What goes up must come downBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s all part of the inexorable show biz cycle: Yesterday’s total unknown is today’s exciting find and flavor of the year—and then tomorrow’s relative disappointment and candidate for eventual oblivion.
The cycle can be as inexorable as the tides of the seas and men’s lives and career prospects, to wit: Today’s new star is exciting because he’s new, unpredictable, full of promise, and hasn’t revealed his limitations just yet.
A year or two into his “amazing” stardom, however, he ends up doing pretty much the same thing in his performances, or at best, only mere variations thereof, so he eventually overstays his welcome and loses his ability to surprise and delight.
This has happened to Coco Martin, who some years ago was reputed to be an “edgy” indie actor and soon successfully made the transition to mainstream TV-film lead.
In the process, however, he had to obligingly follow the industry’s predictable template for mainstream stardom, as clearly exemplified by the throbbing voice and ever-earnest mien he’s made to assume in “Walang Hanggan”—and those signs of accommodation and compromise are the artistic opposite of “edginess.”
Of course, obligingly compromised stars like Coco become much more popular and prosperous than they were during their “hardship” indie years, so the mainstream industry generously makes artistic “accommodation” worth the tractable actors’ while.
But, they can no longer enjoy the perks of genuine artistic commitment and risk-taking—because they’ve obligingly opted not to take risks and live the rest of their show biz years on the fast lane—and on the easy street.
Other younger stars have also quickly gone the downbeat “show biz cycle” route: Only a couple of TV seasons ago, Xian Lim delighted viewers with his fresh and well-cast turn as one of Kim Chiu’s suitors on “My Binondo Girl.” He was “just right” for the role of a wealthy young Chinoy, and we were particularly taken by his either real or well-acted ability to play the piano.
Later, however, Xian soon betrayed his limitations with less-than-impressive followup TV-film portrayals—so, it isn’t clear if his stellar career can sustain viewers’ interest and excitement for the long run.
For his part, 19-year-old Martin del Rosario did really well on “E-Boy” last year, and has been rewarded with a new teleserye of his own, “Pintada,” this season, as a one-two stellar build-up campaign. He still comes off as a sensitive actor on “Pintada,” but he looks too mature to be credible as his 16-year-old character in the show, so his portrayal is a bit forced.
In addition, the new series isn’t as fresh and audacious in its approach as “E-Boy,” so trouble could be brewing in Martin’s thespic paradise. Let’s hope that he can still recover, however, because he appears to be too good a talent to be felled by an early one-two career punch!
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