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Veteran Pen Medina counsels son Alex: Be truthful always

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ALEX Vincent Medina, 25, never planned on a career in the movies. ROMY HOMILLADA

Young actor Alex Vincent Medina says he makes sure to get acting tips from dad, veteran character actor Pen Medina, before taking on difficult roles either for TV or for film.

“I seek his opinion all the time,” Alex tells the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “My dad points out whatever I need to improve on. He gives suggestions on how to attack a character. He tells me that the basic principle in acting in both the movies and TV is one and the same: Be truthful at all times.”

Alex’s last film project to hit the big screen, the sex drama “Palitan,” won for him his first best actor award—from the 2012 Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival. On TV, he was last seen on the recently concluded ABS-CBN drama series “Ina, Kapatid, Anak.”

He notes: “When you’re in front of the camera, you tend to disconnect and become someone else. Dad says it’s important to connect with your real self, to feel every emotion that your character is going through as though they were your own.”

No consultation

Alex got a pat on the back from Pen for his work on “Palitan.” He relates, “It was my first lead role. Dad said I did well. I was worried about my nude scenes with Mara (Lopez, costar). We were lucky that we were handled by a good director (Ato Bautista). Another coactor, Mon Confiado, also helped motivate us.”

For his next film project, Jason Paul Laxamana’s “Babagwa (The Spider’s Lair),” Alex admits he didn’t have time to consult Pen or his elder brother Ping (also a competent actor) on how to tackle the role of Greg—an Internet scammer who falls in love with a wealthy spinster (Alma Concepcion) while trying to victimize her.

MEDINA (left) and Nico Antonio in “Babagwa,” a Cinemalaya entry

“I made sure to give it my all anyway. I don’t want to feel I should’ve done better when I finally get to watch the end product,” he points out.

“Babagwa” is an entry to the New Breed category of this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which runs from July 26 to Aug. 4 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City, Trinoma Mall in Quezon City, Greenbelt 3 Mall in Makati City and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City.

Weird encounters

“Growing up, I had a few weird online experiences. As a result, it was easy to relate to my character. It was like second skin,” says Alex.

He admits he had an “online relationship” when he was younger. “Still, I studied my character intently. I focused on Greg’s intention to fool people into giving him their hard-earned money. I had to be convincing as a scammer,” Alex elaborates.

The actor says he picked up a lot of tips from Joey Paras—a theater, film and TV actor—“especially on how to approach really difficult scenes.”

Working with director Jason Paul was a breeze, says Alex. “Since he wrote the script himself, he knew exacly what he wanted from his actors. We laughed a lot and shared funny online experiences. Like me, Direk [Jason] enjoys surfing the Net.”

These days, Alex says, he still goes online, “But only to communicate with my supporters, to thank them for looking out for  me. I’m more careful, especially with hacking and identity theft being so rampant nowadays.”

Nonshowbiz GF

Does he think it’s possible to fall in love with a girl that one meets only in a chat room?

“It’s not unusual to be infatuated,” Alex replies. “Guys really go through that phase. As you mature, you will realize how absurd the situation actually is— caring for someone you haven’t even met in person.”

Although he has a nonshowbiz girlfriend, the 25-year-old actor says settling down or getting married in the near future is certainly not on his list of priorities at this time.

“Marami pa akong dapat gawin at patunayan sa sarili ko (I still have a lot of things to do and prove to myself). Maybe I can produce an indie film, but as of now I want to be an actor. I want to continue learning,” he says.

Alex is a graduate of OB Montessori in Greenhills, San Juan (elementary), and San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila (high school and college, where he took up marketing and corporate communications).

As a child, becoming an actor like his dad never crossed his mind, he says. His first passion was drawing. At age 5, he was drawing robots and superheroes.

He loves rock music. He is the vocalist of the five-member band Alex in Wonderland, which he formed in 2009.

Giving back

This October, Alex will make good his promise to cancer-stricken children at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-assisted Tahan-Tahanan at the East Avenue Medical Center, that he would visit them again.

Last February 14, he was one of the celebrity volunteers who went to Tahan-Tahanan to sit with the children, in spite of his hectic schedule.

“It is not every day that I can get to be with such children,” he told Inquirer in a recent interview. “I am inspired by their stories, and I will always return to Tahan-Tahanan.”


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