'Halik ng Tarantula' is BB's first production venture
MANILA, Philippines -- It's no longer possible for celebrity brothers Robin and Rustom Padilla to cross paths.
After three years of absence from showbiz, Rustom re-emerged as a transsexual named BB Gandanghari in 2009. It was in 2006 when the former actor first admitted on national television his sexual orientation.
During a press conference held Tuesday for the upcoming staging of "Halik ng Tarantula", Gandanghari reminded members of the press, as well as his action star brother, that his taking on the name also marked a change in the gender he identifies with.
"Kung tatanuningin kasi ang puso ko, dalawa lang 'yan eh -- either babae ka or lalaki ka. So I consider myself a woman, kasi that's how I really feel. So hindi ko alam kung paano ako ile-label ng ibang tao, pero iyon ang tingin ko sa sarili ko," Gandanghari said.
Over the years since Gandanghari announced Rustom's "death," Robin has expressed disapproval of his brother's lifestyle change.
In a recent interview, the Kapamilya actor admitted he prefers not to see Gandanghari dressed as a woman. Robin also said he had requested their mom to persuade Gandanghari against his planned sex-change operation.
"Wala kaming problema ni Robin. It's also okay if he says na nami-miss niya si Rustom," Gandanghari said on Tuesday. "Ang problema, how can I do something when in fact I'm BB? So if he wants to see Rustom, Rustom is not here anymore. So that's my problem.
"With all due respect, Rustom's here no more. Kasi 'pag tinawag akong Rustom, ayaw ko talaga. Basta, I am BB. Call me BB. If you want to talk to me, please refer to me as BB, because I am BB," he said.
'BB' as a company
Recently, "BB Gandanghari" also became the name of the model-actor's production company.
For its first venture, BB Gandanghari, Inc. will revive the stage play "Halik ng Tarantula," which was first staged by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in 1989. Set to run in March 2013, the re-staging will be directed once again by Soxie Topacio.
In the play, Gandanghari portrays Molina, a gay man whose growing friendship with fellow prison inmate Valentin has him falling in love.
"My peg actually for the Valentin role is very Che Gueverra, political prisoner, rebelde, galit, sunog sa araw. Very interesting. Aktibista siya eh, hindi glamor. Nandun ang peg ko," Gandanghari told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday.
The actor-turned-producer added, "Once we got the right Valentin, 'yung tamang aktor para mag-play ng Valentin, everything will just come out. Hindi pinipilit iyon eh. Kasi ang hinahanap namin 'yung makakuha na ipe-present ang kanyang sarili bilang isang aktor."