For Allen Dizon, ‘difficult, offbeat’ roles are the only ones worth doing
The more offbeat and challenging a role is, the more appealing it is to actor Allen Dizon, who has already portrayed quite a number of these characters and even won international recognition for them.
This year, he has done four projects that required him to play an incestuous father, a wife murderer, a religious cult leader and a shell-shocked ex-military man.
“I never pick my partners. I base my decision on the story and who my director will be,” Allen told reporters during a recent media gathering that launched Allen as brand ambassador of Smart Access Philippines, an international consultancy firm for Filipinos migrating to Australia.
“I check the script to know if I can do it. If I feel like I can’t, that’s when I’d decide to take it. That’s where the challenge is. You tackle roles that you can’t imagine yourself doing, those that are totally different from being Allen. I’ve played a character who is blind, and another who is mute. They were both very difficult to portray,” he pointed out.
For Jay Altarejos’ “Pamilya sa Dilim,” Allen had to shoot a passionate kissing scene with Teri Malvar, who plays his daughter. “This is a sensitive topic. There are no other love scenes, but it is implied that he is having [sexual relationships] with his mother (Laurice Guillen) and sister (Sunshine Cruz). You know how crazy Direk Jay’s imagination is,” he pointed out. “Of course, it thrilled me that I got to work with Direk Laurice. My character, a corrupt policeman, eventually goes crazy after she poisons him toward the end.”
In Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Poon,” Allen plays a cult leader who is married to the character of Janice de Belen. “She and her siblings are wasting the money of the congregation. This is a horror-suspense project in which the religious image is manifesting itself physically,” he explained.
In another of Alix’s projects, titled “Acetylene Love,” Allen kills his wife (Rosanna Roces) by accident and buries her under their family-run pawnshop. The story is based on the notorious gang that ransacked pawnshops and banks in Luzon in 2014.
“The gang members try to rob my pawnshop. They dig a hole for them to get in but eventually discover my wife’s body,” he explained. Cannes best actress Jaclyn Jose plays the owner of a store located in front of Allen’s pawnshop. They eventually fall in love, he narrated.
How it started
Rommel Ricafort’s action flick “Off Load,” is actually based on a concept by Allen. “I created a nonprofit group in Pampanga that is involved in humanitarian projects. That’s how the project started. My character, Ryke, is an ex-military man suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He is undergoing therapy for it. While doing outreach work, his group encounters the syndicate that killed all the male members and raped the women. Since Ryke is more experienced in combat, he sets out to rescue the others. There are very few gun fights. This features Pinoy martial arts, and this makes me extremely proud.”
Allen is also part of the still-unreleased Nora Aunor starrer, “Ligalig,” which was directed by Topel Lee. He only has good words when asked what it was like to work with the National Artist for Film. “Ang sarap n’ya katrabaho. On the set, she would make the crew play games and give them money as prizes. As a coactor, I would always notice the change in her eyes when the camera starts rolling. She transforms into what the director wants her to be. Somehow, she is always capable of giving more. I guess you turn into someone this great after honing your craft for many years. She is such a kind and giving actress,” he recalled.
On the small screen, Allen is part of the Kapuso drama series “Abot Kamay na Pangarap,” and his character is turning out to be someone “interesting” as well. “Now you can see he has so many red flags. Our director said this is the direction that my character is taking. Dr. Carlos was too nice. It’s now time to see interesting changes in his personality,” he explained. “I have no problem with that. I’m just concerned with the fans. I’m now starting to get hate messages online.”
Allen admitted that this was something he still has to get used to. “They would say, ‘You’re a liar!’ or ‘You’re a fake!,’” he added. “This project really changed me. A lot of people call me by my character’s name now. They would stop to ask for photos with me. This happened when I was at the cemetery last All Souls’ Day. It took me three hours to tend my father’s grave, then another three hours for my grandmother. Everyone came for photos. My eyes were already hurting because of the flash, but I just couldn’t turn them down.”