Joem Bascon goes the distance

In Photo: Joem Bascon

Joem Bascon has become a more interesting actor. He doesn’t balk at challenges, a consequence of not being burdened with the task of keeping a certain kind of image. This allows

the one-time Urian awardee to remain grounded and realistic. “I’m not getting any younger,” the actor pointed out. “I’m at that stage in my life when I’m already thinking of starting a family of my own.”

Bascon was still doing the hit TV series The Good Son when film producer Shandii Bacolod called for a meeting for what the actor now refers to as “the role of a lifetime.”

The movie is titled Double Twisting Double Back, the second directorial venture of young writer-director Joseph Abello, whom Bacolod has worked with in Abello’s directorial debut What Home Feels Like. Abello’s first feature is a quietly heartbreaking gem, while Double Twisting Double Back is as dark as dark can get.

An entry in this year’s CinemaOne Originals Film Festival, Double Twisting Double Back is about a young male gymnast obsessed about chasing after a lifelong dream. The lead role will be played by exciting newcomer Tony Labrusca and Bascon plays Labrusca’s polar opposite in the film. While Labrusca’s character is driven and always seems to be on the edge, Bascon’s is the type who just goes with the flow. The twist, however, is that Bascon’s character is a sex addict, shades of Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender in the underrated movie Shame.

Upon reading the script, Bascon phoned Bacolod. “I told Shandii na ang daming love scenes na required. And in some scenes, I had to go full monty.” The way the script was written, Bascon added, had words leaping out of the page. “The script was just so detailed, it was easy to go into creative visualization right away.”

Bascon was convinced that his role as Wassi in the film would be the prefect character to play before he takes that big leap in his personal life. “It would be some sort of a last hurrah before I get married.”  Much has been written about Bascon’s plans to settle down soon with his longtime girlfriend that it would be redundant to dwell on it at this point.

Ironically, it wasn’t the actor but his management team that had initial misgivings about the role. Bascon was sure from the get-go that he wanted to do it. He wanted, in fact, to devote a longer time to prepare for the role. “This is the kind of role where I could give my whole self to, my soul even. It would definitely test my vulnerability as an actor, whether I could strip into the core of my being just to give life to my character.“

Bascon plays modest when he’s told that he is a well-praised actor. “I just can’t do something half-baked, especially on film. I admit that I’ve gotten used to television where there is hardly any time to create a full-bodied character because everything has to be done with speed and urgency.”

On a more personal note, Double Twisting Double Back hits close to home for Bascon. The film also takes a swipe on mental-health issues and the actor has a relative who suffers from a mental-health condition. “It is a serious matter, and I’m glad that there is more awareness about the subject, and there are more doors opening to help address this issue,” he intoned.

The amiable actor added that this new film attempts to approach the issue of mental health with razor-sharp edge and clinical precision.

Bascon responds to the film’s many challenges by giving it his all. He spent days holed up in the house, faced his inner demons, tapped into dark emotions from his past. “I’ve had my wayward days. A person’s aura darkens when he revisits those dark episodes he has already let go of.”

But then again, he’s the kind of actor any viewer should give more attention to. He never runs away from any chance to prove that acting is more than just striking a pose and delivering one’s lines.

For Joem Bascon, it’s always about going the distance.

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