John Lloyd Cruz‘s appearance gained traction because of his growing his hair and beard in 2019. It is a stark contrast from the clean-cut matinee idol image he had been known for.
He never once explained his drastic transformation. In fact, he opted to stay away from the limelight.
At the time, in mid-2019, Cruz had been a year and a half into his hiatus from showbiz. He only had candid photos taken by fans cluing in the public on his whereabouts, and his appearance.
When photos of John Lloyd sporting a full beard and shoulder-length wavy hair went viral, not a few remarked that the actor supposedly neglected his looks.
It is later revealed that he purposely unkempt appearance. This is due to the specific instruction of his director at the time, Lav Diaz, for the film Historya ni Ha.
In a Facebook post paying tribute to the lead star and explaining his method of acting, Hazel Orencio, his co-actor explained,
“Back in 2019, so many things were said about JLC and this look. He kept mum, never said a word, never reacted. People forgot that he is first and foremost an actor; it was just him preparing for a role in a film set in 1957. He prepared, nonetheless.”
According to Hazel, JL went as far as reflecting his character’s personality of being reclusive.
It is a belated context that now explains why the actor had been so evasive of being seen in the media during his hiatus from the mainstream media. This is despite his A-list stature.
“He didn’t cut his hair and he made his beard grew as per Lav’s instruction. He immersed in the role of Hernando Alamada, a ventriloquist who used to work in cruise ships as an entertainer. Recluse never talks. It was just Ha, the doll, doing the talking for him. It was an advantage to him, a valid excuse to be quiet.
“Yet it doesn’t mean he wasn’t challenged. The act of being silent alone for all the criticisms he got for looking that way was challenging; much more plunging into a ventriloquist role — something he has never done yet.”
Given her shared passion for acting, Orencio said she identified with “how pressured he must be back then.”
“But he took it. Shooting day by shooting day, script after script, he plunged deep into the character. He got acquainted with Ha and eventually became close to him. Needless to say, he was able to pull it, and for us who’ve been with him on this journey, he delivered as always, with flying colors.”
The result of Cruz’s deep preparation for the role of Ha will be seen once the film premieres at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival. It will run from October 7 to 17.
After nearly four years away from mainstream showbiz, JL made a full comeback in May 2021. He signed a contract with the talent agency, Crown Artist Management. John Lloyd became a father, and separated from his partner Ellen Adarna
Rapha is a person born between the generations of Millenial and Gen Z. He was produced by Cavite State University (Main Campus) with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. The lad has a fresh take on things, but can still stay true to his roots. He writes anything in Pop Culture as long as it suits his taste (if it doesn't, it's for work). He loves to wander around the cosmos and comes back with a story to publish.