‘Deadma Walking’ star Joross Gamboa on gay roles: ‘Maybe it’s my soft facial features’

December 23, 2017 - 6:50 AM
Joross Gamboa.

As one of the country’s most versatile actors, Joross Gamboa has done his fair share of gay roles of every permutation.

From closeted types in indie features like “I Love You. Thank You” and “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako,” to cross-dressers like his role as Madonna in TV5’s “Beki Boxer” and his dolled-up character in the latest Kathniel blockbuster “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the 32-year- old Star Circle alumnus has done it all.

At the recent promotional activity for “Deadma Walking,” the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival entry produced by T-Rex Entertainment and distributed by OctoArts Films, Joross was asked why he often gets offered to play gay characters.

“It may have something to do with my soft facial features. Madali daw gawing babae,” he responded.

Even with his already impressive credentials which also include a Cinemalaya Best Supporting Actor recognition for “Intoy Syokoy sa Kalye Marino,” Joross still needed to audition for the lead role in “Deadma Walking.”

In this film billed as “a comedy of ‘deadly’ proportions,” the friendship of gay BFFs (best friends for life) Mark (Joross) and John (Edgar Allan Guzman) is put to the test when one of them discovers he has a terminal illness and asks the other to help him stage his fake death, wake, and funeral as his dying wish.

Joross admits that his portrayal of Mark is a little different compared to the way he tackled his previous gay roles.

“Masyado na kasi akong naging comfortable sa mga pilantik, sa lambot ng boses, nalalaro ko na ng konti yung mga ganitong role. For this movie, however, I have to play it straight because my role here is that of a regular guy who does not come across as gay,” he pointed out.

Joross added that the only time he has to dress in drag was during his own “wake” so that he won’t be recognized by those paying their last respects with the exception of his closeted best friend (played by Edgar Allan Guzman) who is in on the joke.

Joross Gamboa (second from left) poses with screenwriter Eric Cabahug, director Julius Alfonso, co-star Edgar Allan Guzman, and executive producer Rex Tiri during the story conference for ‘Deadma Walking.’

The film will inevitably draw comparisons to Jun Lana’s “Die Beautiful,” which was the sleeper hit of last year’s MMFF.

“Both films tackle life and death but that’s where the similarities end. ‘Deadma Walking’ is a very different film with a different twist,” Joross noted.

Following “Moonlight Over Baler,” “Deadma Walking” is also the second straight film produced by T-Rex Productions (“Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli,” “Patay Na Si Hesus”) that is based on a Palanca-winning screenplay.  It was written by Eric Cabahug and will mark the directorial debut of Julius Alfonso.

Being a seasoned actor who juggles indie and mainstream projects, Joross is very much thankful for all the work that comes his way, be it on film or television. He does find it a little more challenging to do indies not just because he occasionally gets to play lead but also due to the fact that he’s given more opportunities to flex his acting muscles.

“In almost all of my mainstream films, I usually play the best friend of one of the lead characters. Ako na yata ang best friend ng bayan, ang male version ni Nikki Valdez,” he cracked. “In indies, I get to play around a lot with my character and add more depth to the dramatic scenes.”

And yes, he also gets to land roles originally intended for the more sought-after leading men.

“I heard this project was offered to John Lloyd Cruz and Dingdong Dantes. They both liked it but their busy schedule could not allow them to commit. Thankful ako na busy sila at sobrang blessed na natanggap ako sa role na ito,” he concluded.