Tom Rodriguez photo from the Inquirer.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to post your questions for Tom Rodriguez. We compiled your questions and sent them to him care of Helen Rose Sese, production manager of the monster hit TV show My Husband’s Lover. Yesterday we received Tom’s handwritten and illustrated answers to our virtual grilling.
Thanks to Tom Rodriguez for taking our impertinent questions seriously, Helen Rose Sese for facilitating this “interview”, and Rikki Escudero for making this work.
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You’ve been in show business for a few years, doing fine but not spectacularly, and then you play a gay man and your career blows up. How does this make you feel? Would you have preferred to become famous for straight roles?
Tom: First of all, thanks for even saying that I am “famous” (not sure how true it is) but it’s certainly not the goal. I want to grow more as an actor and in my chosen craft and support myself and my family financially. Whichever role can give me both, I’ll gladly take. Although the warm reception I’ve been getting from everyone has been a welcome bonus. Parang icing sa cake.
Noel: What is the gayest thing about you? What is the straightest thing about you?
Tom: Siguro the gayest thing about me is being Vincent when I’m in front of the cameras at tapings for MHL haha. The straightest is everything else.
Your dad is in the military, the land of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” How does he feel about your TV career at present?
Tom: My dad has always supported whatever vocation I wanted to pursue. Especially when it comes to the arts. He says he is really proud of me for taking on the challenge.
Noel: What is the most risque photo shoot you have ever done and where can we see it?
Tom: My pictures siguro for Belo Medical Group. Don’t know if those exact pictures will ever be released, but in a few my pants were accidentally pulled down way lower than expected.
(Cue: Mad googling for aforementioned photos.)
Ricky: If you were a gay man, which guy would you prefer? A. Dennis Trillo. B. Victor Basa. C. Roi Vinzon.
Tom: If I were a gay man, I would choose whoever I was attracted to regardless of age or body build. It’s hard to imagine who I would pick since I can’t picture them in that way. If it comes down to personality, they’re all great people.
Who are your favorite graphic artists? Which comic book character would you like to draw? Would you make major changes to his/her costume?
Tom: My all-time favorite artist is none other than Frank Frazetta. Given the chance, I’d like to do a one-shot of a Superman origin story—I’ve had one in mind as far back as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to address how Clark Kent and Superman can coexist without everyone finding out that they are the same person. The glasses kasi is not enough of an excuse for me.
Ricky: Did you know that your fabulous co-star Chanda Romero had an affair with the openly gay actor Bernardo Bernardo? Has she given you any advice on your portrayal of Vincent?
Tom: She has told me the story and it opened my eyes regarding Vincent as well. It confirmed that it is possible for a gay man and a woman to share something romantically or have a relationship.
wangbumaximus21: If you were offered the role of Daken son of Wolverine, would you accept?
Tom: Of course I would. But in my head I’d rather be Logan. Hehe.
Algernon: Your thoughts on having a gay son of your own. How would you deal?
Tom: I’ve thought about that for a while. My initial reaction was of course to wish for a straight son, but on further reflection, if I were to have a gay son I would still love him and raise him to make a positive contribution to society.
jules: Who is your favorite female comic book character?
Tom: Barbara Gordon. She is just an ordinary girl with no superpowers, yet she is brave enough to fight for what’s right. Hang on, I forgot, she has a superpower. Batgirl has a photographic memory.
allancarreon: DC or Marvel? Which comic book character would you like to portray?
Tom: I can’t pick!!! Please, please don’t make me pick! I love both DC and Marvel. I’d love to play Batman though. I know it’s cliche, but I’m a Batfan. Bruce is such a multifaceted character. I especially love how extremely polar-opposite his code is. He could easily be the most violent of all the DC heroes, yet he has a strict No Guns policy.
allancarreon: You are rapidly becoming a gay icon. Does that make you uncomfortable?
Tom: Ha! Really? I guess I should be flattered, di ba? It means effective yung preparation na ginawa ko for the role.
allancarreon: What cologne or perfume do you use?
Tom: Recently I’ve been using French Connection. The smell is not overwhelming, tama lang.
allancarreon: Will you do more musical theatre after Aladdin?
Tom: I would really love to. They feel like my family! And I have found myself falling in love with the theatre, especially musical theatre. It’s a different feeling performing onstage. The adrenaline rush is like none other. Plus the people in theatre are all genuine.
In what ways are you similar to your character Vincent?
Tom: The way he loves his children is the way I am with my nephews and nieces. We are all like Vincent in a way. We are all trying to do what we think is best for us and the people around us, even if that way may not actually be the truth.
kracle: How has My Husband’s Lover changed your life? Do you get mobbed when you go out?
Tom: I guess you can say people are taking notice of me more than they used to. It’s nice to feel the love from so many people. I am forever thankful and humbled.
kracle: Has the show changed your perspective on gays? How did your mom/girlfriend react to your role?
Tom: It has showed me that gay men are people who go through the same things as everyone else.
kracle: What are your upcoming projects?
Tom: A movie for Viva, Bekikang, and Just The Way You Are for Regal Films. Also Addams Family.
Women, including old ladies, love MHL even if it’s about a man who cheats on his wife with his gay lover. They’re actually rooting for Vincent and Eric to end up together. How weird is that?
Tom: Really shocking. If you’d told me this would happen months ago, I would’ve told you, sternly, “Hey…hey! No…no.” Hehehe. But it just proves that the Filipino viewers are maturing in their tastes.
You’ve described yourself as a nerd. Were you popular in school? Were you a jock?
Tom: Well I played sports in high school, but I was also in the computer club. I guess somewhere in between, just a little bit closer to the nerd side.
You’re also a singer. Who are your favorite singers and musicians?
Tom: Eric Clapton, Jeff Buckley, John Mayer, Michael Buble, Jack Johnson, The Beatles.
silentfollower: Would you agree to do a gay sex scene in a film, like Brokeback Mountain or Happy Together?
Tom: Only if the material is really good. An amazing story and the scene is really really necessary for the story to be told faithfully. Brokeback Mountain is the best example of that.
What is the question you are asked all the time? We’re guessing “Have you ever been in a gay relationship?” and “Would you be open to a gay relationship?”
Tom: Those two exactly, and a few others like, “Are you gay? Because you play a gay on the show.” Have I ever been in a gay relationship? No. Am I open to one? No. At least it’s never crossed my mind. Am I gay? No.
You must get hit on by a lot of gay guys. How do you respond to these overtures?
Tom: As long as they can respect the fact that I am a heterosexual male and I am not attracted to other men. Then I thank them politely for the compliment.
Do you also get hit on by women? How do you respond?
Tom: Yes. I blush. Really really blush. Because it’s flattering—siempre that’s every guy’s dream, di ba? Pero you can’t let it get to your head kasi baka in love sila with the idea of you lang instead of who you really are. So hindi pala ikaw ang type nila talaga.
Do you cry at the movies? What are some of the movies that made you cry?
Tom: Di naman talagang iyak na iyak, pero naluha na ako while watching movies. The last time was when I watched Les Miserables.
Do you watch Game of Thrones? What would be the sigil of House Mott? And who do you think will win in the end?
Tom: Ang hirap! Kasi wolf sana kaso naunahan na ako! Hehe. Sana House Stark na lang manalo ng lahat. Sila na lang sa Iron Throne.
You are assigned to man a space station by yourself for a year. You may bring 10 books, comics, videogames, movies or music albums. What are those ten? (Note: He exceeded the limit and we will overlook that.)
Tom: Books: A Song of Ice and Fire series, Dragon Lance, The Illustrated Man, Fragile Things (or any Neil Gaiman book)
Comics: The whole Hellboy series (Mignola is awesome), Batman: The Killing Joke, Sandman series, The Ultimates I and II
Movies: Somewhere in Time, Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element
Videogames: Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid series, Far Cry 3
Music: John Mayer, Where the Light Is
Last question. Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?
Tom: Yes. It’s mathematics. How many planets revolve around our sun, how many stars are in our galaxy, how many galaxies in our universe. Dami di ba? So if there can be one planet inhabited by intelligent beings, then probability tells us that there must be another one like ours somewhere out there.