TOUGH LUCK CLUB
SHOW BUSINESS HAS A TERRIBLE HABIT OF FORGETTING.
eeping millions of individuals glued to their screens and at the edge of their seats can’t be easy, after all. Left to its own devices, the entertainment industry, especially our own, has a habit of taking on new talents and testing the waters for mass appeal, or the uncanny critical darling. These talents feed the line. Only a handful of fresh-faced teen idols are able to incite the response necessary to propel them to stardom, and this exclusive club forms the earmarks of a generation. ilma Santos, Rico an, and Scout cover girl Nadine Lustre are just some of the lucky ones. hen we think about speci c eras of pop culture, they’re the ones that we remember.
To the club that thousands of new talents strive for, it seems Ronnie lonte was given an all-access pass. For a moment, right at the end, just as relief started to settle at the close of 2016, all eyes were on the smug-faced newcomer. He was by all means a star on the rise, but the end of last year hitched wagons to Ronnie’s ascent and secured his place as one to watch. Serving top billing on two lms of the Metro Manila Film Festival simultaneously can do that to a young actor’s career. Still, Ronnie’s was a new name, one that rang like a tune and commanded attention. Snappy and memorable, his was the kind of moniker that agents pitched in meetings, because a pretty name is just as important as a pretty face. But Ronnie rthur lcantara lonte has been his name for 20 years, since he was born in Biñan, Laguna. His name is real, and despite a maddening onset of success, so is he.
Such is Ronnie when I meet him one afternoon in scolta, the concrete-laden business district now making a quiet little resurgence. People tend to get antsy when waiting for stars, and our production team is seeking solace from the sweltering heat by the bar stools of Fred’s, a local bar with an alarmingly early opening time at the ground oor of First United Building, while exchanging casual banter about our subject.
Maalala Mo aya Ronnie’s work and his history precede him. hen he appears at the shoot, bearing a tight grin on his face and plenty of charm, the team and I become alert, watching as he apologizes profusely for being late and shakes hands with everyone on location. ith every terse introduction, he says his name “Ronnie.
veryone is on their toes, all recognizing Ronnie as the man who starred in two MMFF lms last year, the actor pegged in his industry as one to watch. Because of his height, Ronnie looks agile and imposing, and he walks with a loose gait, with movements that are exaggerated but graceful in a way that only an athlete’s are. He looks con dent, and dare I say, even a little excited. He looks convincingly like he is happy to be there, dodging the Manila heat with us. He and I head straight to a quiet corner of the bar. s we walk, Ronnie nds a grain of rice from breakfast on his shirt and icks it off without pause. he explains to me, laughing. There’s no blinding aura of bravado around him, no aggressive smack of perfume as we walk. Ronnie looks stunningly ordinary.
I realize that the actor introducing himself to me is far from what I expected. Given the torrential fame he’s had to deal with, I would have understood a bit of cockiness, or the occasional request for some thing or other from his assistants. But Ronnie holds his own. He talks without encumbrance, casually and without regard for appearances. Maybe it’s too soon to tell, but it seems he hasn’t changed much since his start in the entertainment industry two years ago.
We met Ronnie Alonte one day, and found a fast-rising young star still attached to his small-town roots