Martin del Rosario takes controversies in stride
Martin del Rosario makes acting look easy, even in provocative and stultifyingly complex films like Joaquin Valdes’ “Dagim,” his big-screen debut, and Giancarlo Abrahan’s sublime Cinemalaya entry, “Dagitab,” his performance for which won an Urian this year—not bad for someone who’s only turning 23 in November!
The actor may be soft-spoken, but hardly lets his thespic guard down—even in Neal Tan’s confoundingly insipid indie drama, “Homeless” (showing this week), where Martin portrays Ejay Falcon’s self-effacing best friend. Del Rosario always keeps things real—and is believable in every frame he’s in.
When we talked to him in Davao last Sunday, he disclosed that it took him some time to “find his dramatic groove.”
Martin, who topbills GMA 7’s drama series, “Buena Familia,” was one of the reasons why we accepted the invitation of Jojo Aquio and Rica Torres to join the network’s Kadayawan merry-making in Mindanao last week, along with the other cast members of “Buena Familia,” “My Faithful Husband” and the latest “MariMar” reboot.
Initially, Martin couldn’t hide his reluctance to join the entertainment biz, even if he’s used to having celebrities in the family, among them newscaster Connie Sison and character actress Ces Quesada (his mom’s sister).
But, it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. He recalls, “The first time I was approached to audition for a project, I immediately said no. Later, when I took a workshop for ‘Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos?,’ my first teleserye—about a woman (Roxanne Guinoo) switched at birth—palagi akong napapagalitan, because I hardly talked. And, when they’d call me to do an acting exercise, I refused to participate—because I was too shy!”
Then, something clicked: “I began getting compliments from direk Jerry (Lopez Sineneng)—it gave me a different kind of high. Over time, I realized that acting wasn’t about fake emotions—hindi s’ya declamation, where you ‘perform’ as you deliver lines. It was like discovering something exciting, lalo na sa mga eksenang tumatagos sa puso at tinatamaan ako—and I swore to work harder and do better.
“I’m different from the roles I play—which is what I like about Harry Atendido, my character in the revenge drama, ‘Buena Familia.’ He’s a man with a score to settle, and he’s different because he’s unlike the kawawa and inaapi types I often play. It’s a complex juggling act—it’s a challenge I welcome, because Harry wants to avenge the death of his father, who committed suicide because of the Buenas (Angelu de Leon, Bobby Andrews), then finds himself falling for their daughter (Kylie Padilla)!”
What fulfillment does he get out of appearing in indies? The actor shares, “They explore issues that are seldom tackled in mainstream filmmaking and on TV—and the roles for actors are meatier and more challenging—like, reading the first few pages of the script of ‘Dagitab,’ I knew I wanted to do it, because I couldn’t put it down! Besides, which mainstream production would have its teenage lead falling for his ninang—or, did he (laughs)?”
Martin takes intrigues—often about his love life and sexuality—with a grain of salt. He explains, “I’m active on Twitter and Instagram—but, I don’t take bashers seriously. Sa sobrang dami ng bad talk about me, I have decided to ignore them. There’s no need to explain. I know myself better—so, why worry over social media-fueled speculation—or rumors that aren’t true?”
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