No reservations from Kiko in sexually charged scenes with Martin
I don’t think I’ll ever do it again,” declared actor Kiko Matos on portraying the role of a transgender, either on TV or on the big screen.
He said he once played such a role in the film, “Straight to the Heart,” and realized how difficult it was to pull off. “I was a cross-dresser there. I wore a gown in a beauty contest. My part was small, but since then, I said to myself that I’d choose my roles. I’ll stick to those that don’t require me to wear women’s clothes.”
In Perci Intalan’s comedy flick “Born Beautiful,” Kiko plays a man who falls for a transgender (Martin del Rosario).
“It’s a good try. I have yet to see viewers’ reactions to it. Ito na lang muna. I also don’t want to be typecast in doing gay roles. I want variety in my projects,” he told the Inquirer shortly before the film’s special screening at the UP Cine Adarna in Quezon City.
Kiko, however, said he was amazed at how hard Martin worked on the film. “He is very professional. Since he plays the lead character, he is in front of the camera most of the time,” he pointed out.
Martin is Barbs Cordero, the best friend of Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros) in the movie, “Die Beautiful.” In the sequel, Barbs is picking up the pieces after her best friend’s sudden death.
“This project was meant to be a TV series. The film (currently being shown in cinemas) is the shortened version. Martin would go to the set, shoot from 5 a.m. to 5 a.m. (of the next day), wearing women’s clothes, with a long wig, fake boobs and full makeup. That’s hard! I don’t think I’ll have the energy to do that. I have high respect for him,” he added. “There’s also the fact that we shot most of the scenes in Pampanga, and Martin would always come from the set of a soap opera for GMA 7.”
Kiko, however, said he recognized the importance of a straight guy doing gay roles. “I’m coming more from the perspective of a straight actor. When I was younger, I was asked if I’d be willing to do gay roles. The person who asked me was a family friend, and he’s gay. I declined. He said, ‘Why not? How can you determine your worth as an actor if you don’t do these roles? Then, you cannot be considered a full actor.’”
“That stuck with me,” he admitted. “I said if I’d get a chance, I’d do it because it’s something challenging.”
Working on “Born Beautiful” required Kiko to do kissing scenes with Martin. He described his portrayal as “very honest, not judgmental at all.”
“I’m straight and, therefore, I will never do what my character Greg did in the movie… I stepped into his shoes and gave whatever was required of me. I approached our daring scenes with honesty. Whatever you see in the film, that’s my interpretation of Greg’s reactions.”
He added that playing Greg was challenging in the sense that “I said ‘yes’ to the role without knowing what I got myself into. At first, I thought that he was just Barbs’ temperamental boyfriend, but I got surprised every time I got my scripts. Since I was already committed to it, I could no longer say ‘no.’ ’Di na pwedeng mag-inarte.”
From the freshly written script, Kiko discovered that he was supposed to kiss several men in the series. “Martin and I also shot sex scenes—we did all sorts of things! As an actor, I can’t have reservations. I have to attack the role head on. With every role I take, I want it to appear fresh. I want it to be outstanding. But these things are always hit or miss.”
He said doing “Born Beautiful” was an “experience I will never forget. It’s very dear to me. I was given so much freedom in expressing myself through the character. It allowed me to step out of the box. You will know what I’m talking about once you’ve seen it.”
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