Dingdong takes on a new acting challenge

- by Mario E. Bautista () - July 1, 2001 - 12:00am
He is definitely a multi-talented performer. He sings, he dances, he is even a good TV host. He is also one of today’s best-looking matinee idols.

Now, Dingdong Dantes is being given by GMA-7 his biggest break as an actor. For the whole month of July, he will be the featured performer in the weekly anthology Larawan, A Special Drama Engagement.

This is the first time the show is focusing on a male performer after featuring actresses like Ruffa Gutierrez, Rufa Mae Quinto, Donita Rose, and Assunta da Rossi. We asked Peachy Guioguio of the GMA Creative Services Department why they chose Dingdong.

"We have seen his prowess as a dancer and singer in S.O.P. and as a host in the Bb. Pilipinas and Mutya ng Pilipinas pageants," she replies. "We believe it’s about time we show his potential as an actor."

"I’m flattered by GMA’s trust in me, but also, I’m scared because the roles they have given me in the four episodes of Larawan are all very demanding," says Dingdong. "But I do welcome the challenge. I see this as an opportunity for growth as an actor and I’ll try my best to give justice to the roles they assign to me."

Dingdong is Jose Sixto Dantes in real life, the eldest of five kids. He is turning 21 on Aug.. 22. He started his showbiz career as a member of the Abstract Dancers in That’s Entertainment when he was only 15 years old.

Viva Films later got him as a contract star and cast him as a member of the new batch of their T.G.I.S. group of youngsters. He was paired with Antoinette Taus. He was also later added to the cast of the Sunday youth drama, Anna Karenina. On the big screen, he did three romantic-comedy films with Antoinette: I’m Sorry My Love, Honey My Love So Sweet and Kiss Mo Ko.

Last February, Antoinette left for the States to seek greener pastures and the rumor circulating now is that she went there to hide her pregnancy, courtesy of Dingdong. "She feels so bad because of that chismis," says Dingdong. "We communicate on the phone and via the internet about three times a week. Before she left, we already conditioned ourselves that such a rumor would surely crop up once she is gone. But even if that’s already our mind set, it still hurts. She says she protected her clean image all these years and now, some people want to destroy it. She now wants to come home to disprove the rumor."

Is he dating anyone while Antoinette is away?

"No. I seldom go out. We are not really committed naman to each other. It’s my own decision not to go out because I really want to focus on my career now that GMA is giving me a lot of good opportunities. Also, I’m busy with my classes. I’m a college sophomore at the Ateneo taking up interdisciplinary studies."

What happened to his contract with Viva?

"Officially, I’m still under contract with them. I did a TV show for them, Hating-Hating Kapatid, which was aired on IBC-13 for three seasons. Now they say they have a new show for me and they will cast me in a new comedy. But since not any of these projects has started yet, they agreed to lend me to GMA-7 to do Larawan. GMA also has plans of casting me in another drama show after I did a mini-series with them last year."

Which of the episodes in Larawan really challenged him?

"The one entitled Baseball Cap. It’s a heavy drama and I get to act with such experienced actors as Michael de Mesa and Joel Torre. They’re so good I had to be on my toes all the time nang hindi ako mapahiya sa kanila. I also enjoyed doing Pamamanhikan with Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa. They are both very helpful and told me stories about their heyday as one of the most popular love teams in the country during the ’50s. I also play a demanding role in Sakali sa Makalawa, that of a dying young man who meets the girl of his dreams when he is about to die, played by Regine Velasquez."

Has he taken any acting workshop before doing Larawan?

"I have already taken a lot of workshops before, sa Actors Workshop, with Director Jay Altarejos, and with PETA actress Connie Chua. But I have now realized the best acting teacher is actual experience, not the workshops. It is being given the privilege to do difficult roles, acting with seasoned co-stars and under great directors. That’s why I’d really like to thank GMA for giving me the chance to do a drama show like Larawan."

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