Sandino Martin recently showcased his talent for singing in two musical films: Ang Larawan and Changing Partners.
In the period film Ang Larawan, he played Bitoy Camacho, a family friend of the Marasigans. In Changing Partners, Sandino shot a love scene with Agot Isidro and he played the gay lover of Jojit Lorenzo.
During the thanksgiving party of Ang Larawan held recently at Resorts World Manila, Sandino talked about his past projects and being part of the upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye Blood Sisters top-billed by Erich Gonzales.
He recalled doing the indie film Esprit de Corps in which he co-starred with JC Santos and Lharby Policarpio. The young men starred as ROTC cadets in an all-boys school during Martial Law.
Sandino revealed that Esprit de Corps was almost cancelled because one of the lead actors got fired from the project. It was actually Sandino who recommended JC to be part of this Cinema One Originals 2014 entry.
Sandino knew JC because they both studied Theater Arts in the University of the Philippines -Diliman. “Higher batch sa akin si JC Santos.
“Tatlo ang main characters [sa Esprit de Corps]: ako, si Lharby, saka may isang guy. The guy got fired because he’s not doing well.
“At that time, JC had just come back [to Manila] from New York.
“The project was in danger of being dissolved because it was not working out with another actor. We were cramming already. I told our director [Auraeus Solito]: ‘I know someone who’s very good, who is a fast learner.’
“Binuild up ko si JC so pumasok si JC. Ganun ako. I want to make a good film. I want the best out of the best. If I can help, if I can make it happen, then why not?”
Those who have seen the movie remember many noteworthy scenes, including the kiss between Sandino and JC.
“JC kissed me,” said Sandino with a laugh. “We were rehearsing it for quite some time. Tapos sabi namin ni JC: ‘O, gawin na lang natin sa actual shoot. Ginawa namin. We’re fine. We’re both guys. Walang malisya.’”
Sandino pointed out that it is better for him to do a kissing scene with a guy that he knows rather than a stranger.
“Mas okay, kasi the theater scene in UP is very small. I would rather do it with someone I know. Hindi naman kami close ni JC but I’d rather do it with someone I know rather than a stranger and build a connection from scratch.”
Both from the Theater Arts program of UP Diliman, it was not the first time that JC and Sandino kissed guys for art. “Sa theater, may isa akong ginawa. JC has done some plays in UP where he had kissing scenes [with guys].”
ON FRONTAL NUDITY. Another memorable scene in Esprit de Corps is the scene where Sandino had frontal nudity.
“Naghubad ako, totally nude. Si JC, hanggang puwet lang. Kailangan may isa sa amin na [completely nude] kasi pinapakita ang evolution of the nakedness of a man. Sabi ko: ‘Sige, ako na lang.’ Pero wala sa akin yun.”
His open-mindedness about baring one’s body was influenced by his trip to Europe in the past.
“Nagpunta akong Europe for a month and I saw a lot of European films. Wala silang pakialam. It’s part of the human physicality so … You see it every day!
“Pero hindi ko kayang gawin sa theater. I cannot do it na alam ko na maraming tao. Kaya ko na may camera, may two people lang.”
Because on his experience, Sandino even recommends that actors do a frontal nudity scene at least once in their lives.
“Nagmo-monologue ako nun. I was doing a scene with Lharby. Nakaupo ako sa jumping board [sa pool], hubo’t hubad, then magsu-swimming ako. Siguro mga 6-8 takes yun. I got used to it.
“Actually, it’s liberating. I would suggest to all actors out there to do it once in their lives because it’s liberating. I’m not saying to do it regularly, but it’s fun.”
How did Sandino prepare for his frontal nudity scene? “Hindi ako nag-workout. Sapat na yung takbo-takbo namin during the military training [in preparation for filming].
“I was in a relationship when I was shooting it. Siyempre pinagpaalam ko naman.”
After the movie came out, Sandino said he felt uneasy about the outcome.
“Nung nakita ko yung output, isa din ako sa lumulubog sa upuan nung scene na yun: ‘Ang tagal nito! Literal na ang tagal!’ Siyempre, my mom saw it. Sabi niya: ‘Bakit mo ginawa ito, anak?’”
He laughs now, recalling it.
Would he be willing to do frontal nudity again for a movie?
“I’d do it again…in the next ten years. You saw it for a very long time, you might see it after… Kasi gusto ko iba naman ang physical [appearance]. I want to age a bit. Mature a bit. Those kinds of things. So if you bare it all, there’s new meaning.”
What about intimate scenes with other actors? “I would accept gay roles in the future if the script is good. If the film wants to say something important. Kung kailangan na kailangan sa pelikula, bakit hindi?”
In fact, Sandino recently turned down a project that called for him to do an intimate scene.
“Alam ko naman yung tipong just to sell sex. Meron akong hinindi-an na indie movie project recently because I felt it was not needed. It was too much. I said no to a project.”
The young performer takes his acting craft seriously. “I would love to be a lot of people. That’s the gift you have as an actor. To be someone you are not.
“I’m planning to be in the business for a very long time. I want to evolve as an artist in the near future.”