MANILA, Philippines—The collective sound of sharp inhale rang across the room the moment Fil-Am actor Michael Copon confirmed that he was a step away from getting the role of Jacob Black in “Twilight” and Troy Bolton on “High School Musical.”
“Yeah, originally the first director was fired and then there was confusion if I still had the role because they were talks about keeping the same cast…
“Taylor [Lautner, who eventually landed the role in ‘Twilight’] and I had the same agent then…” was Copon’s rambling recount about being picked for the Jacob Black role.
He disclosed to Bulletin Entertainment that he didn’t even have to audition for it as the script was handed to him by his agent for approval. Upon reading it, he knew instantly that he likes to be part of a movie about vampires and werewolves; adding that he was interested in playing the older Jacob Black.
“That’s because I’m tall at 6’2---taller than Taylor---so that kinda made sense,” Copon said of the predilection.
As for his could’ve-been-me moment on “High School Musical,” the singer-actor revealed that he and Efron were the only guys left standing from hundreds of wannabes. Copon even reached the point when he, Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were being paired in different test shots to see which pair looks better on-cam.
“I think that time, my height did me in. I’m way taller than Vanessa. Zac’s height [5’10] was closer to hers [5’1].
“Plus, I didn’t look like I was still in my teens. I knew it wouldn’t work out,” the Fil-Am Hollywood actor said.
It also was a toss up between him and English actor Jon Foo for the lead character Jin Kazama in the 2010 movie version of “Tekken.” Copon said that Foo’s advantage was his martial arts skills over the former’s acting credentials in Hollywood.
Asked if he regrets not getting these big roles, Copon gave a practical answer.
“Not at all because everyone has his time [to shine]. Everyone waits to be famous and the whole thing about this business is persistence and perseverance. You have to strengthen your tool…and be ready to be able to do everything when the time comes…be it in acting or singing or dancing…”
It’s not as if it’s all misses for Copon. According to the release, his acting resume is illustrious: Less than a year after graduating from Deep Creek High School, Copon snagged his pivotal role in 2001 as Lucas Kendall, the Blue Ranger, on the hit TV series “Power Rangers Time Force.” He honed his dramatic flair through guest appearances on subsequent TV shows such as “Even Stevens,” “One Tree Hill,” “Scrubs,” “Reno 911!,” “Beyond The Break,” “Greek,” “CSI Miami,” and the remake of “Hawaii 5-0.”
He has chalked up even more noteworthy film appearances via “Dishdogz,” “Sideliners,” "All You’ve Got,” “Elevator,” “Bring It On: In To Win It,” and clinched the lead roles in “The Scorpion King II: Rise of a Warrior,” “Night of the Demons,” and “Boyband.”
In 2005, Copon bested eight other celebrity contestants (including Morgan Fairchild, Antonio Sabato, Jr., and Bai Ling) in the VH1 reality TVshow, “But Can They Sing?”
Prior, the Fil-Am hunk has modeled for such brands as Old Navy, Sketchers, Nike, Reebok and Gap.
Copon is in Manila to open for Bruno Mars’ “Doo-Woops & Hooligans World Tour” slated for April 7 at Waterfront Hotel Cebu and April 8 at Araneta Coliseum.