The heartthrob talks about his least favorite role, playing a bad guy, and becoming a meme
IT was an early Christmas present for everyone involved when widely acknowledged hunk Derek Ramsay popped on a stream with widely acknowledged funny guys comedians Mike Saddi, Jeps Gallon, and Jethro Trogo.
Actor and model Derek Ramsay, known for his movie roles as the desirable guy women fight over, jumped onto The Kids Are Asleep stream hosted by the comedians., a surprising choice given its relatively small audience (about 270 likes on Facebook; plus the audience during Mr. Ramsay’s guesting numbered a little below 50). It was a bit of a surprise for the boys, too.
“He was in our shortlist of people we really wanted to talk to,” said Malaysia-based Mr. Saddi as he introduced their guest. He said that they dropped him a message through US-based Mr. Trogo, who had interviewed Mr. Ramsay in his past life as a writer. “We got a panicked response from Jethro the next day, saying, ‘He replied! What do I do?’ Say ‘yes!’,” said Mr. Saddi. “This is the feeling I had noong nireplyan ako ng crush ko (when my crush replied to me),” he said. He also joked that for the first time in the show’s run, his wife was finally watching him, as was his brother. “This is probably the proudest moment of the Saddi family.”
The audience, anxious for a prank from comedians (why not?) were taken aback when Mr. Ramsay appeared, wearing a T-shirt, a baseball cap, and leaning on a massage chair. “It’s me. I’ve got the full-on beard and I’ve got some hair now, but it’s still me.”
Mr. Ramsay celebrated his birthday on Dec. 7. “I’m a big 44.” Asked about his birthday goals, Mr. Ramsay answered, “Ang kapal naman ng mukha ko guys (I’d be too full of myself), if I have something to complain about in my life. I’ve been very blessed.”
“I guess the last thing I’d want to tick off my bucket list would be to become a pro golfer. I’ve been working hard on that. It’s kind of hard to do it if you start this late in life,” he said.
The comics then asked him about his movie career, with Mr. Gallon having a special interest because of his own career as a screenwriter. Mr. Ramsay said that a lot of the writers in the Philippines write a film or a character with an actor already in mind. “Which I think is something that should be changed, actually,” said Mr. Ramsay.
As it has with most people, the pandemic has placed a damper on his own plans: he had been tapped to do a foreign film with Australian actor Sam Worthington. “It was a police film. I was really excited to get my hands on that character, but unfortunately, COVID happened. They moved it back,” said Mr. Ramsey. This led to a discussion of the roles he favored: one of his favorites was playing a drug-addled cop for Brillante Mendoza’s Amo for which he lost 25 pounds. “It wasn’t the matinee idol thing,” he said.
“There’s so much more you can do with the bad guy. You don’t have to make people like you. You piss people off — not that I enjoy pissing people off. As an actor, you can just become more — you can go crazy with it.”
When the hosts asked what sort of movie he would pitch for himself, he turned the question around. “Can I answer with something that I don’t want to be pitched to me, which is two girls fighting over a guy?”
While Mr. Ramsay had appeared on runways, ads, TV shows, and many films, No Other Woman, a film where he cheats on Cristine Reyes with a glamorous Anne Curtis, cemented his place in Philippine pop culture. This paved the way for other roles where he is again fought over by two beautiful women who reserve sharp barbs for their rival. “I think, Jeps, we’ve been there, done that, let’s move on. No more adultery and all of that,” said Mr. Ramsay. “That was at the young stages of my career. After that, it was another one, and then I realized: parang ako na lang lagi playing this guy (I was always playing the same guy).” He remedied this by watching his previous performances and trying not to bring what the previous role demanded to the next. “Let’s make it a little different.”
Mr. Ramsay didn’t seem to enjoy shooting a sexy beach scene in No Other Woman noted Mr. Trogo — a fact Mr. Ramsay acknowledges, thanks to the hot lights, saltwater, and spanx (his) that came off.
He does look fondly on his role as Jeremy on English Only, Please, which won him a Best Actor award at the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival. “They said they saw a different side of me. That’s what I’ve been wanting for so long.”
Another role he would have enjoyed was teaching: “If I weren’t an actor, I’d definitely be teaching, maybe history; maybe math. I took up Math as my major in the UK — which was my weakest subject in High School. I learned to love it.”
Mr. Ramsay is also known as an endorser for Dunkin Donuts, a happy accident brought on by an interview where he professed his love for doughnuts. As a college student in Boston, he said that he and his friends would study in a nearby Dunkin Donuts. Learning that leftover doughnuts were thrown at midnight, they befriended the doughnut guy, bought coffee, and got lots of doughnuts. Dunkin Donuts then got in touch with him. “This is like heaven for me!”
“When we do the commercials, I eat the doughnuts. Not eat and spit it out,” he said. “When I watch a movie, I can eat a dozen donuts straight. No one believes me.”
Of course, for some people, his most iconic role was playing a cop chasing movie pirates in a public service announcement (PSA) that plays before any film screens in the cinemas as a way to deter film piracy. In it, he places a hand on a man recording the movie and says, “Pare, pulis ako (Dude, I’m a cop).”
“You haven’t made it unless you’ve become a meme!,” said Mr. Ramsay, strangely proud of the direction that PSA took him. “Naging ‘Mais Ako’ (I’m a corncob). May picture ng mais tapos mukha ko (There was a picture of a cob of corn with my face on it).
“I did that, I wasn’t paid for that, I enjoyed shooting that,” he said of the PSA. “We have to pitch in and do what we can do to help Philippine cinema.”
Catch the episode and other jokes by The Kids Are Asleep on facebook.com/thekidsareasleeplive. — Joseph L. Garcia