You may recognize him as that unassuming sidekick from a rom-com movie or the funny actor from a soap opera – but there is more to Jojit Lorenzo than what you see on the screen. The theater actor has been in the industry for almost three decades and recently starred in the movie “Changing Partners” wherein he won Best Actor during the Cinema One awards night and got him a nomination for the 2018 Famas Awards for the same category.
He shares with us stories from his early days of acting and reveals his other artistic inclination.
How did you discover your passion for acting?
My initial foray was joining declamation contests in school. I joined every year, from kindergarten until 4th year high school. I also joined school plays on ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and ‘El Filibusterismo' and took up an acting workshop in high school. I continued learning acting during my college years in La Salle and eventually got my first big break as a cast member of the popular kiddie show, Batibot.
Jojit wearing the Royal Navy
Tell us about ‘Changing Partners.’ What makes it compelling for you?
I watched the reading at CCP and fell in love with the material. When they made calls for actors to audition for a theater showing, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t know that it was going to be a musical, so I had to take up music lessons. I particularly liked its relatability and as an actor, I found there were a lot of layers that I could do with the character.
Jojit wearing the Kermit Green pictured with "Changing Partners" co-star Sandino Martin
Are there still things you want to achieve as an actor?
The problem with being an actor in the local scene, especially if you don’t have good looks, is that even if you’re a good actor, you will still end-up playing the sidekick. You do the comedy role. I started with theater and did serious roles. I ventured into comedy on-screen and did TV commercials and that was how most people remember me. The problem is you won’t get the role you want because there are a lot of off-market value. When indie films were introduced to movie-goers, it created room for actors like us. If you’re good in acting, people recognized you for it and not for your looks. There are a lot of movies that worked for the audience not because of the A-list actors but because of the material and the competent cast.
Who are your influences and inspirations?
Spanky Manikan. My theater colleagues Shamaine and Nonie Buencamino.
Aside from being an actor, you’re also a photographer. How did you venture into that?
My brother Jovel is a photographer but I was the first one to enroll in photography classes. He was still a professional dancer then. But he would eventually join me and he would bring me along when he did practice shoots. He was the one who made it into a career. I was working at a bank when I discovered digital processing, manipulation, and conceptual photography. My brother is more into natural lighting and classic photography while I ventured into the conceptual side of photography. I’m a ‘Photoshopper’ and when I didn’t have material to manipulate, I took photos of other actors. My portfolio eventually grew and I was then hired to do commissioned works.
What will you be working on next?
I'm doing ‘Goyo’ directed by Jerrold Tarog, the director of ‘Heneral Luna’. I was part of the short film, a transition from ‘Heneral Luna’ to ‘Goyo’ and in the main picture, I’ll be playing the role of a photographer. I also have a few soap operas along the way.
Have you done any traveling recently?
It’s been a while. I went to Vietnam and Cambodia 2 years ago.
What do you like to do when you travel?
When it comes to travel, it’s not just about the place but the company. Going to a place becomes more valuable if I get to experience how to truly be in that place. I like the idea of not having an itinerary and the freedom to staying inside a coffee shop for 5 hours. I don’t feel the need to go around and take photos. If given a chance, I’d like to stay for more than a week in Europe and experience life there.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m an academic and I enjoy learning. If I’m the oldest or the most senior in a group, I would find way to be around younger or more experienced people so I get to discover something new.