Indeed, stars of this generation have constantly been proving that the Philippine entertainment industry is worthy of recognition by acclaimed organizations around the globe through their exceptional talents in diverse media and artistry. And nobody is better to put in the forefront but the rising and accomplished indie—now even television—actor himself, Elijah Canlas.
Elijah has been known as the other half of the popular hit BL series Gameboys, which paved the way for him to establish a place in popular media, widening and securing his fanbase online. But with Elijah’s talent, it's worth noting what he has been offering to the film industry before he got famous as Cairo in Gameboys and other facts that made him the freshest eye-candy of this generation.
Here are eight details you should know about Elijah Canlas to start off your fangirling era with one of the fastest rising stars to date:
Elijah did *not* audition for his role as Cairo in Gameboys.
In his interview with MJ Felipe, Elijah shared how the creators of Gameboys already have Kokoy De Santos, his love interest in the series, and him on their minds to play their respective parts. His agency, The IdeaFirst Company, offered him the role and he immediately expressed his interest! He accepted it despite the contrast in nature of the project from what he was used to when he started his career at 14 years old in theater and indie films.
At a young age, Elijah already received 6 awards and 6 nominations, all acclaimed by local and international organizations.
It was no wonder for everyone when Elijah was named Actor of the Year by CNN Philippines in 2020 because of all his acclaim from several prestigious film awards, both local and international. At present, Elijah has received Best Actor awards from Asian Film Festival, FAMAS Awards, Gawad Urian Awards, and Harlem International Film Festival, for his first leading role in Kalel, 15 (2019). Other nominations are for his performances in Sundalong Kanin (2014), He Who Is Without Sin (2020), Edward (2019), and Babae at Baril (2019).
As a film enthusiast, Elijah watches three movies a day on average.
In his interview with My Pope Philippines, Elijah shared that he has always been in love with cinema since he was young. He said, “Sobrang adik ako sa movies. I used to have this problem where I couldn’t [go] through a day without watching at least three movies when I was like 13 or 14…”
Now that he's already a part of the industry he admired all his life, he also talked about the talents he's always dreamed of working with. In his list, he mentioned actors John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, and Bea Alonzo, and directors, Antoniette Jadone, Dan Villegas, and Lav Diaz.
Elijah’s hobbies include learning about music and freestyling to hip-hop rap beats.
If you've been following Elijah and the Gameboys series for quite some time now, you most probably heard his song Angel of Peace (Unapologetic Apology Mix). But before having the opportunity to compose his own song, he has always been expressing his interest in music by freestyling to beats and composing rap lyrics.
Some of his favorite artists are Kendrick Lemar, Earl Sweatshirt, Shanti Dope, and Kartell’em.
Elijah is proactive about societal issues.
Not only does Elijah use his influence and big social media following to promote his career, but he is also one of the few young artists today who actively participate in discussing social concerns, especially in the country.
Elijah is currently enrolled at the University of the Philippines Manila.
At present, Elijah is taking up BA Philippine Arts at UP Manila. Since he was five years old, he has expressed his love for theater. And during his high school years, he studied at art schools to hone his craft as an actor—from graduating junior high school at Philippine High School for the Arts to completing his senior high school at MINT College. He would also receive the Exemplary Conduct Award at school, confirming his quiet personality.
Elijah has always dreamt of becoming a director.
Although he expresses his happiness and contentment in acting during interviews, he's always been vocal about aspiring to become a director—or anything that involves filmmaking—someday. In his interview with My Pope Philippines, he shared, “I don’t think I’d be far off from filmmaking, seriously. Like ever since I was a kid, I was always addicted to movies, and I’ve always wanted to make movies. So, kung 'di ako actor I would probably be behind the scenes, maybe the director.”
Among all of his projects, Elijah considers Gameboys as the most challenging to work on.
He particularly shared the first episode of Gameboys as the hardest one to shoot because he had to do the whole setup mostly on his own at home. The lack of physical interaction with his co-stars and technical difficulties also posed a challenge, being a lot more different from what he is used to as a film actor.
He also noted how hard it is for him to detach from the character, Cairo, since his side of the story is mainly set in his house. He shared in one of his interviews, “Nagkaroon pa ako ng existential na problems like, ‘si Cairo pa ba ako o si Elijah?’ kasi nahihirapan talaga ako mag-detach.”
One of his dream roles is to portray characters with disabilities. In his interview with My Pope Philippines, he stated, “because iba yung physicality na kailangan doon that’s a big challenge, plus yung mental and emotional capacity pa for it sobrang complex. You really need to give it your all and panagarap ko lang talaga is to tell stories like those... we need more representations.”
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