Cedrick Juan wants to stay true to himself amid his booming career

Cedrick Juan wants to stay true to himself amid his booming career

/ 09:21 AM March 03, 2024

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan is full of surprises. Not the surprise people get at birthday parties, but the surprise in his thoughts that is refreshing to discover—even though most of them are probably what many have in mind but are just too scared to say.

His award-winning performance in “GomBurZa” is one of the many examples of this particular surprise. But Cedrick would rather see this career-defining moment as him fulfilling his responsibility as an artist to tell stories that matter, and not merely just giving justice to his characters.


“It is an artist’s role in society to tell stories and at the same time, to represent and give justice to their characters,” he told INQUIRER.net on the sidelines of his feature shoot with SCOUT. He said starring as Padre Jose Burgos in “GomBurZa” and his upcoming film “Edjop” is a duty not only as an artist but also as a Filipino who’s in a privileged position to do so.


“Edjop,” which also stars Elijah Canlas and Jodi Sta. Maria, revolves around the late Edgardo “Edjop” Jopson who was one of the well-known figures of the student movement even before Martial Law was declared in 1972. He is among the many names engraved on the Bantayog ng mga Bayani which is dedicated to the martyrs of Martial Law.

Yet despite this recognition, Cedrick believes the public should know more about Edjop, just as what he had hoped to achieve with his role as Burgos. He wouldn’t be taking on the titular role—Canlas would—but he believed that historical figures should not be seen as mere names in a book or academic materials.

“It’s timely. Feeling ko hindi mawawala ang pag-shed ng light tungkol sa history natin,” he said. “Ang mga historical figures na ‘to, hindi lang ito tungkol sa pagbibigay ng justice sa characters nila. It’s about the justice and freedom that they fought for. At kung ano ang pinaglaban nila. Dapat hindi natin makalimutan ‘yun. We should learn from that.”

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

A brief conversation about Edjop’s life then took place during the interview itself, where the writer and Cedrick agreed that not many knew about this story. “When I got the project, I researched more about him, his family and contributions, and during Martial Law.”

Taking on a firm stance, Cedrick said matter-of-factly that there’s nothing wrong with knowing their names. But their stories deserve to be given a rightful platform.

“Wala namang masama na hindi natin sila kilala pero if you’ll be given a chance to know them, at least we [need] to do our basic research. Iba ang may alam ka sa mga bagay,” he said.


Cedrick as an artist and human

The outpouring of offers has since kept Cedrick busy, but he sees it as a good problem where he determines what he “can and wants to share” with the world.

“As human beings, may inaallow tayong malaman ng mga tao somehow outside ng circle natin. May mga bagay na comfortable tayong maging vulnerable. Of course, privilege ‘yun sa mga trusted mong tao,” he said while touching on the topic of knowing the boundaries between his career and personal life. “There’s nothing wrong with that kasi may inner circle tayo.”

Cedrick noted that being open about what he could share is a “social responsibility” so that the public wouldn’t just know his work—they would acknowledge that he’s human. However, he is aware of the fact that artists are somewhat seen as public property. This led to him being firm about leaving a room of what is meant to be kept for himself and to those who matter to him the most.

“Kung ano ang ina-allow nating ipakita, somehow ‘yung binibigay natin sa kanila ay nagiging license to exploit,” he said. When asked if this is his way of being upfront about his boundaries, he said that it indeed was. “Kaya ayokong i-open up lahat. Kasi magiging overwhelming siya to the point of hindi mo na siya ma-control.”

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

As soon as his name was called Best Actor of the Metro Manila Film Festival 2023, he said things had been “very overwhelming.” Still, he wants to keep his feet on the ground. He wants to still do “theater, short films, movies, and TV series,” while pointing out that the project should have a good “outcome and contribution” to society.

Touching on reality

But Cedrick clarifies that he’s not choosy. He also pointed out that work sometimes needs to be done with the purpose of earning, which is quite surprising for an artist to be upfront about. It’s a normal thing that many find themselves in, yet not a lot of people are willing to be honest to admit it.

He is aware that not many actors have the privilege to choose which projects suit them the best, so he’s the type of person who wants to enjoy as much as he can. Cedrick, however, reminded, “Dapat alam natin ang worth natin.”

“In terms of projects, gusto kong mabasa ang buong script. Kung nakikita kong buo ang art, kahit hindi siya gan’un ka-seryosong topic, gagawin ko siya,” he said. “Mahirap din naman kung masyado kang seryoso sa mga bagay. Darating ka sa point mo na magkakaroon siya ng emotional and mental toll sa’yo. Work-life-balance lang.”

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick then gave his idea of his ideal project. He wants to narrate the situation of theater actors in the Philippines to deflect the “negative connotations” surrounding them. “Gusto kong mawala ‘yung idea na we’re just doing theater kasi gusto namin siyang gawing bridge to showbiz,” he said. “Food for the soul ang theater. Ang daming pwedeng sabihin na dapat malaman ng mga tao about theater. Saan ba nagsimula ang pag-arte? Diba, sa entablado.”

This ideal project, which falls under realism, wants to include the people whom he worked with in his Dulaang UP days such as JC Santos, Brian Sy, Dolly de Leon, Joel Saracho and Nonie Buencamino. “Ang daming hidden gems sa theater na alam kong ibibigay nila lahat ng mga natutunan nila para mabigyan ng justice sa characters nila,” he said of them.

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Cedrick Juan. Image: JT Fernandez for Scout

Riffling through his thoughts and his earlier days in acting, Cedrick wants theater actors to be given the spotlight to shine. Or to put it simply, he wants theater actors and entertainment actors to “co-exist” and take up space.

“Why not magco-exist ang theater actors and entertainment actors with the same appreciation among the public? And mawala ang gap sa bawat industriya,” he said. “Imagine? Kung mas inclusive and collaborative ang both sides na ito, marami silang matututunan sa isa’t isa. We can work together and for sure, may matutunan tayo from both sides.”

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Check out Cedrick Juan’s cover story with Scout.

TAGS: acting career, Cedrick Juan

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