FOR SOMEONE on top of his game, actor John Lloyd Cruz is unafraid of losing his status. This is because he has accepted the fact that stardom cannot last forever and that eventually, someone younger and more virile will replace him.
In an exclusive interview with Inquirer Lifestyle, he said it was important for him to face this fact early on, as it now pushes him to work even harder so he can provide for his family and his future.
“Ayokong malaos na wala akong naipundar. I’m 29 but I see myself getting married and becoming a father in the next few years. It’s my dream to be a good provider,” he said.
With a string of top-grossing movies, long-running teleseryes and over a dozen existing endorsements under his belt, Cruz seems to be doing a good job at trying to secure his future. His boyish good looks have obviously helped, but his acting talent is truly remarkable.
Whoever he is teamed up with—be it Bea Alonzo, Sarah Geronimo, Angel Locsin or Toni Gonzaga—Cruz manages to make viewers believe he is truly, madly, deeply in love with each of them.
Asked whether he makes it a point to know his costar before they are paired, he said he doesn’t do that, preferring to get to know them while doing the project.
Thrill of the new
“I’ve known Bea for 10 years, we were together in a number of teleseryes, but the others I only worked with recently. Maybe because it happened this way—that we were not friends before we did the project—probably helped the chemistry,” Cruz said.
“I can’t imagine having a successful tandem with someone I’m familiar with, like Jodi (Sta. Maria) who is a good friend, but then we’ve never been paired. Perhaps working with people I am unfamiliar with helps,” he added.
Like any actor, Cruz wants to develop his talent further, but he is not yet sold on method acting because it might not sit well with his producers, director and co-actors. Still, he admitted being amazed when he read how actor Daniel Day-Lewis prepared for his Oscar-winning role in “My Left Foot.”
“At their first table reading, the actor entered the room in a wheelchair because his character, Christy Brown, had cerebral palsy. Throughout the shoot, he remained in character. Method acting is more cerebral. I don’t think the people on the sets I work with will allow me to do that,” Cruz said.
He need not have worried. Whether he’s wooing his costar or weeping in front of her, Cruz makes it look real. “We can talk about all these different approaches when it comes to acting but what I can offer is sincerity—to the material and to the character,” he said.
On his day off, Cruz either has a massage at home or checks out a new restaurant. “That has been my obsession for the past few years, trying out the new restaurants near my house in Pasig. I think I’m turning into a foodie,” Cruz said.
He credits this interest to locally published books that list down restaurants that are worth trying. On a recent trip to Tokyo, Cruz recalls feasting on the freshest sushi and sashimi near the Tsukiji Market. He also admitted to being hooked on the current ramen craze, singling out those that offered a close approximation to the ramen he sampled in Tokyo.
“The restaurant scene in Manila is very much alive. Cooks who study abroad often put up their own restaurants once they get back. That’s great for people like me who are always on the lookout for something new,” he said.
Longing for the familiar
Despite his current penchant for Japanese food, Cruz says he still longs for familiar flavors like sinangag (fried rice), tinapa (smoked fish) and gatas ng kalabaw (fresh carabao’s milk). When he visits his parents in their Marikina home, lunch always consists of favorites like nilagang baka (slow-cooked beef soup) and grilled fish.
“The funny thing is even if we’re in the middle of eating, somebody will ask what we’ll be having for our afternoon snack or for dinner. That’s when I decide to give Luis a call.” Luis Velasco is the marketing director at Greenwich Pizza, one of Cruz’s longtime endorsement deals.
“I simply tell him that I want to impress my family, and Luis already knows what I mean,” Cruz said.
Aside from sending over fried chicken and lasagna, Velasco includes a couple of the popular pizza chain’s Ultimate Special Overload Pizzas with its 13 mouthwatering toppings ranging from beef, bacon and pepperoni to fresh vegetables like mushrooms and bell peppers.
Cruz turns introspective when asked again about the fleeting quality of fame.
“Everything that’s happening to me now is good but I have to realize, that’s just for now. Every actor—whether he is Aga Muhlach or Richard Gomez—reaches the zenith of his career. But then when you’re there, there’s no other way to go but down,” he said.
Cruz has accepted it will happen to him eventually, but not now. Not in the near future.
“Tuluy-tuloy pa tayo, bata pa eh (I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing. I’m still young).”