MANILA -- For someone born and raised in the US, it is really surprising how singer-actor Tony Labrusca can speak fluent Tagalog without any American accent, after only six years in Manila. He also punctuates his sentences with “po” and “opo.”
“Nag-immersion ako,” Labrusca told ABS-CBN News. “’Yung mga naging kaibigan ko dito hindi marunong mag-English. Puro Tagalog lang, that’s why natuto akong mag-Tagalog agad.”
He was also careful not to disappoint his directors. “Takot ako sa mga directors natin dito,” Labrusca admitted. “Takot akong masigawan. Actually, hindi pa ako nasisigawan ng director.
“Si Direk Erik Matti, Direk Joel Lamangan, naka-trabaho ko na sila, pero hindi nila ako nasigawan. I think sobrang swerte ko.”
It was initially unsure whether or not Labrusca can appear onscreen again this year after he was charged with acts of lasciviousness in June 2021. This March, however, the charges against him were dropped.
Now, Labrusca is off to a fresh start this year. He was readily given a project with Vivamax, director Raffy Francisco’s “Breathe Again,” which they wrapped up only three weeks ago in Batangas. The film is slated to be streamed starting June 3.
Starring with Labrusca are beauty queen Ariela Arida, with whom he has an illicit affair while playing her free diving instructor. Playing Arida’s fiancé is Ivan Padilla. Jela Cuenca is also in the cast.
Although he is under contract with Star Cinema, Labrusca is on loan to other film companies for his projects.
Last month, too, Labrusca returned from a week-long trip to the US, where he did a cameo for KC Concepcion’s first Hollywood film, “Asian Persuasion,” opposite Filipino-American actor, Dante Basco.
The film marks the directorial debut of Tony- and Grammy-winning producer Jhet Tolentino.
“It’s a fun cameo, so you’ll see me in the movie at some point,” Labrusca smilingly disclosed. “The film will also be shown here in the Philippines maybe later this year or early next year.”
The romantic-comedy will feature other Filipino actors doing special appearances, including Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.Ap, standup comedian Rex Navarette, singer-actress Rachel Alejandro, actress Yam Concepcion and showbiz veteran Fe de los Reyes.
Labrusca also has a film with Jane Oineza this year for Regal, plus an indie film, “Subscribe,” directed by Joan Flores.
Last year, Labrusca consciously lost weight. “Nag-diet ako, then my face got smaller, so tinuloy-tuloy ko na,” he said. “Nagpapayat ako talaga. Bilog ang mukha ko before.
“When I did ‘Glorious,’ gusto ko ‘yung mukha ko noon. Feeling ko ang guwapo-guwapo ko.” (Laughed)
Without batting an eyelash, Labrusca admitted he will do another film similar to the plot of “Glorious,’ where he is paired with an older leading lady (Angel Aquino), with Connie Macatuno at the helm.
“If all the films that I finished shooting will be shown this year, that will be great,” he said.
He expressed his desire to one day work with award-winning actress Nadine Lustre. “I really want to work with Nadine because I like the way she handles herself,” he said about Lustre.
“Feeling ko ang cool niya. Hopefully, one day we can work together. Makikita mo alam niya kung ano ang gusto niya at gagawin niya kung ano ang gusto niya.”
Labrusca’s dream role is that of a Filipino superhero. One day, he wants to do that, too.