Talented, Passionate And Grateful
Jake Macapagal has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry with his natural talent and dedication to his craft.
With over 35 years of experience on stage and screen, Romano “Jake” Macapagal has entertained millions with profoundly nuanced and authentic performances. His passion for acting was sparked as a child in grade school when he watched his first children’s musical theatre and was captivated by the entire experience. From that moment on, he joined multiple drama clubs and theatre groups, even throughout high school and college. “Part of my interest in acting was that it is a world where you can express yourself and don’t have to deal with your insecurities or the things you don’t have answers for,” says Macapagal.
Although he was determined to gain as much theatre experience as possible to perfect his craft, he never dreamed of performing on cinema’s big screen. “Culturally, when I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, most of the actors that I saw on screen in the Philippines, although we were strongly exposed to Western cinema, it didn’t seem possible for me” to do that, says Macapagal.
As Macapagal’s popularity began to grow in the Philippine independent cinema scene, British director and writer Sean Ellis approached him with the lead role of Oscar Ramirez in the critically acclaimed crime thriller Metro Manila (2013), which would eventually become his most notable performance to date. When he earned a nomination for “Most Promising Newcomer” at the British Independent Film Awards he put his home country on the map in the world of filmmaking and performing arts.
“REPRESENTATION IS VERY IMPORTANT AND WE’RE NOW INCLUDING MORE VOICES AND ACTORS IN INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTIONS. THE PARADIGM HAS SHIFTED”
He continued to fuel his passion with role after role and travelled globally to perform. But when Paramount+ offered Macapagal the role of Colonel Justin Reyes in the new original series No Escape, it was the fruit of many years of labour. “It thrilled me that I was playing a Filipino colonel and that the novel and screenplay were set in the Philippines,” says Macapagal.
Based on Lucy Clarke’s novel The Blue, No Escape, an original series produced by Paramount+, is a fast-paced thriller with mystery and intrigue driving the plot. Set in Australia and the Philippines, Macapagal plays Colonel Reyes, who is up the investigation. The audience is taken through a rabbit hole of flashbacks that ultimately reveal shocking twists and turns as Reyes gets to the bottom of the crimes committed by the beautiful young people who were once passengers on the boat. Directed by Emmy Award- nominated Hans Herbots (The Serpent), the series also stars BAFTA Award-winning Abigail Lawrie (Tin Star), Jay Ryan and Rhianne Barreto.
“I saw the bio of Colonel Reyes as a lone wolf. He is a full-arc character, and we learn why he is a conflicted man. More importantly, I am not just playing a sidekick to the lead investigator. Normally, performers of diverse backgrounds are only seen as sidekicks or somebody who does kung fu or somebody for comic relief. Representation is very important, and we’re now including more voices and actors in international productions. The paradigm has shifted; people understand that with universal stories, no matter what your background is, no matter what the story is, emotions are all human emotions. There is no differentiation based on who is performing,” says Macapagal.
No Escape has stunned audiences globally with thrilling moments that take everyone out of their comfort zone. The diversity of the talented cast, made up of new voices and faces, has made the thriller heist series one of the most popular series to stream.
Jake Macapagal has become a sought- after talent both in the Philippines and internationally. The gay actor continues to push himself and explore new opportunities, further cementing his status as a rising star in the entertainment industry. At 56, he recalls his younger self unreasonably chasing the excitement that comes with fame. Through years of accomplishments and failures, he has learned to stay present in the moment with gratitude.