THE TRIAL AND RESURRECTION OF COCO MARTIN

Film Notes
THE TRIAL AND RESURRECTION OF COCO MARTIN
by Pablo A. Tariman

Coco Martin will have a rare chance to take stock of himself with a long weekend ahead of him.

Coco Martin as flagellant in the indie film, "Sta. Nina." He had his share of  private struggles and the hard life.

Coco Martin as flagellant in the indie film, “Sta. Nina.” He had his share of private struggles and the hard life.

It’s been one busy month after another as he wrapped up his latest starrer (“You’re My Boss”) opposite Toni Gonzaga. He just finished dubbing ahead of his leading lady and will have a quick trip to the South to promote his film before he takes a much-needed rest.

On top of that, he has to finish his scenes in “Wansapanataym” opposite Julia Montes in an episode called “Yamashita’s Treasures.”

But once upon a time in his early life as an unknown Rodel Nacianceno, the actor had his share of a struggling life before he became famous in tinsel town.

In one presscon, he admitted his life would make for a harrowing teleserye; in a noontime show, Vice Ganda recognized him as the former waiter in a night lounge where he used to do his stand-up comedy.

The road to recognition was tough, he had his share of love affairs that became hot topics in TV talk shows and now, you can’t blame him if he says it’s not fair to mix work and romance at this phase of his celebrated life.

Coco Martin's brand new house in Fairview. His earlier prized possessions were a jeepney and three tricycles.

Coco Martin’s brand new house in Fairview. His earlier prized possessions were a jeepney and three tricycles.

Observes co-star Toni Gonzaga: “When he faces the camera, you can sense where his acting is coming from. ‘Talagang malalim ang pinaghuhugutan.’ I don’t have that kind of experience. I came from a family na masayahin with very little encounter with the hard life. Of course everything wasn’t that easy but we grew up without lingering on the pain or going to a phase like self-pity. So I have to work doubly hard to be at par with his experience. But the good thing about him is that he remains a good student eager to learn anything from both co-stars and director.”

This is probably the reason why Coco is at his best portraying characters in such indie films as “Noy” and “Tirador,” among others.

Could that life of struggles in the past the very same reason why three years ago, Coco accepted the role of the flagellant in the indie film, “Sta. Nina” where he was literally tied on the cross and didn’t mind hanging there for close to two hours while director was wrapping up his so-called crucial scenes?

What he will realize this holy week as he takes stock of his life is that nothing in this world comes easy.

He worked hard to acquire his 2,000-square-meter sprawling new home in Fairview complete with the amenities of a built-in theater, a game room, music room, a gym, gazebo and a guest house.

At the same time, he has not forgotten the humble trophies of a modest income and he didn’t mind showing the jeepney and three tricycles he earlier owned.

In his latest starrer, Coco is a natural playing the role of a country bumpkin from Batanes who finds himself put to his rightful place in a corporate world where he ends up the big boss after playing executive assistant.

To be sure, this is his latest musical chair in showbiz where found himself accepting films and TV assignments being paired with assorted leading ladies from Angeline Quinto to Julia Montes and from Kim Chiu and Sarah Geronimo, among others.

By this time, he has perfected the art of collaborating with his leading ladies.

Rule 1. Get to know your leading lady the fastest way possible and connect in the most human way. When he was teamed up with Sarah Geronimo for the first time, he had to find a way to connect in between the ‘harutan’ and ‘landian’ on the set. He notes that Sarah made effort to make him relax and as a result, his acting was real and spontaneous on the set.

Rule 2. Develop good rapport with co-actor and trust your director. One of Coco’s most difficult roles is doing love scenes with Kim Chiu on the first day of the taping of his widely acclaimed teleserye, “Ikaw Lamang.” Indeed those romantic moments may look easy on TV and movie screen but the hard work behind the camera is just as challenging.

Coco Martin and Toni Gonzaga in latest presscon. It pays to learn from co-actors and director.

Coco Martin and Toni Gonzaga in latest presscon. It pays to learn from co-actors and director.

He once intimated: “First you have to trust yourself, trust your co-actor and trust your director who has the final say on how those love scenes would register on the screen. True, you need good chemistry to make those scene look real. Otherwise you would look studied or contrived.”

Rule 3. Learn from your co-actors.

In his latest starrer which is a romantic comedy, Coco realized he has to learn fast to properly execute good timing in comedy which is not his favorite genre.

“I learned a lot from Toni (Gonzaga) and I learned a lot from Direk Tonette (Jadaone). It’s a good thing magaan ang mode sa set. This was a perfect vehicle before we all go serious during the holy week.”

Like it or not, the actor has learned from his earlier struggling life and has come to terms with his success.

On this long weekend, he will come to terms with his private trials and will have reason to enjoy his own resurrection.

As someone wise once said, “We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life but we can control how we respond.”

For now, Coco Martin is a classic example that “a gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

“You’re My Boss” starring Coco Martin and Toni Gonzaga opens on April 4.

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