The remixed She’s All That reboot, He’s All That has taken Netflix and the internet by storm. Featuring favorites like TikTok star Addison Rae and Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan in familiar roles, He’s All That also surprised us with custom new characters that we’re loving. One of those characters is played by actor Romel De Silva. We just had to get an inside look at Romel’s character Sebastian Woo and the making of the film.
“Performing has always been a part of my life,” Romel told us. Long before he was on-screen as Sebastian, Romel was finding ways to be a star by putting on shows for his family. “As a young Filipino-American kid, karaoke, comedy, and dance were staples in my house,” he said. Romel and his cousins (his co-stars, of course) would put together a “theater” in their house, “sell” tickets, and put on a variety show full of singing, comedy skits, magic shows, and whatever else they could come up with. Their family loved it.
Despite this and support for his high school theater work, they weren’t as excited for Romel to pursue an actual career in acting. “My mom wanted to be a doctor, so naturally I became an actor.” Flash forward and Romel has his Bachelor of Fine Arts from The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and he has been in many amazing projects including He’s All That.
Showstopper Magazine Online: Tell us about your character Sebastian Woo. What was it like bringing him to life? How do you relate to him?
Romel De Silva: Sebastian Woo was a blast to play. Mark Waters (Director of He’s All That) gave me a lot of freedom to explore the character and really make him my own. I only knew a few context clues from the script about who this guy was. He’s an incredibly smart person who just sold an app and is a huge nerd. I filled out the rest with my own experience, being a huge nerd myself and my own background as an honor roll student. I’d love to believe that, like myself in high school, Sebastian was the type of straight-A student who had a creative side to him, writing poetry, obsessing over pop culture, gaming, and watching anime.
SMO: Sebastian was written with you in mind. What is it like to play a character that was created specifically to match your talents and acting style?
Romel: It was fun to be able to bring a lot of myself to the character. There’s so much I relate to [in] Sebastian, so it was a fun challenge to bring in my own style of “goofy” to him. R. Lee Fleming [Jr.]’s writing is so funny and specific that it was really easy to play with this persona. Don’t get me wrong I do love to play against type and create transformative characters, but bringing yourself to a character gives a little bit of spark that helps stand out.
SMO: How do you think He’s All That stands up to the original film? Do you have any favorite changes or additions?
Romel: I truly believe He’s All That is a fantastic film that holds its own against its iconic original! He’s All That, being penned by the original’s author [R. Lee Fleming Jr.], brings the story to a new generation with great respect. One of my favorite changes deals with the aspect of social media which wasn’t present in She’s All That. Social media and the pressure it brings is now a vital part of the high school experience. When I was in high school, social media was just in its infancy, and even then, it was tough to maintain. I also found the gender swap a bold choice because there are factors and pressures that high school girls have that don’t necessarily occur with boys. There are so many interesting choices that make He’s All That have its own voice.
SMO: Do you have any favorite behind-the-scenes moments with your co-stars?
Romel: I have many answers for this one but I’m going to go with the He’s All That premiere. It was a fun reunion and getting to get dressed up and celebrate the hard work that everybody did was so special. Everyone looked so beautiful, and we watched the movie together for the first time. Hearing the audience’s reactions and laughter was like being struck by lightning! It was truly electrifying! A close second to that moment would be when Tanner brought his tap shoes to set during prom and, being a musical theatre kid myself, we exchanged routines and tap tricks.
SMO: You’re were also in the TV show reboot of Heathers. If you could choose any other classic teen movies to reboot or respin, what would you want to see?
Romel: Heathers was so much fun! There are so many classics I would love to reboot/be part of. The obvious answer would be The Breakfast Club, right? Also, let’s bring back CLUELESS! The 90’s Renaissance is thriving!
SMO: What has been your favorite part of this whole experience?
Romel: All of it! I know that’s not a real answer, but creating this great comedy in the middle of a pandemic was so challenging. We had such an amazing cast and crew that worked hard to tell this iconic story while keeping us safe. For many of us, it was our first role we played since quarantine, so it was very memorable that we were able to work and bond over how we spent the previous year. Also, being blasted by the fire extinguisher…that was just fun!
SMO: What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share?
Romel: I just finished filming a role in an independent film, The Prank starring the legendary Rita Moreno with an awesome director, Maureen Bharoocha. I’m very excited for people to see this wild movie. It’s crazy good.
Also, I just returned from Canada for a role on a tv show. I can’t reveal too much about it but follow me on all social media (@romeldesilva) for when I can spill the beans!
He’s All That is streaming now on Netflix. Go check it out!