‘I would love to go back to the Philippines’ » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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Los Angeles – Dressed in a crisp all-white long-sleeved shirt, Ricky Martin, now 45, recalled his first visit to the Philippines.

“I remember I was just 14 years old when I first visited the Philippines in 1985 as part of the Menudo band. We love the Philippines and the Filipinos. We even released ‘In Action,’ recording songs in English and Tagalog to appeal to our Filipino fans,” he said.

Ricky Martin (Photo courtesy of Janet R. Nepales/HFPA)

The Puerto Rican singer-actor-author admitted he would love to go back to the Philippines.

Ricky, whom we interviewed in Miami at the Versace Mansion, portrays Antonio D’Amico, the lover of Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s second installment of his “American Crime Story” titled “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace.”

The show, which also features Fil-Am Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Versace’s killer Andrew Cunanan, began production this past April and is marked for debut in early 2018. Originally slated as a third installment after “Katrina,” the show has been moved to Season 2. Aside from Ricky and Darren, the show will feature Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace and Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace.

Asked about his reaction when he got the part, Ricky said, “I postponed a whole tour to shoot this video actually. I pushed back 20 days of my tour in Spain and Portugal. This is something that I’ve been dreaming of and when I received the phone call from Ryan that he wanted to meet with me, I’m honored.”

So did he know what it was about, we asked. “I knew a little bit because I’m very good friends with Edgar and Edgar told me that he was just booked to work in Versace with Ryan,” Ricky said. “I had the opportunity to work with Ryan in ‘Glee.’ Two weeks later, I called Edgar. I go ‘Edgar, guess who I’m having dinner with tonight’ because Ryan wanted to see where I was and Ryan wanted to invite me to this amazing project. It was a very beautiful dinner where we talked about our kids, where music is at the moment and about this amazing story and how important it is for this story to be told. Then I got really nervous. I pushed back a few months of a tour in Spain and everything worked out perfectly. The serendipity, the stars were aligned for this to happen and I’m very happy that I’m doing this.”

Does he remember where he was when he heard the news about Versace? “Yes, I was living in Miami at the moment,” he replied. “It was very personal but I was in Europe when it actually happened. But I remember the atmosphere in Miami obviously changed completely. It changed in every way. The market collapsed. People were living in fear for a moment because there was a man out in the streets who was killing people randomly. No-one knew who he was. No-one knew what was happening so there was a lot of tension and it really affected the whole city.

“Celebrities started leaving the city. I remember back then even Sylvester Stallone was living here and Madonna was living here. The Bee Gees were living here and they said it’s a wrap. It’s time to move because it was really scary.”

Is he confident portraying somebody alive? “I’ve been obsessed with this character,” he confessed. “I’ve been obsessed with this. When I started reading the script I immediately started trying to say the lines of how incredibly beautiful it was written and how powerful every line is. The amount of research that we’ve done and of course the production company and Ryan has helped me so much. He just tapped into the big story, what’s known and what’s not known. I feel powerful. I feel confident that I’m going to do justice to the role and what Antonio D’Amico went through.

“There’s a lot of highs and lows in this character. There’s a lot of sadness. There’s a lot of uncertainty but at the same time you have the love and the connection between him and Gianni which was something so magical. To be able to live for 15 years together and in an era where a (gay) relationship was forbidden in many aspects and the fact that nothing stopped them is something that I definitely want to talk about.

“He is still alive and I am reaching out to him little by little. Sometimes they want to talk; sometimes they don’t want to talk. I am making myself available to see if he wants to guide me a little bit but what’s documented and what is out there is enough for me to see exactly and feel what he was going through.

So where does he feel he is now in his life? “I am a proud father of two beautiful twin boys who are my life. They’re eight years old and they inspire me like no-one. I have a great man (Jwan Yosef) next to me. I will get married soon hopefully. We don’t have a date. Let’s see what happens but what I’m trying to say is I’m in such a good place.

“I’ve been touring for the last three years around the world and I needed to land. We just moved to L.A. I just moved there and I’m so in love. I’m in love with my house. People invite me to parties in L.A. and I’m like no, come to my house. You have to come to my house. So I’m in a really good place. I am divided right now between three very beautiful projects.”

He paused and asked, “Did I say I am in a really good place?”

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