Saturday, January 24, 2009

Untold Pinoy Story No. 19

The Lost Boy

A long time ago, Sir James Matthew Barrie wrote a stage play called Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Peter Pan is a mischievous little boy who is not afraid of anything. Yes, anything. Well, except women.

The stage play tells about the adventures of Peter Pan and his friends: Wendy, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. The Lost Boys are little boys who were abandoned by their nannies and left unclaimed for at least seven days. These lost boys are sent to Neverland where they live with Peter Pan.

Like Peter Pan, there is a Pinoy actor does not also seem to grow up. But only in his movies.

Yes, this Pinoy actor seems to have been a teenager in almost all his movies. For almost twenty years. An eternal teenager, indeed.

But that’s not all there is to him.

A familiar sight on every Pinoy family gathering then, he was first thrown into the limelight as a four-year old boy doing his break-dance routine to the delight of his adoring family, friends and neighbors.

Then, he and his brothers started dancing on the street. Until a legitimate dance group spotted them and gave them the proper training.

This Pinoy actor literally danced his way to show business. His dancing prowess made him a movie actor the moment he turned into a teenager. Yes, he became a movie actor at the age of thirteen.

But he does not look like your regular movie actor.

He is definitely not your usual towering movie actor. He stands only 5’5 1/2”.

He does not possess the customary actor hunk’s body. In fact, he is a bit chubby now.

He does not even look like your typical matinee idol. He is Pinoy na Pinoy, complete with the obligatory Pinoy nose.

And unlike those mestizo Pinoy actors, his skin is not as white. He possesses the usual Pinoy brown skin.

But he is proud of his Pinoy looks. He has apparently not succumbed to the lure of those magical cosmetic procedures. He conquered the cruel world of show business with nothing but sheer talent.

And lots of talent he’s got.

He has been a versatile actor since he was a young boy. He acts, dances, sings, raps, writes and recites poetry. And he does all of these very well. Exceptionally well.

And as if his talent is not enough, he is now trying to learn to play the guitar. Mainly Beatles songs. And recently, he even came up with a book of poems.

And yes, he is a true-blooded Pinoy.

This Pinoy actor’s family hails from Bataan. He is the middle child in a family of four boys and one girl. Like him, all his siblings are also actors, singers and dancers. He even appeared in an independent film where he starred with his three brothers. This film was produced, written and directed by him and his siblings.

His first movie was a dance film starring a famous singer who is the personification of Peter Pan himself. The famous singer idolizes Peter Pan and refuses to grow up. Not just in the movies. But in real life.

Strangely, the film which catapulted this Pinoy actor to fame was about a boy who refuses to grow up. In this film, he plays the role of a young boy who was the leader of a group of young kids (although he was already 16 years old then). In his later film where he played the grandson of Eddie Garcia, he played a high school senior despite the fact that he was already in his mid-20s at the time. In his 2006 film with a famous action star who could also sing and dance, he again played the role of a high school student. He was over 30 then. Yes, after 20 years as a teen actor, this Pinoy actor in his early 30s is still playing the role of a high school student in his films.

But in real life, the boy has actually grown up. This Pinoy actor has recently bought his own house as he tries hard to adjust to a house without his brothers. In fact, he is contemplating on settling down with his fiancée. (Yes, unlike Peter Pan, he is definitely not afraid of women.)

This Pinoy actor has appeared in several movies and TV shows. Even TV commercials.

Lately, he showed his dancing prowess in TV commercials for Sprite and a major telephone company. He is such a great dancer that whenever he finds himself in a bar (he loves the night life), people would beg him to hit the dance floor.

A few years ago, he plays the lead actor in a movie where Gina Alajar and Tirso Cruz III appeared as his parents and Eddie Garcia played the role of his grandfather. His leading lady was a new actress who has appeared only in TV before and therefore, virtually unknown to most Pinoys. In his latest film which will probably be released in 2009, he had a chance to work with Jericho Rosales (who became his close friend during the filming), Gary Valenciano, Joel Torre and Tirso Cruz III.

But these are not the “really big actors” who could normally draw big crowd into the movie house these days. These casting combinations are certainly not the formula for a blockbuster film.

And some would say that this is probably the reason why not too many Pinoys know this Pinoy actor.

But wait--

This Pinoy actor has also appeared in films and TV shows with some “really big actors” who are certified box-office stars.

Listen to this.

When he was 16 years old, this Pinoy actor appeared in a big film starring really huge movie stars. This film was even directed by a legendary film director. The Pinoy actor’s character in this film even became an inspiration for a group of young musicians who named their band after his character’s name in the film. Some people even address this Pinoy actor by the name of his character in this film. This film has brought him to the attention of many people. But still, this was not enough to make him a household name among most Pinoys.

But he did not stop there. He may not have worked with the usual Pinoy showbiz superstars but he has also appeared in several films and TV shows with some real stars. Yes, real stars.

Need proof?

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie helmed by Pinoy film production designer-turned-film director Don Escudero. But he has appeared in a TV series with an actor named Don. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with Don Johnson (former husband of Antonio Bandera’s current wife, Melanie Griffith and star of the TV hit series, Miami Vice, which was the basis for the recent Jamie Foxx-Colin Farrell movie with the same title). Not too many Pinoys probably know that in Don Johnson’s second movie, Lollipops and Roses, Don Johnson played the suitor of another Pinoy, multi-awarded actress Nora Aunor.

This Pinoy actor has never been managed by Pinoy star maker Douglas Quijano. But he has appeared in several movies with another Douglas. Yes, he has appeared in a couple of films with Douglas Spain (star of the cult favorite, Star Maps).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a McDo TV commercial. But he has appeared in a movie with legendary British actor Malcolm McDowell (star of several movie classics such as A Clockwork Orange, If, etc.).

This Pinoy actor has never been a guest in Pinoy Professor Randy David’s TV talk show nor has he appeared in a movie with Fil-Canadian actress Nancy Castilogne. But he has appeared in a movie with another pair of celebrities named Randy and Nancy. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with Randy Quaid (older brother of actor Dennis Quaid who was the former husband of actress Meg Ryan who in turn starred with Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail and with Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally). This Pinoy actor has also appeared in a movie with Nancy Kwan (iconic star of the film, The World of Suzie Wong, and lead actress in the movie version of the Broadway hit musical, Flower Drum Song, which was recently revived by talented Pinay Lea Salonga on Broadway).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with veteran Pinay actress Delia Razon. But he has appeared with veteran singer-actress Della Reese in the TV series, Touched by an Angel.

This Pinoy actor has never danced with dancer-choreographer and Pinoy Big Brother alumnus Mickey Perz. But he has appeared in a movie with the legendary actor and young Judy Garland’s perennial partner, Mickey Rooney.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared on TV with Pinoy Big Brother finalist Mikee Lee. But he has appeared in a TV series with Lee Majors (star of the hit TV series Million Dollar Man and former husband of Farrah Fawcett, star of another hit TV series, Charlie’s Angels.)

This Pinoy actor has never made a film helmed by ace Pinoy film director Mario O’Hara nor has he sung with singer Luke Mijares. But he has appeared in a movie with actors named Mario and Luke. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with actor-director Mario Van Peebles and Luke Perry (star of Beverly Hills 90210).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared on TV with Richard Gutierrez and Marsha (a.k.a Nida Blanca in the long-running TV show, John and Marsha). But he has appeared in a TV series with actor Richard Grieco and Marcia Cross (star of the TV hits Desperate Housewives and Melrose Place).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with Pinay singer-actress Mariz (wife of Pinoy action star Ronnie Ricketts). But he has appeared in a movie with Marishka Hargitay (daughter of legendary actress Jayne Mansfield and star of the hit TV series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie directed by Pinoy director, Nick Lisazo. But he has appeared in a movie with an actor-singer named Nick. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with Nick Cannon, the new husband of singer Mariah Carrey.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with Pinoy showbiz’s bad boy, Robin Padilla. But he has appeared in a movie with an actress named Robin. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with Robin Wright Penn, the beautiful wife of Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a TV show with Pinoy comedian Don Pepot. But he has appeared in a TV series with another man named Don who was behind the voice used in all American movie trailers, Don LaFontaine. Yes, Don LaFontaine provided the voiceover for almost all the movie film trailers that you have seen.

Like Don LaFontaine, this Pinoy actor has a very distinct voice which made him a well sought-after voice actor. He has never appeared in a movie with the son of Rudy Fernandez and Alma Moreno, Mark Anthony Fernandez. But he was the actor behind the voice of Prince Zuko in 48 episodes of the hit TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, together with an actor named Mark. Yes, Mark Hamill (who played the role of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series). This Pinoy actor is also the voice of Prince Zuko in the videogame, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared on TV with Kevin Cosme (a.k.a. Dolphy in the long-running series Home Along Da Riles), Jeremy Marquez (actor-cum-ex-mayor Joey Marquez’s son) and singer Adrian Panganiban. But he has appeared on HBO’s hit TV series Entourage with Kevin Dillon (brother of actor Matt Dillon), Jeremy Piven (who plays the character which was believed to be patterned after Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, the brother of President-elect Barrack Obama’s Presidential Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel) and Adrian Grenier (who recently surprised this Pinoy actor when Adrian just suddenly showed up in a dinner party in this Pinoy actor’s new house).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with Pinay sexy actress Michelle Madrigal. But he has appeared in a movie with another Michelle. Yes, he has appeared in a movie with Michelle Williams, Heath Ledger’s former fiancĂ©e who bore Heath Ledger’s only child and also the star of the movie Brokeback Mountain and the hit TV series Dawson Creek.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared with other talented Pinoy child actors in the Pinoy TV gag show Going Bulilit. But he has appeared in a TV series with equally talented kids like Drew Barrymore (the cute five–year old girl in E. T.: The Extra-Terrestrial which was directed by her godfather, Steven Spielberg), Tatum O’Neal (the first girlfriend of Michael Jackson and later, the wife of tennis legend John McEnroe; she also holds the distinction of being the highest-paid child actress in history and the youngest Academy Award winner, aside from being the daughter of actor Ryan O’Neal who later married original Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett) and Cory Feldman (mostly remembered for his cult movie entitled, The Lost Boys).

As a child actor, this Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with wonder boy, Nino Muhlach. But he has appeared several times with a wonderful child actor, Fred Savage, in the TV hit show, The Wonder Years. Like this Pinoy actor, other child actors who appeared in The Wonder Years were David Shwimmer (star of the TV hit series, Friends), Juliette Lewis (star of Natural Born Killer, Cape Fear, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, etc.) and Giovanni Ribisi (star of Gone in Sixty Seconds, Lost in Translation, Boiler Room, Heaven, etc.).

This Pinoy actor has never sung with Fil-Am singer Kris Lawrence. But he has appeared in a movie with Laurence Fisbburne (star of The Matrix series with Keanu Reeves).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared on TV with Apo Hiking Society member, Danny Javier. But he has appeared in a movie with another Danny. He has appeared in a movie with Danny Glover (star of Lethal Weapon series with Mel Gibson).

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with Kevin Cosme (a.k.a. Dolphy in the long-running TV series, Home Along Da Riles). But he has appeared in a documentary film hosted by an actor named Kevin. Yes, Kevin Costner.

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a show with TV host Willy Revillame. But he has appeared on the TV series Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with actor Will Smith (star of Independence Day, Men in Black, Hancock, I am Legend, Six Degrees of Separation, etc.)

This Pinoy actor has never appeared in a movie with hunk actor Jake Cuenca. But he is the actor behind the voice of the lead character, Jake Long, in the entire 55 episodes of Disney Channel’s animated TV series American Dragon: Jake Long.

With his voice as the title star of the Disney animated series, Jake Long, this Pinoy actor has also appeared in a Disney Channel mini-series with Miley Cyrus (lead star of Hannah Montana) and the duo of Fil-Am Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron (lead stars of the High School Musical movies and TV series), among many other names familiar to most juvenile couch potatoes.

During the same year that this Pinoy actor did the Disney mini-series with Miley, Vanessa and Zac, this Pinoy actor was chosen to play a major role as a delinquent high school student whose life was changed by the character played by Antonio Banderas. That was 2006 and he was 31 years old.

When he was 16 years old, this Pinoy actor appeared in a movie with Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, legendary actress Maggie Smith, veteran actor Bob Hoskins, singer Phil Collins, Broadway star Glenn Close, Carrie Fisher (played the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars and real-life daughter of Debbie Reynolds and stepdaughter of Elizabeth Taylor) and George Lucas (director of the Star Wars movies). His character in this film became an inspiration to a group of young musicians who named their band after his character’s name in the film. Some people even address him by the name of his character in this film where he plays the leader of the Lost Boys. And yes, this film was directed by legendary film director, Steven Spielberg.

In all these films, this Pinoy actor has played characters of various nationalities, from Japanese to Chinese to Puerto Rican. But never a Pinoy. Until recently. That’s when he was chosen to play the character of the Pinoy high school senior son of Tirso Cruz III and Gina Alajar and grandson of Edie Garcia. (Although his brother was the original choice to play the role.)

This year, this Pinoy actor celebrates 20 years of being a teenager.

Or more accurately, 20 years of being an extraordinary true-blooded Pinoy actor in Hollywood.

From his first film at the age of thirteen where he showed his amazing dancing talent with famous singer who is the personification of Peter Pan, Michael Jackson (who loved Peter Pan so much that he even named his estate Neverland), this Pinoy actor has indeed come a long way.

Pinoys everywhere should be proud of this Pinoy actor who played the iconic film character Rufio, the leader of the Lost Boys, in Steven Spielberg’s movie based on the story of Peter Pan entitled, Hook.

Pinoys should really be proud of this multi-talented Pinoy.

Yes, Pinoys should really be proud of this talented Pinoy actor named Dante Roman Titus Basco.

In Hollywood, they know him simply as Dante Basco.

And yes, he is a true-blooded Pinoy.
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Images from wikimedia.org, deviantart.com, allposters.com, toondisneymedia.net

Next: And if not for these events, things could have really turned out differently for Piolo & John Lloyd & Anne & Bea: A Valentine Story