Manny Jacinto stars in new romantic comedy I Want You Back

Manny Jacinto sits down with Cold Tea Collective again to talk about his return on screen in I Want You Back.

Filipino Canadian actor Manny Jacinto plays another love interest in I Want You Back

We’ve seen him as Jason Mendoza in his breakout role in The Good Place, as Yao in Nine Perfect Strangers, and now he’s back on our home screens in I Want You Back. Manny Jacinto is once again crushing it as everyone’s favourite on-screen crush in this new romantic comedy. 

I Want You Back follows the stories of Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate), two strangers who were both unexpectedly dumped by their respective partners. The two join forces to win their exes back by infiltrating their new romances including Jacinto’s character Logan, who is the new beau of Anne (Gina Rodriguez, Jane The Virgin). This Amazon Original is directed by Jason Orley (Big Time Adolescence) and written and produced by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.

The Filipino Canadian engineer-turned-actor describes his character Logan as an “obsessive person of the arts.” Specifically, the character is an acting teacher for children, who treats them as professionals. 

Although he did not have this experience himself with a teacher in his own youth, he says that if he did, he may have found acting or the arts much sooner. “I didn’t have a teacher like that but I could’ve used one.” 

On his favourite part about playing this role, Jacinto says it was the chance to lean into Logan’s snobbish attitude for things like expensive wine, curing his own meats, as well as French and Italian culture. “He is very devoted to the craft of acting, to a fault. He has very high tastes for a lot of subjects. He’s just a fun dude to play.” 

Manny Jacinto on his romantic roles

It’s been nearly a decade since Jacinto’s first acting credit and he’s had quite the busy last few years. The former competitive hip hop dancer has accumulated quite a few credits playing love interests or objects of our affection. 

In the spirit of his next project’s release on Valentine’s weekend, we asked him to compare himself to the love interests he plays. 

Who is more romantic? Manny Jacinto or Jason Mendoza in The Good Place

“I feel that Jason’s idea of romance though isn’t what typically people would view as romantic. Jason would take his date to a monster truck event and that’s his idea of romance. But with Jason, he just wants to do well in his relationships and he’s definitely more romantic. I’ll give him that credit.” 

Who is more romantic? Manny Jacinto or Yao on Nine Perfect Strangers

“I really need to work on my romance game. Yao would be more romantic because he’s more mindful, he’s very cognizant of peoples’ energy, and very giving,” said Jacinto. 

And lastly, in comparing himself to his new character Logan in I Want You Back, he finally said that he himself is more romantic. “With Logan there’s this kind of selfishness to him where he’s kind of in his own world. I’d like to think that I myself am a little more cognizant of peoples’ feelings than Logan.”

See also: Manny Jacinto on The Good Place, Top Gun, and cultural roots

Manny Jacinto in I Want You Back
Still taken from I Want You Back by Jason Orley

Asian men leading the way as on-screen love interests

In a recent article by Cold Tea Collective’s Vivian Dang, she describes the progression of casting Asian men as romantic leads as a “welcome change.” 

“We finally see well-rounded, normal depictions of Asian men, who have the same opportunities as their white counterparts,” said Dang. 

We asked Jacinto his thoughts on whether he feels Hollywood is genuinely interested in casting Asian leads as love interests in ways that accurately honour Asian heritage, culture, traditions. 

“Absolutely. We’re definitely moving towards that slowly but surely on all fronts. I think it’s because of the fact that we have so many different platforms, different voices out there.”

He attributes this to the drive from writers, directors, and others on the other side of the camera to tell diverse stories. 

“Because of that, we’re all getting together as a collective (no pun intended), to tell these stories.”

When I first interviewed Jacinto in 2019, he was very optimistic about where things were heading for artists. 

In 2022, that same optimism and gratitude shines through: “I say it over and over again, but I’m so incredibly lucky to be doing this at this time because it was not the same five or eight years ago. We’ll keep it going and we’ll keep telling those diverse stories. Slowly but surely, it’ll be exponential rather than a gradual ride.”

Catch Manny Jacinto in his latest project, I Want You Back, on Prime Video starting February 11, 2022. 

See also: Falling for Hollywood’s Asian heartthrobs: Male actors to watch for

Featured photo: Still taken from I Want You Back by Jason Orley

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