The perennial gay best friendBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Joey Paras doesn’t feel typecast as the gay best buddy on TV and film. “I get to play different kinds of gays on TV,” he said.
Indeed, in a string of GMA 7 shows, he played all sorts of colorful characters—from a drag queen (“I Heart You Pare”) to a magic mirror (“The Last Prince”).
In the network’s latest afternoon series, “Hindi Ka Na Mag-Iisa,” Paras is the comic relief—the fun-loving BFF (best friend forever) of the perennially put-upon martyr Jennylyn Mercado.
He recalled that in the theater world, directors had refused to cast him in gay roles so he often portrayed bullies and meanies.
“On my first play, I portrayed a decapitated head in ‘Ang Ulo ni Pancho Villa,’” he quipped.
He first bagged a gay sidekick role in the Tanghalang Pilipino production of “Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal.” He has since played gay roles on stage and screen, most famously in the 2009 Cinemalaya winner “Last Supper No. 3.”
This year, he is in Jun Lana’s “Bwakaw,” an entry in the Directors’ Showcase section.
Paras was awed by veteran costar Eddie Garcia’s professionalism in “Bwakaw,” which was shot in San Pablo. Paras, Garcia and Soxie Topacio play three generations of friends in the indie movie.
“He worked as hard as the rest of the team,” Paras said. “He didn’t ask for special treatment.”
Paras is also in the international film “Dance of the Steel Bars,” megged by GMA 7 news reporter Cesar Apolinario and director Marnie Manicad.
In this movie about the world-famous dancing inmates of Cebu, Paras plays Allona, a choreographer.
“My character isn’t based on a real person,” he said. He researched by watching viral videos of the Cebu dancing inmates on YouTube.
He’s set to share with Phil Noble the role of Baldy in the play “Bona,” top-billed by Eugene Domingo and Edgar Allan Guzman, for the Philippine Educational Theater Association.
“I’m Bona’s gay best buddy, for a change,” he said, hollering.
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