"I wasn’t mentally prepared to have a love scene with another guy"

Juan Felipe Restrepo has been playing in theatre and movies since he was 14-years-old.

Recently, Juan won Best Actor award at several film festivals, including Top Shorts, for his lead role in Prodigal Son (which he also written).

We asked Juan to join us for an interview, and met not only a talented actor but also a fascinating person.

Juan, you have such a fascinating background. You were born in Colombia to a surgeon father and an engineer mother! Yet you ended up in a very different field... When and how did you first get involved with the arts?

I was always drawn to arts, I drew, painted, learnt how to play the guitar, wrote some fables and short stories that later on went to competitions, etc. My parents were always very supportive of me taking such an active part in the arts, besides, my mom has always been a sculptor/painter on the side (nowadays that’s more her passion), so she was always motivating me to participate in every art field. Acting came to me when I was 7. I did a few small plays back in Colombia, then my school cancelled the theatre program and replaced it with just crafty arts like drawing and painting. However, when I was 12 a director came to my school to help with presentations and events, from there he started making a little theatre workshop open to students of all ages. At first, I was very shy and decided just to watch them, but a year later I joined, and in little time a became one of the most invested ones in that group. From there the director created the theatre company “La Maleta Roja” and we started doing bigger performances for bigger audiences, which consequently allowed us to perform outside the country.

When did you fall in love with acting? What were some of the actors/movies/theatre plays that sparked this interest?

I fell in love with acting when I was around 10, I just loved watching T.V and movies. I would drive my parents crazy because every Sunday I would drag them to the movie theatre to watch anything, and also, because whenever I saw a movie for the first time I would immediately memorize most of the dialogue, so the next time we were watching it, I would be reciting the lines until someone in my family told me to let them watch the movie in peace. It was a really fun way to mess with them and at the same time exercise the memory. Also, it was 3 that passed without me acting on anything, and I really missed it. The actors that motivated me in the beginning to do acting were Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Hugh Jackman, Tom Cruise and