What scares Benjamin Alves the most?
No, the star of the horror thriller, “Spirit of the Glass 2: The Haunted” is neither scared of ghosts nor evil spirits. What Benjamin is really scared is not finding time for girlfriend Julie Ann San Jose.
Like Benjamin, Julie Ann is also a sought-after entertainer in her own right. Being both a singer and an actress, she has several projects to attend to.
“Although we are both busy with our work, we still manage to spend time together. I go to her house, we have dinner at least once a week. We’ve done a soap together and right now, we’re very fortunate not to be working at the same time,” Benjamin told InterAksyon and other media during the grand press conference of the film which opens on November 1, All Saints Day.
“That’s what really scares me, for us to be working at the same time, taping separate soaps. That will make it difficult for us to be together.”
But as much as he’s afraid that their commitments might reach a point when they could hardly see each other, Benjamin said he and Julie Anne nonetheless understand that work should always come first for them.
“Even if we agreed to be together on a Saturday or Sunday then suddenly, there will be a work commitment on the same day for either of us. We have to attend to it. No one will get upset. We don’t have to apologize to each other.”
And as work is concerned, Benjamin is one of the hardest-working actors in the business. This year alone, he was in the cast of two top-rated teleseryes for GMA Network, “Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa” and “I Heart Davao.”
On the big screen, “Spirit of the Glass 2” directed by Jose Javier Reyes marks his first headlining role since the indie thriller, “Gayuma” in 2015.
“I played the role of Jag, the boyfriend of Maxine Medina, Together with Cristine Reyes, Daniel Matsunaga, Enrico Cuenca and Ashley Ortega, we are a barkada of six who during a game of Spirit of the Glass opened a gateway to the spirits. Each of us were then haunted by these evil spirits. Are these spirits good or bad? Are we all going to survive them?,” Benjamin shared.
The actor said doing the film was a lot of fun for everyone involved, which he says was brought about by the young cast’s fondness for scary movies.
“We were all very excited about doing this film, especially the scary scenes,” he quipped.
Benjamin is particularly impressed with co-star and Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina who will make her acting debut in the film.
“It really doesn’t feel like it’s her first acting experience. Somebody asked me if I gave her any acting advice. No, I didn’t. She didn’t need one,” he pointed out.
“There’s a reason why she represented the country in Miss Universe last year. Whenever there’s pressure, there’s something to accomplish, she always steps up and exceeds it. And this is just another challenge for her, to be an actress. We were all surprised with her and she probably surprised herself as well.”
Another project he’s very excited about is “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral,” the second installment of Jerrold Tarog’s historical trilogy that began with “Heneral Luna.” Benjamin will reprise his role as Manuel L. Quezon that he played in the first film.
“I’m finished with my scenes as Manuel Quezon and I’m very happy that I will have more scenes in preparation for the third movie which will be about my character,” he further shared.
Yes, Benjamin is quite possibly the only actor in the country who is already booked for a major film project that will only start filming in 2020 at the earliest. “We’re all praying that ‘Goyo’ does well so we can proceed with the third movie right away.”
In addition to his acting projects, Benjamin is also one of the partners in Books & Borders, a fledgling lifestyle-themed café that boasts of good food and a fine collection of books including young adult bestsellers, thrillers, romance novels and children’s books accessible to its patrons. It recently opened its four branch in Manhattan Parkview at Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
“It’s a good location where many people, especially students pass by and so far, it’s been doing really well. We hope to open more branches, maybe one in the South area like The Fort or Makati,” he noted.
Benjamin added that he feels blessed to be part of Books & Borders, an increasingly popular hangout that brings together the cozy ambiance of a coffee shop with the charming feel of a library all in one Instagram-worthy space.
His involvement in Books & Borders has also allowed him to be close to fellow entertainer and business partner Karylle.
“I call K and her husband Yael Mom and Dad. They are like my parents here. As you know, my parents are based in Guam so I visit K and Yael. I’m like their adoptive, practice baby,” he quipped.