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Summer 2013 | Pop-arazzi: Tobit Raphael

Posted By Audrey Magazine On August 15, 2013 @ 5:33 am In Pop Culture | Comments Disabled

DEPT: Pop-arazzi
AUTHOR: Ethel Navales
ISSUE: Summer 2013
PHOTO: Stasi Photography

“THE FILIPINO AMERICAN ACTOR LEARNS A THING OR TWO FROM VINCE VAUGHN AND OWEN WILSON IN THE NEW FILM THE INTERNSHIP.”

 

“I thought I was dreaming. I was constantly biting my tongue just to check if I was awake,” says Tobit Raphael, the Filipino American actor about to star in his very first major mo- tion picture. “It was one of those things that just kinda fell from the sky — like I was struck by lightning. I wasn’t even expecting to get a call-back.”

Before he knew it, the now-24- year-old, just a few years out of UCLA theater school, found himself in front of the camera alongside Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, starring in the summer’s first big comedy, The Internship. The film follows middle-aged Billy and Nick (played by Vaughn and Wilson) who lose their jobs as salesmen and have to start at the bottom of the ladder in their new careers — as interns at Google. Raphael plays a nervous and socially awkward computer programmer, Yo-Yo, who is placed in the same internship team as Billy and Nick. “That kind of social anxiety is really prevalent in my generation,” says Raphael of his character. “It was really fun [to play Yo-Yo] because I feel like I can relate to him in some ways. I think he has a lot of heart.”

It’s no wonder landing the role was such a surprise to Raphael — unlike most young actors, he didn’t pursue acting until relatively recently. “I always thought I was gonna end up in something boring,” he says. But then in high school, “I really started exploring being creative as an actor. I realized that a lot of people enjoyed watching me do that, and I enjoyed doing it.”

And who enjoyed watching him the most? His parents. Raphael says he’s thankful that his parents were enthusiastic about his leap into the creative arts. When he got to college, he realized that many Asian parents may not have been quite as supportive — he was one of the only Asians in his theater pro- gram. “It’s something that I think about a lot. One thing in particular with being Filipino is that you don’t see a lot of Filipino American [actors]. If you see Asians at all, you usually see a lot of Chinese, Japanese or Korean actors.” But Raphael doesn’t let that discourage him, saying that being Filipino helps him by allowing him to “stand out.”

So what’s next after The Internship? We’ll soon find out, but mean- while, the up-and-coming star is sure to take his own advice: “Do it because you love it. That’s what life is about — doing things that make you happy.”

 


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