Since Jerald Napoles made his breakthrough in theater playing the lovable male lead Tolits in the hit musical Rak of Aegis, first staged in 2014, the all-around performer has been steadily achieving a successful crossover to film and TV.

He managed to shine in supporting roles that showed off his comedic side as the best friend of lead stars, such as Coco Martin You’re My Boss, Jennylyn Mercado #WalangForever, Piolo Pascual Northern Lights: A Journey to Love, Dennis Trillo My Faithful Husband and Marian Rivera Super Ma’am.


NAPOLES with child actor Athea Ruedas.


Napoles then moved up to the main cast, all the way to leading man in his real-life girlfriend and fellow Rak of Aegis alum Kim Molina’s starrers #Jowable (2019) and Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam (2021). The couple also headlined the TV5 sitcom Team A: Happy Fam, Happy Life (2023).

Now, the Tondo-born actor stars in his first solo venture, Instant Daddy, which is Viva Films’ adaptation of the hit 2013 Mexican movie Instructions Not Included. The comedy-drama directed by Crisanto B. Aquino tells the story of a carefree bachelor who suddenly becomes a father when an ex-girlfriend leaves behind her baby in his taxi.

Bachelor turned father
Napoles takes on the role of the bachelor named Valentin, who ends up raising the child Mirasol (Athea Ruedas) with the help of a motley crew around him and advice from Mirasol’s teacher (Ryza Cenon). Conflict arises when the girl’s mother (Danita Paner) shows up and to try to reclaim custody of Marisol.

“I am very grateful to everyone who is part of the decision for me to get the lead role in this movie,” Napoles told DAILY TRIBUNE in an email interview. “Ang dami pwede ma-cast lalo na sa genre nito (so many can be cast especially in this genre), kaya it is such a huge blessing for me to have done this.

He adds, “This means so much para sa akin. Alam naman natin na hindi tayo ang (I know I don’t fit the) conventional lead, pero iba na ngayon (but it’s different now). It only means that everyone can have their big break in whatever field they want to pursue.”

Napoles said he “honestly” doesn’t know how he was selected for the lead role. But he believes “maraming nakakapansin sa kakayahan ko” (I think many see what I can do). He then acknowledges what his director told him: “Ipinaglaban niya na ako ang gumanap sa role na ’to (He fought for me to do this role). And I think that played a huge part sa pag-cast sa akin dito. We only need at least a single person to believe [in us] and the rest is on its way.”

His girlfriend Kim Molina was the first person he broke the good news to “kasi ganun kame sa isa’t isa lalo na sa projects.”

Napoles expressed admiration for his kiddie costar Ruedas, who previously played the daughter of Baron Geisler in the Netflix movie Doll House and the young Kathryn Bernardo in the new cinema release A Very Good Girl, also starring internationally acclaimed actor Dolly de Leon.

“After working with her,” Napoles said of Ruedas, “wala na akong maisip na iba pang pwedeng i-cast for this as far as I know. That girl is really good, like really gooood. She works hard and is smart for her age. She is so lovable, at lahat kami fan niya (we’re all her fans). She has a bright future ahead of her.”

As for playing a single dad in the movie, he said he drew inspiration from his own mother who singlehandedly raised him. “Pero I believe na regardless if you’re a mom or a dad, once you’re given this situation wherein you have to raise your kid alone, same effort toward the same goal ang kaya nating ibigay. All out ’yan, automatic.”

He also credited his theater background for the lessons he’s learned and continues to abide by, such as having an exemplary work ethic and discipline. “Pati ang process ko sa pag-aaral ng script dinala ko hanggang sa pag-arte sa movie (I brought my theater process for studying a script to the movie). Nakatulong din ’yung observant ako sa mga bagay-bagay, tapos tinatandaan ko (It also helps that I’m observant.) Minsan nagte-take down notes ako dito sa phone ko for future references.”

Napoles guaranteed that his movie, which opens in cinemas on 11 October, will bring both “tawa at iyak” (laughter and tears) to audiences. “Gusto ko rin maramdaman nila (I want them to feel) that this is everyone’s story and could be anyone’s reality.”

His parting shot: “At higit sa lahat, gusto kong ma-appreciate nila ang mga kagaya ko, namin ni Kim, Dolly de Leon etc. (Above all, I want people to appreciate actors like, me, Kim, Dolly de Leon, etc.) — that we are ready sa kahit anong roles na ibibigay (for any roles we are given) and [they can] expect that we will deliver the best that we can.”