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Reinventing manly Mike Tan

Former StarStruck winner has grown up, but can’t venture into ‘Zombading’ territory
/ 04:42 AM October 17, 2011

Even his voice sounds deeper.

The old Mike Tan used to be a happy-go-lucky teen star, but now he seems more serious and determined to do better in his career.

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The change becomes more evident in the new GMA 7 afternoon soap opera, “Kung Aagawin Mo Ang Langit.”

“It’s a role that’s totally different from the real me,” he said.

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He’s not just a young husband and father; he’s also a philanderer, torn between Carla Abellana and Michelle Madrigal.

To prepare for the role, he took in a string of workshops under esteemed mentors Freddie Santos and Nanding Josef.

Director Jay Altarejos has instructed him to erase all traces of the old Mike. “Even in the way I talk and move. I should be mature, manly,” said Mike.

He constantly collaborates with Direk Jay to come up with a solid characterization. “Direk Jay has a definite idea about my role. But he’s open to suggestions, too.”

As bonus, he’s tackling a new challenge: As segment host in Vicky Morales’ magazine show “Good News” on GMA News TV.

“I was assigned stories that interest men,” he explained.

There is something new to learn every time he goes out in the field, he said. “Recently we did a feature on electronic vehicles in Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). I never knew that we have e-cars and that some Filipino inventors had won in competitions abroad.”

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He has also been allowed to pursue his own stories in the show. “I contribute my own ideas. I did a segment on gym alternatives: Exercises you can do at home and with things you can find in the house. For example, using books as steps or bottles as dumbbells.”

He hopes to do more reports in “Good News” and wrestle with more interesting plot twists in “Kung Aagawin.”

It’s all part of his continuing growth as an artist, he said.

He’s even willing to do stage plays and indie films. (He attempted to join a stage play, but his hectic teleserye schedule forced him to drop out.)

In his spare time he watches theatrical shows like the musical “Noli Me Tangere” and indie movies like “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” and “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington.”

However, he doesn’t think he can play a swishy gay character like his friend and fellow “StarStruck” alum Martin Escudero in “Zombadings.”

“For one thing, I can’t dance as gracefully as Martin,” said Mike. “I congratulated him. I told him that he’s the only one who could pull that off. Martin was so good in that movie. Bilib na bilib ako sa kanya.”

But even if Mike can’t turn queer onscreen, but he has other complex characters in his wish list.

“If I do an indie film, I hope to play a serial killer … someone psychotic,” he said, laughing.

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