Friday, July 10, 2009


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Philippine Cinema to this day acknowledges only one man whom everybody considers the Drama King. On July 14 at 8:30 pm, Cinema One’s Inside the Cinema host Boy Abunda sits down for an intimate tete-a-tete “one of the most brilliant actors in Philippine Cinema of all time,” Christopher de Leon.

After over 25 awards, nearly 100 movies and a host of notices from peers, professionals and working with wonderful and equally multi-awarded actresses and the best directors, it is fascinating to note that for over four decades, the man born Christopher Strauss de Leon in 1956 still reigns supreme with no heir apparent. Though it helps that he comes from a family of actors with parents Gil de Leon and Lilia Dizon, Pinky de Leon his sister, he instantly catapulted to lead star status in his debut film Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) and won his first Best Actor award in FAMAS. But a fascinating trivia that went along with the movie’s success was the sexy publicity shot: he was an 18 year old naked lad on the beach with only a branch covering his front. The picture where he combines mestizo good looks with roguish simpatico-ism, appeared in Women’s magazine drew great attention. Now at 53 and still youthfully attractive, the loving husband to seasoned actress Sandy Andolong engages in a revealing talk with host Abunda.

Only on Inside the Cinema will the multi-awarded actor be candid about who Boyet is onscreen and offscreen. Admitting his vanity, he divulges “I spend a long time in the bathroom…I take care of my skin,” and even admits an alternative career had he not been an actor “I could have been an artist or a painter because I draw a lot eh,” initially for why he took up Fine Arts at the UERM.

Boyet was cast with the best actresses like the sultry Dina Bonnevie, beauty queen Gloria Diaz, Diamond Star Maricel Soriano, Lorna Tolentino whom he calls “one of a kind” . Hilda Koronel who ha s “expressive eyes and photographic memory”. Charo Santos Concio “on a pedestal”. Sharon Cuneta “very emotional”. Vilma Santos “ generous, very external and giving” , while Nora Aunor is “superb, intense and she’s the one with depth.” This leads to teasy off screen trivias with host Abunda when talks usher towards The Superstar and The Star for All Seasons, two of the biggest names in local cinema he has relationships with. Noting that Banawe was his first movie with Aunor and where he fell for her, and reveals their Beachside Wedding “was my idea, because I wanted it to be solemn.” After their separation came the hit Tag-Ulan sa Tag-Araw , his first movie with Vilma where they also did strike an affair. While Ikaw ay Akin was where he had them both as leading ladies. Ultimately telling without any reservation how he choreographs his love scenes for he never wanted to take advantage of his leading ladies. But rousing laughter follows with his answer when Abunda asks who is the better kisser, Superstar or Star for All Seasons?

Simultaneously recalling and reminiscing the various roles and movies he was lucky to be directed by the most brilliant directors Boyet even reveals the scenarios, compromises, even disagreements he had with film-makers but becomes cerebral on describing them. Chito Roño is “technically good”. Ishmael Bernal “dynamic. He deals with the deep emotions of your character ”. Lino Brocka “he’s the actor’s director. He tells you where to look when you deliver a particular line” . Mike de Leon “helps you bring out the distinction of your character” . Olivia Lamasan is “wonderful and perfectionist” . Rory Quintos “likes the intensity” . Eddie Romero “is strict with his material” . Celso Ad Castillo “is the Messiah”.

Blessed with talent plus his fortune to successfully keep a name and good reputation in a fast and finicky industry, Christopher de Leon states the what he learned in his career gave him the wisdom an actor needs which gave him the balance and energy above all “ the dedication and discipline I give in my work to make things work”. Because it solves little problems like when a co-actor fails to give what’s required in a scene. He meets an agreement with a director on how to attack his character. Plus successfully discerns how to handle his love scenes “I choreograph them”.

Do not ever miss the Drama King, Christopher de Leon on Inside the Cinema with host Boy Abunda on July 14 (Tuesday) at 8:30 pm. Replays will be on July 19 (Sunday) at 1:15 am and July 20 (Monday) at 10:00 pm on Cinema One. Available from SkyCable Gold, SkyCable Silver and other quality cable operators nationwide.

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