Mario Maurer raring to do another movie in PH
It takes no less than 12 facial muscles for a person to smile. But Thai heartthrob Mario Maurer, last seen in a Filipino film in 2012 (via Rory Quintos’ “Suddenly It’s Magic,” costarring Erich Gonzales), doesn’t mind stretching his zygomaticus major, the human body’s premier muscle for smiling and laughing, to live up to his country’s Land of Smiles monicker.
But there’s more to Thailand than just dazzling smiles, gentle elephants and imposing temples, the 27-year-old actor-model told the Inquirer during our one-on-one chat with him at Dusit Thani on Saturday:
“I want Filipinos to enjoy the beauty of my country as much as I do. Many Filipinos and Thais look alike and have the same brown or tan skin color—and we’re both known to smile a lot. So, don’t be surprised if the locals will speak to you in Thai if you visit my country. [Moreover,] our hospitality is just as warm as yours—so, you’ll feel right at home there,” he beamed.
As Thailand’s latest tourism ambassador, Mario was thrilled to make the Manila stopover, because he was aware of his popularity in the Philippines.
The dashing actor had swooning Pinoy followers long before he appeared in the Star Cinema production. He left an indelible mark with movie enthusiasts by way of his career-making portrayals in the coming-of-age rom-com, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” the horror comedy, “Pee Mak,” and the gay-themed romance, “Love of Siam,” for which he won best actor at the 10th Cinemanila film fest in 2008.
Mario said that while it’s true that his crazy schedule in Bangkok has kept him busy since his eventful foray into Philippine cinema, he isn’t closing his doors on another Pinoy venture and is raring to work here again.
He explained, “Shooting ‘Suddenly It’s Magic’ was very memorable to me—and the fans’ adulation was touching, so I’m open to collaborating with whomever producers want me to act with.”
The actor, who is of Thai, Chinese and German descent, began his career at age 16, first as a model. But, it didn’t take long for Mario to get drawn to the glare of the thespic spotlight.
He disclosed that he’s currently doing TV dramas (reportedly “Blooming Love” and “Baung Bunjathom”), but as his fans await their release, they can see Mario in the recently released horror film, “Take Me Home.”
The matinee idol related, “In ‘Take Me Home,’ I play a hospital orderly who forgets everything about himself after a car accident almost kills him. Then, a ghost leads him to a house where people are strange and crazy things happen at night. Problem is, once he gets there, he can’t leave the house!”
Mario may have a lot of adoring followers, but he said he was also a fan himself. In fact, there are actors whose careers he wants to emulate—like Leonardo DiCaprio.
He explained, “I idolize Leo because he always gives more than a hundred percent in whatever role he chooses to essay. So, I was pleased when he finally won an Oscar early this year (for ‘The Revenant’).”
What itinerary would he suggest if a tourist only has, say, three days to explore Thailand?
Mario answered, “First, explore Bangkok and get to know Thai culture. Get on a tuk-tuk (three-wheeled motorcycle), which operates like the jeepney, to take you around. If you don’t like tuk-tuk, take a taxi—or, there’s always Uber.
“Go biking around the Old Town (Rattanakosin) area in the middle of the city, where you’ll see the palace. Temples are very close by. Shop at Jay Jay Market (Chatuchak/Jatujak Night Market) for gifts. Watch Muay Thai boxing and get a reinvigorating massage.
“Of course, you can’t live like a Thai and not learn to eat like one—so you have to try the prawn-garnished tom yam kung (lemongrass and shrimp soup) and spicy som tam (green papaya salad).
“Less than two hours away is the floating market of Amphawa (in Samut Songkhram province). Then, go to Pattaya and enjoy its beaches.”
Even Mario acknowledges the importance of relaxing after a hard day’s work. He makes it a point to travel when he isn’t working.
He disclosed, “I go biking in my downtime. I drive outside Bangkok, to places like Chiang Mai, a lovely city in the mountainous north that dates back to the 1200s—which takes about seven hours by car.”
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