Parents wanted him to be a doctor, regardless of the fact that this would have made him unhappy. Instead, he became an actor and ended up much happier.
Personal Quotes (5)
[on Asians in film] Hollywood used to look at Asian actors as the bad boys, the delivery boys, whatever. But now, they are starting to see beyond that; they're starting to see Asian actors as human beings and casting them in better roles. So I always tell Asian actors, especially Filipinos wanting to break into Hollywood to study, study and study, and show their best. I haven't stopped studying. There's an abundance of roles and all you have to do is prove to them that you are good for the role(s). Prove to them that you are just as good as anyone else. See yourself as a human being first, and not just an Asian.
[on working with Chow Yun-Fat in the third "Pirates of the Caribbean" film] It was fantastic! He was like an older brother to me. He was the kind of person who would come to the set every morning and give you a hug, whether you are a star or an extra. He was just so gracious and happy to be there.
[on his cultural background] Oh no, it hasn't. I'm Pinoy through and through. I watch The Filipino Channel (TFC) and Pinoy TV (of GMA) all the time. I miss the culture. I watch A.S.A.P. and S.O.P. because I love the singing. I watch all the tele-series. Name them and I watch them. I'm a big fan of Christopher De-Leon, whom I first saw in American Adobo, and Sharon Cuneta.
[on his younger days] When I was about 10, I saw Timothy Bottoms in a tele-movie called A Shining Season and it really moved me. I was maybe 8 or 9. Timothy played a runner who had cancer and he defied the odds by coaching a girls' team to victory. I thought, 'If this guy could move me and other people so much, then I want to do what he's doing, I wanted to be an actor. So I went to my parents and I said, 'I want to be an actor.' And they said, 'Oh no, you can't do that. Being an actor is not a stable career. You can go to college and have a degree first and you can do anything you want'. After summer, I asked for their permission for me to visit relatives in L.A.
[on his last name] I took the Lee from my grandparents who took care of me during the day while my mom was away working.