Kapamilya React: JC Santos opens up on stirring roles, thrilled by own portrayals

It would only take seven minutes, four short clips from different shows to convince you that JC Santos is in a league of his own. Even the actor himself thinks he deserves a pat on the back as he reviews his past and present portrayals in this edition of Kapamilya React.


Till I Met You (2016)

From being a homegrown theater artist, the JaDine-starrer Till I Met You marked JC’s breakthrough role in television. He played Ali, the closeted gay friend of James Reid and Nadine Lustre’s respective characters Basti and Iris. Together, they would form primetime’s most plot-twist-filled love triangle of 2016.

JC carried with him traces of his theater roots – intricate and mesmerizing. Naturalism is a big part of his acting arsenal, evident in how he made playing Ali look genuine and never forced. In that confession scene where he finally came out, his delivery was coated with sincerity.

Looking back at that scene, JC couldn’t help but admire his own performance. He said he made sure to fit into his character. He also thinks the younger JC had better acting skills. “Inaral ko siya nang todo. Ibang-iba ‘yung character sa kung ano ako ngayon. Nag-dive talaga ako nang todo doon sa character. Payat na payat ako tapos ang lambot kong gumalaw. Even while I was saying ‘I’m gay,’ it was so sincere. Parang mas magaling ako noon. Good job JC Santos five years ago!”

Trivia: They chased the sunset for that scene. JC added that James kept on making funny reactions that he had trouble concentrating on delivering his lines.


Ipaglaban Mo (2017)

From light rom-com, JC showcased superb dramatic performance in an episode of Ipaglaban Mo titled “Testigo” where he played a deaf-mute man, who is the sole witness to a murder. In that scene where he narrated the incident to Sylvia Sanchez playing his mother, JC harnessed empathy and understanding for his character. It was an intense, moving performance viewers will either shed a tear or just be left gawking at JC’s brilliance.

JC revealed that his gestures are plainly improvised. He wasn’t asked to study formal sign language, “Ang hirap ng role na ‘to kasi hindi pinaaral sa akin ‘yung sign language. It was my interpretation para i-deliver ‘yung story without saying words, so that was an improvised scene.”

Although Sylvia’s character had more command of the sign language, it’s also more difficult to simultaneously carry out actions and dialogue, “’Yun ang pinakamahirap, eh pagsasabayin mo ‘yung actions at words. So, para ma-pull off namin itong eksenang ‘to, grabe ang intense nitong ekesenang ‘to. Wow! I’m actually impressed! May habag siya.”


FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (2018)

JC’s guesting for FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano ran for six months and we could say he’s one of the toughest rivals Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) ever had. He was even close to marrying Alyana (Yassi Pressman).

For his portrayal as Vice President Lucas Cabrera (Edu Manzano)’s son, Marco, JC proved his range dynamic and unpredictable. He was a seemingly perfect prince charming at first until he started to exhibit signs of psychotic tendencies. JC was like a ticking time bomb that can erupt into extreme dramatic anger in a snap.

Trivia: Marco was supposedly a lovable man in the story until JC tried to explore a scene and insert hints of fury. “The first time they talked to me about this role, he was supposed to be a good guy. Nag-improvised ako one time na nagalit ako sa isang staff ko and I pulled an Al Pacino na sigaw. Tapos, I think nagtuloy-tuloy siya.”

One of JC’s edge as an actor is his smooth ability to build his own character’s nuances, like what he did to Marco, “Nagkaroon na akong nuance na every time nagkakamot siya ng kilay, every time na nado’n na ako, binabasa ko ‘yung lines ni Marco I get angry right away.”

JC’s dedication transcends beyond the cameras. Influenced by the world of theater, he knows that work is also done behind the scenes, thus he inevitably imbibes his character’s persona. After playing Marco, JC had to get active in the gym to let go of everything.

“After mamatay ni Marco sa Probinsyano, I had to go to the gym. I had to change the whole lifestyle kasi baliw ako, eh. I’m that kind of a nerd when it comes to acting,” he said.


Walang Hanggang Paalam (2020-Present)

JC’s versatility is currently on full display in the action-drama series Walang Hanggang Paalam. As the loyal sidekick Caloy, he is everything rolled into one. He can serve as the comic relief, take on action scenes, do drama, and add a dash of light kilig.

JC enjoys playing Caloy because he’s given the freedom to explore the character. “Kasi binigay sa akin itong role na to, ‘Paglaruan mo, go all the way kung anong gusto mong gawin.’ Binigyan ako ng freedom na magpakasaya kung paano ko i-aatake ‘yung role.”

JC breezed through his portrayal because Caloy is more carefree, “It was a comic role, lagi siyang broken-hearted, ‘yung communication skills niya awkward. Adjustment-wise, nagawan ko kaagad ng paraan. Hindi na ako nahirapan.”

JC sure has great thespic muscles to flex that when combined with his grit and charisma make him a rare acting gem. Check out this video and have a little throwback fun with him!  

Don’t miss an episode of Walang Hanggang Paalam weeknights on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z and iWantTFC.