Joseph Marco, and Diego Loyzaga.
Matt Evans is another action who is no stranger to gay roles. He portrayed them in movies “The Reunion” (2012) and “Must Date the Playboy” (2015) as well as in the teleserye The Greatest Love (2016).
In a previous interview, Matt talked about how these roles are a blessing to him and that they helped him better understand the struggles of others.
Evans, now 34, started his career in Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 1 with Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson. He rose to fame via local television series like Komiks Presents: Da Adventures of Pedro Penduko, Tanging Yaman, and Rosalka.
After a long hiatus from showbiz, Hero Angeles made his TV comeback with a lead role in the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Salon” in 2017, portraying the transgender Pia. This was followed by another gay role, this time for the hit primetime drama Halik (2018). As Ken, he was the best friend of Jacky (Yen Santos).
He bested four other questors in the Grand Finals of ABS-CBN's popular reality star search in the Philippines, Star Circle Quest's first season in 2004. After winning the Grand Teen Questor title, he appeared in several TV shows on the Network, like the youth-oriented program SCQ Reload and the fantasy series Krystala, led by Judy Ann Santos. He was one of the hottest young stars in 2004, and his love team with Sandara Park was popular with box-office hits like “Bcuz Of U” and “Can This Be Love.”
In the popular teleserye Till I Met You in 2016, JC Santos took on the role of Ali, the third wheel to Nadine Lustre’s Iris and James Reid’s Basti. At first it seemed Ali was in love with Iris but it was later revealed that he actually had feelings for Basti.
Santos was a Theater Arts graduate at the University of the Philippines-Diliman where he began his acting career appearing in plays by Dulaang UP. A few years later, before finishing his thesis at UP, he got accepted to work at Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios-Singapore, respectively, as a singer and dancer. In New York City, he studied musical theater at the Circle in the Square Theatre School.
Neil Coleta starred in the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Motorsiklo” in 2018 as Jeffrey, a hairdresser who eventually found an unusual but loving relationship. Jeffrey, who is openly gay, fell in love with Ashley (Alora Sasam), who is openly lesbian. Their story proved that love has no gender.
Neil began his acting career in youth oriented shows and TV advertisements. He would then appear in the film “I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila!” portraying a gay role. His work for the film garnered several reviews that made him win the New Movie Actor of the Year Award from the 29th PMPC Star Awards for Movies in 2013. He was also nominated as Movie Supporting Actor of the Year.
Jerome Ponce was unexpectedly cast for a gay role in the millennial movie “Ang Henerasyong Sumuko sa Love” (2019), but he proudly accepted the challenge which offered many firsts. Before this, Jerome already played a gay character in the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Pintura” in 2016.
Jerome rose to fame after being cast in the hit Philippine daytime series Be Careful With My Heart as Luke Andrew Lim and in The Good Son as Lorenzo 'Enzo' Buenavidez. His most recent teleserye was A Soldier’s Heart playing 2nd Lt. Phil Panganiban, who incidentally figured in a bromance with the gay character Benjie, played by Yves Flores.
He portrayed a minor role in an underground musical play and started his showbiz career as a stage actor.
Joross Gamboa has taken on two gay roles for Maalaala Mo Kaya. The first was Yvonne in a 2007 episode titled “Cellphone”. This was followed almost a decade later by the character of Sashi in the episode “Singsing”. For this episode, Joross shared the screen with Roxanne Guinoo.
Joross was the second runner-up in Star Circle Quest's first season. In 2012, his performance in the 8th Cinemalaya Independent Film Fest entry, “Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino” made him win the Best Supporting Actor. He also got a Gawad Urian nomination for the film, the following year.
At the 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival, he was nominated as Best Actor for his portrayal as John 'Dying Diva' Samson or Yolly Redgrave in “Deadma Walking.”
Arjo Atayde has proven numerous times that he is a truly talented actor. He has played a kontrabida, a character with a disability, and a gay role.
In 2018, Arjo shared the journey of Rocky Gathercole in the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Sketch Pad,” which was about a Filipino who became a fashion designer in Saudi Arabia in pursuit of his dream of being a successful avant-garde designer.
In real life, he's Juan Carlos Campo Atayde, the son of veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez. He is most known for portraying the antagonist Joaquin Tuazon in FPJ's Ang Probinsyano. He was also took on a mentally challenged role as Elijah 'Elai' Sarmiento in The General's Daughter.
PMPC Star Awards for Television recognized him as Best Male New TV Personality in 2012 for “Bangka” and Best Single Performance by an Actor in 2014 for his portrayal of a gay parent in “Dos Por Dos.”
In 2020, Arjo was hailed as Best Actor in the 3rd Asian Academy Creative Awards for his role in iWantTFC’s digital series “Bagman,” his biggest career highlight.
Joshua Garcia is one of the most talented actors in his generation. And in 2016, he took on a character that was outside of his comfort zone.
As Ernesto or “Barbie” in the 2016 MMK episode “Puno,” he told the story about the power of love, freedom, and sexuality.
In 2015, he joined the hit reality show Pinoy Big Brother: All In as a teen housemate. He rose to fame for his critically acclaimed performances in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival top-grosser “Vince and Kath and James.”
He showed his exceptional acting chops as Zosimo in The Greatest Love in 2016 and Joseph in The Good Son in 2017. He would then star in the primetime teleseryes Ngayon at Kailanman in 2018 and The Killer Bride in 2019. He also topbilled different films such as “Love You to the Stars and Back (2017),” “Unexpectedly Yours (2017)”, “I Love You, Hater (2018),” and “Block Z (2020)”. He also starred in the comeback film of Sharon Cuneta, “Unexpectedly Yours.”
As Cardo on FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Coco Martin has been shooting one action-packed scene after another. For one of Cardo’s undercover missions, he had to transform into the alluring Paloma and join a beauty pageant to tighten the noose on a human trafficking syndicate.
In 2010, he became part of ABS-CBN's primetime drama cast members in Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo, and had his first leading role in the action series Tonyong Bayawak.
His other works are Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, Walang Hanggan, Ikaw Lamang, and Juan dela Cruz.
More than playing a character, these Kapamilya actors help shed light on the challenges that members of the LGBTQ+ community experience. Through these portrayals, viewers can hopefully better understand the LGBTQ+ community and embrace inclusiveness.
As actors, their strength is their ability to be versatile.