With his built, six footer newbie Javi Benitez is a shoo-in for starring in action films.
“I want more action although I am open to anything,” he said. “I was athletic when I was a kid so I want to show that onscreen.”
He initially got a taste of that action in joining “The General’s Daughter.”
“My first scene was with Angel Locsin, tito Albert Martinez and Paulo Avelino. Interrogation kaagad ang eksena namin,” he recalled.
Javi finished Political Science and Computer Science from Santa Clara University in California in 2017.
“’Yung requirement ng family is to finish school. You can do it part-time (showbiz) habang nasa school pa. My parents are sobrang supportive. But in the end, it’s my decision pa rin,” he said.
Javi, in a short respite from school in 2016, joined his dad, Congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez of the third District of Negros Occidental, in hosting the third season of “Game Changer,” a tech show on ANC.
“After graduation, I went corporate for a few months. I studied abroad sa California and then pagbalik ko I worked sa corporate muna. I felt wala ‘yung (drive). I am not challenged anymore. Nasa tech ako noon, very exciting kaya lang, ‘yun talaga, eh. Iba eh…”
And then he was offered to join show business.
“I admit, I didn’t think of it as a full-time job until after workshops. Ang dami ko nang opportunity, grabbing it, taking it month by month, day by day, scene by scene. Syempre, it would lead you to the next round, we’ll see where it goes.
“I still remember the two scenes sa workshop. ‘Yung una sobrang galit ako. I felt I needed to learn many things and I have to improve. Na-challenge akong bigla,” he said.
Javi recalled his first meeting with Mr. M (Johnny Manahan) of Star Magic.
“When I started, he asked, ‘Do you have abs?’ ‘Wala pa po eh, pero give me two o three months.’ I focused on my diet and workout. Ayun, na-achieve ko ang six-pack abs. And then nag-Bench fashion show ako. For the movie naman, kailangan akong mag-bulk up so three months program ako, intense na nagbuhat.”
The Star Magic batch member shared how he does his diet.
“It all depends on what is needed. Kapag heavy training, I carbo-load. Pero kapag kailangan maganda ang katawan, high protein and low carb,” he said.
Javi gets to fulfill his action star dreams further by leading “Kid Alpha One,” a hardcore action film.
“We trained for 4 to 5 months. I used arnis, knife, sticks and Muay Thai. I was part of Muay Thai Association before. I have gun training – shotgun, pistol and riffle,” he related.
“We rehearsed the fight choreography for almost three weeks. It is important for us that we had training and proper preparation. We are for quality na maipagmamalaki naming lahat.”
Among senior stars, Javi looks up to former action star-turned-senator Lito Lapid.
“He does his own stunts. At his age now, he’s still agile. He is being idolized by stuntmen because he rose from the ranks.”
Growing up, Javi was into football and racing when he was a kid.
“I get discipline from sports,” he mused.
“I am really a competitive person especially from racing. You really have to set aside time to be on the track.
“I topped racing noong college. I was racing for seven years. I started when I was 12 or 13. I did Go Kart. I started sa speed zone then sa Carmona. Discipline and focus talaga kasi sometimes when you’re racing, it is important ‘yung small fraction of a second,” he said.
Did he figure in an accident?
“Actually, naaksidente ako sa football. My hand was hit and it got fractured. In racing, I was entering the first corner and another racer wanted to pass. When I turned, ‘yung wheels namin dumikit. The other racer flew and broke his collar bone. Ako naman may gasgas lang. I was shocked but I continued the race.”