EXCLUSIVE: Kyle Echarri and Elijah Canlas on Taking Their Senior High Roles Personal and Entering Their Leading Men Era

EXCLUSIVE: Kyle Echarri and Elijah Canlas on Taking Their Senior High Roles Personal and Entering Their Leading Men Era


Deemed as two of the generation’s top leading men in the making, Kyle Echarri and Elijah Canlas see acting as a means to keep going through life

There is a certain charm to acting that comes with breathing life to characters that one wills to exist. Some can mirror their own selves. Meanwhile, others can’t be any more different from the roles that they play. It’s them, but also not them. For Senior High’s leading men Kyle Echarri and Elijah Canlas, their time in the show was the best of both worlds. 

As their student life at Northford High comes to a close, the show’s Obet and Archie gave us a deep dive on how they were brought to life by their own actors, and why discerning the craft matters now more than ever for them. 

Elijah Canlas Kyle Echarri MEGA Ent Senior High show ending Obet Archie
Kyle and Elijah are all smiles after graduating from Senior High

RELATED: Exclusive: Andrea Brillantes on Reuniting With Kyle Echarri, Finding Forgiveness, and Graduating From Senior High

Playing their parts

In the same way of getting to know someone in reality, playing the teenagers for almost five months allowed the young men to delve deeper into the stories of their roles. 

As the show wrapped up, it’s no surprise that fans would wonder what the young men thought of their personal endings and their whole experience. The younger multi-hypenate, Kyle Echarri, mentions that he had to process his character’s fate. Eventually, he accepted it. “Nung binasa ko ‘yung script, I wanted to do it. I was happy [with] how everything went for Obet. May sense naman talaga. It was also my goodbye [to the character].”

Echarri Pamilya Sagrado Senior High future next role Obet
Reflecting on Obet’s character, the actor saw himself in him

The award-winning actor, Elijah Canlas, was able to make peace with Archie as well. “It’s fun to be someone you’re not. He’s far from who I am. But, [his ending] made me feel proud of Archie because when you portray characters for this long, it’s like you know them as a real person. Grabe ‘yung love-hate relationship ko with him, pero nakakaproud when I shot the last scene [as] him, to see how far he’s come, being accountable for everything that he has done.” 

Canlas also sums up their collective thought of Senior High. “Nagkaroon kami ng purpose more than just telling a story, especially for the youth. Kaya nakakaproud and we’re happy. ” 

Jelo Canlas Archie Senior High
While he is not Archie in real life, Elijah knows all too well the love of a brother

Living their storylines

Although their characters had their stark differences in the series, Echarri and Canlas shared a similar loss in real life before they stepped into their roles. Getting candid on his process of grief and healing, Echarri points out, “[Playing Obet] became my outlet to cry about certain situations that were also happening in my life na hindi ko iniyakan. It was one of my stepping stones [to healing.] It was one thing to help me to get into that direction. Ang galing din ng writers, alam nila ‘yung nararamdaman ko.” 

For Canlas, meanwhile, delivering Archie’s lines to Z, his sister, became a continuous ode addressed to his late brother. He admits that his own emotions would come out of Archie as he dealt with Z’s own struggles. “Sometimes, when we’re doing scenes, mapapadagdag lang ako ng lines,” he said. “Some things I wish I told my brother when he was going through the same situation.”

As dedicated actors, Kyle and Elijah play their characters with a personal touch to them

He also looked at Archie as a source of empathy. “Maraming tao na tulad ni Archie. They get misunderstood, judged, and dismissed agad. If you go deeper, parating may pinanggagalingan ‘yan.”

In the conversation of their portrayal, the two applauded all the cast members’ commitment to their parts. They both agree that if given the chance, they would have loved to play Gino for his layers and sides, which they also saw in Juan Karlos Labajo.  “While reading the script, there [were] a lot of things that I could see for Gino and nakita rin ni JK ‘yun. It would be a fun character to play,” Echarri said of his fellow The Voice alumnus. Seconding his co-actor, Canlas adds, “Isa siya sa mga characters na may interactions with almost everyone. [It] would’ve been fun to play Gino so I could have scenes with everyone.” 

Seeking more sides

As the next leading men in line, the artists have no room for complacency in their craft

Today, one can call the two not just actors but also singers. And while they share in this roster of skills, their timelines were just quite the opposite. With Echarri, acting came a few days after his The Voice stint. According to him, director Antoinette Jadaone encouraged him to audition for the primetime series On The Wings Love. He eventually became a part of the show as Nadine Lustre’s younger half-brother. “I’ve always found a different love for singing pero I fell in love with acting,” he declares. “Somehow, I like to combine both of them.” Now, he would combine both talents to exude the needed emotion for a scene or a song. 

Elijah Canlas Kyle Echarri MEGA Ent Senior High show ending Obet Archie
For the two, their artistry is one that keeps them growing and healing

On the other hand, Canlas discovered the cathartic power of music in 2022, a good number of years after he pursued acting. As a fan of music, especially hip-hop, he initially tried writing his own bars and songs for fun. Then when he had the time, he hopped into the studio. Reflecting on his two forms of release, he says, “[With] acting, [you’re] doing characters that aren’t really you. But with music, it’s you right there that you’re listening to. That’s full on being personal and open.”

Acting on their craft

At the ages of 20 and 23, the actors find themselves next in line for the leading men that came before them. But instead of sitting on their throne, they would rather be on the move. “Bata pa lang ako, pangarap ko na talaga. It hasn’t sunk in because anything can happen. You don’t want to put that in your head,” Echarri remarks with much candor. “It’s something that I know I’m going to have to prove to myself even more.”

Kyle Pamilya Sagrado Senior High future next role
While living his childhood dream, Kyle keeps his feet on the ground

“Of course, we feel flattered and honored,” Canlas follows up. “But syempre, personally, I just think about the work in hand and delivering the character in service to the story. Focus on the craft, on what the story asks of me. If they say I’m delivering, I guess we’re doing something right.”

Taking inspiration from those who have been in their shoes such as Aga Muhlach and Piolo Pascual, they both look to their seniors and attest to their humility, discipline, and professionalism—qualities that both of them also strive to embody in every project. 

Jelo Canlas Archie Senior High
Dedicated to his artistry, Elijah aims to serve every story and each role

After the show, Kyle and Elijah are going their separate ways for now. But with the real friendship that they’ve built as Northfordians, they already have a reunion project in mind for everyone. “Light naman! Comedy na action,” Echarri suggested, with Canlas laughing in agreement. If they can’t wait for the next film or show that will bring them all together once more, then so can we. 

Elijah Canlas Kyle Echarri MEGA Ent Senior High show ending Obet Archie
As graduates of Senior High, Kyle and Elijah are all smiles for the promise of what’s to come

Photography KIERAN PUNAY
Sittings Editor PEACHES GARCIA

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