THE BALLAD OF JAMES REID
by Pablo A. Tariman
The young man has his ample share of good looks and indeed a mere wink could send teeners screaming.
But the thing is he is not conscious of it or if he is, James Reid is good at hiding what is physically obvious.
Facing the media for the first time in his first blockbuster, “Diary ng Panget,” James had his awkward moments. He is not good at articulating what he feels and confessed he was far more comfortable singing than acting.
“I feel I could express myself better singing than talking,” said he. “But then film is another medium and like all beginners, you start by coping with tough moments behind the camera. I suppose it is always like this when you are just starting. But I am learning fast, my Pilipino I think is improving and I just have to get used to the limelight.”
But his earlier naiveté and the freedom with which he treats his body is also another asset. He is honest and natural parrying questions about sex and relationships and has no qualms showing his abs as his answer to those curious about his measurement from waistline and below.
When he did that, there was mass growl and more than the movie scribes’ share of titillation. His face is clearly saying ‘what’s the big deal about my body?’
Now he is serious as one asks him how his two blockbusters change his life.
He confesses about the pressure of being a leading man and the same titanic pressure of living up to a blockbuster. “It all happened so fast. In the beginning, you only pray for your fair share of public acceptance and if I got my share of it, I’d be very happy already. But when the box office figures started rising, I knew my life was up for a change. Suddenly everyone knows you, suddenly your schedule is crammed with requests for personal appearances and later, you find yourself doing one commercial after another. It can be blinding – this instant adulation — as in the beginning, you only wanted to improve as an actor. I must say that I learned to accept this new found recognition with humility and I know that behind this sweet taste of success is an equally great responsibility to your public. Because your good looks can only last so much. They might like you now for what you are but I know that they will look for deeper qualities next time you appear on film.”
Thus far, James Reid’s winning moments are his being natural even with his Australian accent showing here and there.
He can also be candid about his private life as he recounts relationships in the family that didn’t last. He has siblings from his father’s earlier relationship and he has another on his mother’s side. His parents separated with he was only two years old and his life in Down Under was an education by itself.
Joining his father who moved to the Philippines later, he had to adjust to the new milieu. the new language, a new circle of friends and a crack at some TV shows that gave him initial public exposure.
A gymnast and a swimmer before he moved to the Philippines, his body showed it. With his young good looks, he easily made it in the teen edition of Pinoy Big Brother in 2010.
James can only honest and straight forward about his own generation. “Let’s face it, this is a generation that moves fast and we also have to learn fast. So I take advantage of what I have because it could be your last. I like to live every minute of my young life before I go into the sunset.”
That mindset is clearly revealed in “We Are Whatever” which is one of the songs of his first albums with good friend Brett Jackson which went thus:
Come on you know
We gotta party while were still young
Grab your friends
Hit the town lets have some real fun
You got your money
You got your fast cars
You’re young and famous
And now we’re all stars
Just like the big screen
They say its everything
But that don’t mean a thing
It’s just you and me —
He asserts not all the roles on screen reflect who he is in real life like the bad boy Standford in “Diary ng Panget.”
Then he admits playing a role opposite of what he is in real life did pose some real challenge in his first outing in the movies.
As to his relationship with leading lady Nadine Lustre, he admits some kind of mutual attraction which he said he simply had to temper as work and passion don’t mix when assignments come one after another. “I care for Nadine and I think our screen rapport shows that. For another, my latest role in Para Sa Hopeless Romantic is one that I can easily relate to.”
In real life, James had his share of unhappy endings and some cases of tentative closure.
It is possible that the key to some unanswered questions about his relationship lies in his songs like this line from his composition, “Game Changer” —
I’m tellin’ you men
This girl, she might be the one
I know what they say ’bout me
And most of it’s true
I act like I don’t mind it
Even if I do
I used to call them trophy
But that’s in the past
Coz girl when you’re around me
I get a second chance.
Para Sa Hopeless Romantic starring James Reid and Nadine Lustre and directed by Andoy Ranay opens in all theaters on May 13.