September 26, 2012

For Dingdong Dantes, acting means waiting for the next challenge and anticipating new adventures

There is not a hint of the braces-wearing, stocky male newcomer of the GMA-7 youth series TGIS back in 1997 in the Dingdong Dantes that reaped accolades for last December’s film fest horror tale Segunda Mano.       
Even earlier than his award-winning performance as a crazed lover in Segunda Mano, Dingdong had already made viewers pause and reconsider his potential as a leading man and reliable performer. This was, of course, when the then-27-year-old heartthrob lost the baby fats, achieved a toned physique and shed his boy-next-door image via the local version of the Mexican soap Marimar.
In the span of less than a year, Dingdong soared to a new level of popularity and acclaim, ranking high in every top showbiz transformation list of 2007. “Reinvention has always been part of the plan,” the actor shares. “It was and will always be my priority to excite myself with projects that are timely, socially relevant, and of great quality. Once these opportunities are given to me, I embrace them with passion and enthusiasm.”
Those two virtues – passion and enthusiasm – were what were lacking when Dingdong was still plying the teen idol route. “In the beginning, it was all just fun. I did not take things seriously then. I guess it came with maturity that I woke up one day and told myself that it is about time to contribute something (to the industry).”
And grow up Dingdong surely did. Life, with its highs and lows, thrills and woes, helped mold him into the more sensible man and sensitive actor that he has become. “New learnings, new experiences can be used to help one grow as a person. And the same experiences can also be used to make you grow as an actor. It can happen simultaneously,” says Dingdong.
That level of maturity can be easily discerned from the actor’s most recent screen undertakings – as the man searching for his long-lost love in TV’s Stairway to Heaven, the elegantly comical leading man opposite Regine Velasquez in I Heart You, Pare, and the man torn between two women in the melodrama One True Love.
With maturity comes a sense of adventure, a desire to take risks, to tread on unfamiliar ground. The drive to take on challenges of a different nature was what prompted Dingdong Dantes to produce under his own Agostodos Pictures – along with Reality Entertainment, Mothership, PostManila and GMA Films – and star in the Erik Matti-helmed horror thriller Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. Based from the trailer alone, the movie promises honest to goodness scares coupled with irreverent Pinoy humor and special effects that are nothing less than spectacular.  
The film's producers bankrolled this ambitious project, a full CG venture shot entirely on green screen, with a set built wholly on a studio with such feverish excitement.Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles finds Dingdong playing a happy-go-lucky guy who, while fetching his girlfriend (played by Lovi Poe), heavy with their firstborn, in the province, finds himself besieged by an aswang attack on him and those who are dear to him. The man with an aimless existence would learn to test his sense of responsibility.
In a case of art imitating life, that was exactly what Dingdong Dantes, the actor, learned at the time when he decided that acting was where his heart belonged. He learned to take responsibility and treat acting not as a source of amusement but a career, a sort of calling. It is the one passion that continues to whet his appetite for exploring and experimenting. “The most important thing that fame has taught me,” reveals the showbiz A-lister, “is the power of influence, of touching lives, of affecting people. Ngayon, iba na ang tingin ko sa pag-arte. Hindi siya laro kundi mabigat na tungkulin. I invest so much in a role, physically, emotionally. You have to inhabit your character. You have to be the role. You have to live it.” 
And that is exactly what Dingdong did in tackling the part of an aimless man who finds his true purpose in life but not without going through a battle to save his life and those of his loved ones. Being the King of Reinvention who is always open to the idea of change, Dingdong tirelessly went out of his way to study his role and give it his own stamp. He likes the feel of a fresh challenge and with Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, he is given that opportunity both as star and producer to create something different that Dingdong Dantes fanatics and believers should watch out for.   

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