Philippine Daily Inquirer

Straight Sandino comfortabl­e kissing other guys, showing some skin /

- By Marinel R. Cruz @marinelRcr­uzINQ

Actor Sandino Martin, who has played gay characters on the big screen several times already, said he would prefer to lock lips with a “more mature actor” next time.

“It would be interestin­g to do it with someone like Tony Mabesa or Menggie Cobarrubia­s, because age is but a number when it comes to love ... or with Christophe­r de Leon, who is my idol. But let’s ask him first if he would be OK with it,” Sandino said, laughing.

The 27-year-old actor is playing yet another gay character, a lawyer named Gaylord, in the mystery-thriller series “Sino ang May Sala? Mea Culpa” on ABS-CBN.

While he admitted that “half of the titles in my filmograph­y are queer films,” Sandino claimed he saw nothing wrong with it. “There’s a market for gay films, obviously. These are stories that are worth telling, and I’m proud to be a part of them. There are only a few straight guys in the biz who can say ‘yes’ to these roles,” he

pointed out.

“I saw that with people from Dreamscape, or from ABS-CBN in general, they make sure I play different characters, like in ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya” or ‘Ipaglaban Mo,’ so it’s perfectly fine,” said Sandino, a cast member of gaythemed film projects like “Changing Partners,” “Esprit de Corps,” “Unfriend” and “Dagitab.”

Gaylord is not too vulgar, Sandino clarified. “I’m being careful because Hero (Angeles) only recently played a gay lawyer (in ‘Halik’). In my head, I know I need to change Gaylord a little. Pumipitik lang siya dito,” he explained. “At first, they’re pushing me to play him as someone flamboyant, but I told them that it’s time to show queerness in a different light.”

For him, the most challengin­g gay character was in Kanakan Balintagos’ “Esprit de Corps,” where he was not only made to shoot a kissing scene with actor JC Santos, he also had frontal nudity.

“I did it in 2014. I guess I could do it again when I’m in my 30s. I believe in showcasing the body and its different stages,” he declared, adding that he could still remember seasoned actress Shamaine Buencamino in ‘Lorna,” where she did just that, in her 50s.

“What I learned from watching her was that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies. It’s liberating for actors to show it. The audience—of the same age group as hers—would see the movie and say, ‘OK, if she can show some skin, then maybe we can be comfortabl­e with our own skin, too.’”

Kissing scenes with another man don’t make Sandino feel awkward anymore, he swore. “I’ve always said, while working on ‘Changing Partners,’ that gender is fluid. One should not hinder himself with rules.”

For him to be effective in playing gay roles—even though he’s straight—Sandino said he undergoes a process. “It goes with both sexes: You first need to establish chemistry. You first have to be comfortabl­e with each other as friends. It’s hard to go to the set feeling cold,” he pointed out.

“I feel more comfortabl­e doing it with someone I know, someone I’m friends with. If we’re not friends yet, then I will

befriend him kasi ’di ko

makakaya ’yon. When I’m on the set, my emotions are very vulnerable. It’s when I’m most open, so it will definitely affect me and my performanc­e,” Sandino explained.

The actor was handpicked by Dreamscape to play Gaylord, whom he described as “very complex because he is both bi

da and kontrabida. Kindness and badness are equally present in him.”

Sandino added: “His parents are honest people. They taught him that he should be morally upright, but the struggle is there, especially in his sexuality. Since he wants to focus on doing what is right, he is suffering because he keeps hiding his true self. Gaylord is the menopausal baby of a policeman and his wife. The guy isn’t sure if he’d be accepted for who he really is.”

The series, which airs weeknights after “The General’s Daughter,” also features Jodi Sta. Maria as Fina, Bela Padilla as Juris, Tony Labrusca as Drei and Kit Thompson as Greco.

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Sandino Martin

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