MANILA, Philippines -- Unlike most actors, Coco Martin took on "mature roles" first before going wholesome on primetime TV.
|Coco Martin. File photo
In 2006, Martin made his showbiz debut via independent film "Masahista."
The Brillante Mendoza-directed movie earned Martin accolades as an actor, but not without doing justice to his role as the titular masseur -- which meant shedding his clothes completely on screen.
"Noong sinabi sa akin na 'masahista' ang title, akala ko magma-masahe lang, akala ko parang hilot. Hindi ko alam na gay ang tema," Martin told YES! Magazine in its July 2012 issue.
"Dumating na 'yong time na mayroong pinakamalalang eksena, 'yong kailangan kong maghubad ng brief. Sabi ko, 'Kaya ko ba 'to?' Syempre ang daming tao sa set. Akala mo 'pag pinanood mo sa pelikula, kayo lang ng camera," Martin added.
The award-winning actor said it took some amount of prodding for him to say "yes" to baring all for the camera. He said it was his co-star Jaclyn Jose, her manager Ed Instrella, and his director who finally convinced him to strip bare.
"Sabi nila, 'Iyon talaga 'yung tema ng pelikula. Kailangan talagang gawin 'to. Napasubo na 'ko, kumbaga nandoon na 'ko, ibibigay ko na 'yung best ko," Martin said.
'Joke' screen name
Since portraying Iliac in "Masahista," Martin has made leaps toward showbiz stardom.
Born as Rodel Nacianceno, Martin said it took him time to get used to his screen name.
He said it seemed like a "joke" at the time to use "Coco Martin" as his screen name.
"That time, syempre bata pa naman ako noon at kaputukan ni Ricky Martin noong mga panahon na 'yon. Parang napaglaruan lang ni Tito Ed na, 'Bakit hindi nalang Coco Martin?'
"Feeling ko nga parang, 'Seryoso ba 'to?' Parang hindi gaanong kaseryosong pangalan," Martin said.
Little did he know, "Coco Martin" would become the name called on countless times on stage to receive an acting award.
Baffled by fans
Coupled with the continued acclaim for his talent as an actor, Martin has also become the object of affection of his fans, whose existence up to know still baffles the young actor.
"Hindi kasi ako naniniwala sa fans, kasi nga galing akong indie. Alam ko kung ano 'yung fans na sinasabi nila, pero 'pag ikaw na pala, parang, 'Totoo ba ito? Tootoo bang may humahanga?'"
A testament to his prowess as a skilled actor -- and a popular one at that -- is his top-rating starrer on primetime television, "Walang Hanggan."
The drama series, where Martin stars as Daniel, has earned massive success, even earning a record-breaking 42.5% ratings among national households according to latest survey data.
Airing weeknights during ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida block, "Walang Hanggan" also stars Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta, Julia Montes, Paulo Avelino, Susan Roces, and Helen Gamboa.