What James has learned from his uphill climb to the top
There was a lot of noise when we met James Reid for this one-on-one “quickie.” Yup, you read that right—we were both in a rush to finish our chat at the recent “Miss Granny” sortie, because there was a long queue of well-wishers just “waiting in the wings” for their chance to chit-chat with Viva Films’ dashing 25-year-old heartthrob.
Despite the show biz frenzy crazily unfolding around us, James was far from distracted. He was unusually sharp, focused, appreciative of the blessings that are coming his way, and introspective about the issues we raised during our Q&A.
Talking to a “more expressive,” no-holds-barred James has allowed us to see him in a disarming new light.
Based on Hwang Dong-hyuk’s 2014 Korean “dramedy,” “Miss Granny,” which James topbills with Sarah Geronimo, Xian Lim and Nova Villa, is about a lonely septuagenarian who gets another shot at happiness when she is magically transformed into her 20-year-old self.
The film, helmed by Joyce Bernal, begins its eagerly anticipated theatrical run on Aug. 22.
“The Filipino adaptation is very similar to the feel-good Korean original,” James disclosed. “The role I play may not be that big—I portray the protagonist’s grandson—but, he has a significant and distinctive character arc, which I like.”
While the film doesn’t have the real-life grit of, say, “Never Not Love You,” its thematic pertinence isn’t lost on James, who knows a thing or two about getting a new lease on life.
After all, it took four years for James’ high-flying career to finally take off after winning the “Teen Clash” edition of “Pinoy Big Brother” in 2010.
Asked if, given a chance, there was anything he’d like to change from his past, James mused, “I never look back anymore. But, there was one point in my life that I’m grateful to have gone through. I remember all those hard times—like, when my family went bankrupt twice, or when a family member got sick.
“After ‘PBB,’ nothing was happening, so I had to make a choice, because I wanted to go all-out, career-wise. That was when I met Boss Vic del Rosario (of Viva)—and the rest is history.
“Then, one day, I realized how grateful I was for those difficulties. You learn from a struggle that requires a hard-earned resolution. The person I am today is because of all the things I’ve had to go through. Without them, I would neither be as wise nor as happy today.”
Our Q&A with James:
How does it feel to be doing a project without Nadine Lustre, JaDine’s other half? It’s a change of pace, that’s for sure. I was nervous at first, because I’m so used to having Nadine on the set; I just feel more secure when she’s around.
But, I knew it had to happen. We can’t always be “just” JaDine. We both want to grow as artists. And it doesn’t hurt that “Miss Granny” is a good movie.
Has fame or fortune turned you into a more optimistic or cynical person, knowing how competitive the industry can be or how fleeting success sometimes is? I’ve become more accepting of the negative things in life. On the other hand, the negative elements in the industry are things you can try to change, because there’s always room for growth.
I don’t think we should accept bad habits and practices just because that’s how it’s always been. Nothing changes for the better if we remain static.
To be honest, after doing “Diary ng Panget” and my other projects with Nadine, I’ve had more say with what I could do as an artist, and I feel like we should also have a say in the production aspect of our projects.
Any follow-up to your self-produced album, “Palm Dreams”? In September, I’m planning to release a mixtape that’ll include 16 or 17 songs with no unifying themes. It will showcase exciting new artists (under my record label) performing songs that fuse pop, R&B, hip-hop and underground music.
There are many ways to interpret contemporary music, especially those in the genres of R&B and hip-hop. “Palm Dreams” has provocative and suggestive lyrical content. Could you clarify the speculation that it’s about masturbation? That wasn’t the original intention. But, as you noted, there’s something about its lyrics that’s very “sexual.” So, yeah, whatever turns you on (laughs).