MANILA, Philippines - US-based Filipino film critic Manny dela Rosa, aka "Manny the Movie Guy", first got noticed by Filipinos when his interview with Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway went viral.
Unlike a similar interview with the actress done by a local film critic, Hathaway was fun and charming during dela Rosa's interview in December 2012.
She even remarked on dela Rosa's Les Miserables T-shirt, and showed off her engagement ring.
It's no wonder why he considers his interview with Hathaway as his favorite.
"My interview with Anne Hathaway (is a favorite) because of that a lot of Filipinos have known me... That is really near and dear to my heart. First, Anne is just amazing, a great person, sweet. And second, it got me into ANC and Filipino hearts as well," dela Rosa said in an interview on [email protected]
Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence are also some of his favorite Hollywood stars to interview.
"The cast of The Hunger Games, Twilight, Insurgent... (But) the more seasoned they are, the better because they have nothing else to prove," he said.
From film student to 'movie guy'
In 1988, dela Rosa moved to the U.S. from the Philippines. He attended Purdue University Calumet, where he studied television, radio and film.
"I didn't know that there was such a thing as film criticism. I was fresh from the Philippines then, and I didn't know you can study film thematically, like direction, cinematography... I studied all of that. After that I put my own spin to it," he said.
At Purdue, he was the film critic and entertainment editor for the school newspaper - The Purdue Chronicle.
"Years later, the universe and God was giving me some sort of direction because I landed at NBC in Palm Springs and I was doing marketing then. I was a marketing director, I still am a marketing director. When I talked to the radio station there, I wanted to do a big send-off for 'Friends'... I talked about partnering with the radio station The next day, they said, 'Manny, your personality is all over the place, and we want to build a morning show around you'," dela Rosa said.
The radio station, MIX 100.5, offered him a job and "Manny the Movie Guy" was born.
"I'm truly incredibly blessed for doing what I love to do," a beaming dela Rosa said.
How to interview Hollywood stars
Interviewing Hollywood celebrities may seem like a glamorous job, but dela Rosa said it entails a lot of hard work.
"I prepare a lot. It takes a lot of hard work and preparation, in order to have that candor, fun (in the interview)... A lot of sleepless nights really," he said.
Asked about his secret to creating an easy rapport with A-listers, dela Rosa laughingly answered, "It's my natural charm."
"First of all, I'm a movie fan. I drink, eat, sleep movies. That takes care of 70 percent of it. The 30 percent is I'm also a student of cinema... It's really just that and a bit 2 percent is talent," he added.
One of his secrets to doing a good interview is pop psychology.
"You analyze them. For instance, when I did 'Magic Mike' (interviews)... (My interview) was at the end of the day, and what I did, I held up my set of questions and said,' forget the questions, let's just have fun.' Their eyes lit up," dela Rosa said.
Not all interviews are fun. He admitted that actor Tommy Lee Jones is known as a difficult interviewee because of his reluctance to promote his movies.
He recalled waiting for his slot to interview Jones, when a female reporter comes out crying. This made Dela Rosa understandably nervous interviewing the actor, who was then promoting "No Country for Old Men."
"I thought I was done... I knew he doesn't like talking about his movies. So for 'No Country for Old Men,' I read the book and I based the questions on the book... He goes, 'that's a great question'... I was, 'you gave me a compliment, the end'," he said.
His unique style of doing movie reviews has already won him several Emmys through the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Pacific Southwest.
Aside from ANC, Manny the Movie Guy also appears on KMIR6 and The Filipino Channel's Balitang America.
Asked if he would do this job for a long time, dela Rosa smiled.
"I want to be the first Filipino 'Ellen'," he laughed. "Why not?"