Tony Labrusca is on the upswing

In Photo: Tony Labrusca

MUCH has been written about rising male star Tony Labrusca being the love child of an actor and a former female band member that it doesn’t bear retelling.

It’s more interesting to acknowledge the promising star’s qualities. Tall and buff, Labrusca is also a good conversationalist, any self-respecting writer’s dream interviewee. Throw a question or two at the guy and he does not give you stock, monosyllabic answers.

Labrusca was born in Texas and spent time in Canada from the time he was 9. He flew to the Philippines a few years ago to test the waters and scored TV commercial stints, the most popular of which is the one for a fast-food chain.

He then auditioned for the ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Boyband Superstar, which proved that he had an adequate singing voice to go with the dreamboat looks. He didn’t win the competition but faster than Labrusca could wish for a second shot at stardom, acting offers came in quick succession. He auditioned and bagged the third-wheel role to the popular tandem of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo in the fantasy series La Luna Sangre.

That breakthrough role, Labrusca shared, was something that he had long been practicing to play. “As a kid, I had a very wild imagination so when I did try acting, it just fit perfectly. Growing up, I would always pretend that I was a werewolf. Each time the production people would say on the set that it was time to transform, it was like I’ve already done that a million times in my head.”

At 22, Labrusca also knows that it’s futile to try to compete with younger recruits. This self-confessed accidental actor knows fully well that the next logical step would be to beef up his résumé as an actor. Tony would be very visible in the next half of the year as he finishes working on two films. And these are not just any slipshod projects but official entries to two well-known local independent film festivals.

One is called ML under filmmaker Benedict Mique, where Labrusca costars with legendary actor Eddie Garcia. The other is the Cinema One Originals entry Double Twisting Double Back, which is maverick filmmaker Joseph Abello’s sophomore film undertaking. The latter is touted as a sports erotic thriller. “It is very dark,” shares  Labrusca, who plays the lead character gymnast in Double Twisting Double Back.

Gauging from behind-the-scene photos from the actual filming of the Abello film, Labrusca is set to flaunt his to-salivate-for physique as many scenes require him to be half-naked. The showbiz rookie, however, can’t contain his happiness for having been trusted with pivotal roles in edgy movies considering his being a greenhorn in the acting department.

“I just wanna step out of my comfort zone,” Labrusca revealed, adding, “To be honest, I’m not the most amazing actor. I’m a new actor who wants to learn the ropes and is very lucky to be working with amazing people and amazing actors that I look up to. But I think nobody grows from comfort zones. I want to learn, and I want to be the best that I can be.”

Labrusca has entered the next round of his apprenticeship, in a manner of speaking. “I want to see where my full potential lies. That’s exactly what I’m doing this year. I’m discovering the type of actor that I can be. It’s all about discovering myself in this craft.”

Labrusca credits his directors, Mique and Abello, who are also both screenwriters, for being patient with him. “They’re all amazing and really good at what they do. And I feel so honored to work with them. I had a blast working with them.”

Labrusca is also lucky to have Mario Colmenares as his manager, who can be both strict and nurturing. “Tony’s really promising for a newcomer, maybe because he doesn’t go around acting like he knows that he’s good. He also listens, and that’s very important. Humility is always a good start-off point for an actor,” Colmenares told us.

Labrusca is also not about to say good-bye to more mainstream efforts. He has been rumored for the longest time to have been tapped to play leading man in the new big-screen version of Darna. Most of the details about this Erik Matti-helmed production are still a tightly kept secret except for the fact that popular young female idol Liza Soberano is set to play Mars Ravelo’s iconic flying crime-fighter.

For now, Tony Labrusca takes it easy, knowing that he has given his best for the two films that he and his team have thought long and hard for before they accepted. His young career is certainly on the upswing.

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With more than 20 years as a lifestyle and entertainment journalist, Ricky Gallardo is also a businessman. Equipped with decades of advertising experience, his interests include arts, cinema, fitness and communications.