January 25, 2021 Update: News of the upcoming Filipino remake of the 2001 Korean film My Sassy Girl broke out recently, and of course, we were all super curious about its cast! TinCan Films revealed that Toni Gonzaga will be playing *the* sassy girl, and in Toni's birthday vlog, we spotted photos of her with actor Pepe Herrera. The actor has also been posting photos from the set, so many were convinced that he will be playing the film's leading man! And...today, TinCan Films posted first look photos of Pepe Herrera as "the guy who will tell Sassy Girl's story."
We know you want to know more about him, so here's a list of facts about the talented theater, TV, and film actor:
His full name is Jose Nicolas Emmanuel Herrera.
His birthday is on April 21! Pepe graduated with a degree in Music Education from the University of Santo Tomas' Conservatory of Music in 2011, and he was part of the school's choral ensemble Coro Tomasino. He loved performing even as a kid and even starred in a Jesus Christ Superstar production in high school:
He is an amazing theater actor.
For his first job, Pepe spent some time as a seaman and performer on a cruise ship. According to Pepe, that was where he realized he wanted to become a theater actor. Over the years, he has starred in productions of the operas Die Fledermaus and Carmen, and the plays Hua Mulan and PAMANA.
He credits his 2016 role in the musical Rak Of Aegis, where he played a boatman named Tolits, as his "entry" to showbiz. In an interview with Manila Times, Pepe shared: "I still consider it as my biggest theater break. It was a very nice gateway. The play itself opened a lot of doors not for the cast but for the entertainment and more so in the theater world. I think after Rak, a lot of production companies were inspired to do [an] original jukebox musical."
What do we know about his earlier TV + movie projects?
Pepe had a recurring role in FPJ's Ang Probinsyano as Benny and was part of the Coco Martin film The Super Parental Guardians (2016). Pepe decided to leave Ang Probinsyano in 2017 because of his health. In one emotional Ang Probinsyano scene, Benny sacrificed his life to save Cardo from being shot at by gunmen.
He is known for the films Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap and Sakaling Hindi Makarating.
In the comedy Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap (2018), Pepe stars as a small-time thief named Eman who, together with his buddies, plan the biggest "heist" of their lives. It was one of the most-watched Pinoy films on Netflix in July 2020!
In Sakaling Hindi Makarating, "a series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer." Pepe won Best Actor at the 2016 CineFilipino Film Festival for his performance in the movie.
He went on to star in The Hopeful Romantic (2018), which revolves around a parking attendant: "Intent on remaining a virgin until he meets his true love, a parking attendant (Pepe) pretends to be wealthy when he falls for a woman (Ritz Azul) with expensive tastes." (Via Netflix)
He was also the male lead of the iWant original series Jhon En Martian (2019)! In the show, "Jhon (Pepe), the human representation of bad luck, is sent by his narcissistic boss, Nestor, on a mission. On his last delivery errand before flying to Malaysia, Jhon resets his life. But as luck would have it, 223 (Arci Muñoz), a Martian runaway bride, takes off after him because she believes her spaceship is in his delivery box." (Via iWantTFC)
Awww, he's got a daughter!
Pepe Herrera and his partner, a visual artist and interior designer, welcomed their firstborn daughter in June 2020.
Pepe is a Greenpeace advocate and a vegan.
In a Just In interview with his Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap co-star Paolo Contis, Pepe talked about visiting Carabao Island, an "island" made out of garbage in Las Piñas where trash from different cities end up because of the current.
He also talked to Paolo about being a vegan, explaining that he only eats food items that are totally plant-based, which means he doesn't eat any dairy or animal by-products such as eggs, cheese, and milk.
He has worked with Toni Gonzaga before.
Pepe was part of the 2015 movie You're My Boss, where he played the role of Pong's (Coco Martin) cousin Tupe. In one scene where they're eating together, Tupe tells Georgina (Toni) that he saw her on ASAP, Pinoy Big Brother, The Buzz, and Binibining Pilipinas before.