Jon Jon Briones on playing Filipino doctor role in new TV series

Published August 9, 2020, 7:53 PM

by Janet Nepales

Jon Jon Briones (Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

Los Angeles — Talented 54-year-old Fil-Am actor Jon Jon Briones is back in the Ryan Murphy universe.

Briones portrays Dr. Richard Hanover in Murphy’s “Ratched,” which is based on the 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The actor is happy and proud of his latest role. “To be a lead on TV is something I’ve never been before and for him to be a Filipino is special to me. It’s the best role I’ve played on television so far,” he said.

Below is an excerpt of our email interview with him:

When did you learn you got the part and how did you find out about it?

“It was in 2018 and I was in NY doing a workshop for a new musical. I was having dinner with my sister-in-law and her husband when I got a phone call from my agents and managers telling me that Ryan offered to put me in ‘Ratched.’”

What was your reaction?

“Every time both my agents and managers are on the phone at the same time, it means good news. I had to leave my dinner party to take the call and I went outside in one of the alley ways. It was the best conversation I’ve had in a dark alley.”

What about the character did you like the most, the challenges of portraying the character?

“The character is very real and complex. He’s a brilliant man with good intentions but he’s dealing with demons from his past. To be a lead on TV is something I’ve never been before and for him to be a Filipino is special to me. It’s the best role I’ve played on television so far.”

How much can you relate to your character, aka Dr. Banaga from the Philippines?

“I loved that the show acknowledged my culture in this character. They could have ignored the Filipino body that this character is living in but instead they embraced it. I’m very thankful for that. I’m representing.”

Can you please tell us how long did you film your scenes and where you shot them?

“We filmed from February to July of last year. We shot at FOX studios and a lot of locations all over California including Big Sur.”

The hospital looks more like a hotel. What were your thoughts when you were performing lobotomy on your drugged patients?

“That was a long day because a lot of actors were involved including background. So many things to deal with including props and I had to be careful with the drill and the scalpel while doing lobotomy on Joseph Marcell. But it was a lot of fun.”

What is the highlight for you in making this series?

“The highlight was working with these wonderful actors and playing a lead. It’s really not something you even dare to dream about growing up in the Philippines.”

 
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