In 1974, the country first witnessed the extraordinary talent of then 18-year-old Christopher de Leon in the Lino Brocka film Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang. Christopher, or Boyet, won his first-ever FAMAS award for his performance as an innocent young man seeing harsh realities in his barrio.
Countless other films followed. The actor broadened his expertise by venturing into directing. Now, he is seen in ABS-CBN's Maging Sino Ka Man Book 2, where his intensity in portraying his character leaves the viewers awestruck.
To welcome the New Year, Boyet hits the big screen with Banal, an action-drama movie about a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team that uncovers a conspiracy to assassinate the Pope. Calling it his dream role, Boyet plays Major Sagala, a SWAT trainer who grills the team that guards the Pope's life when he visits the Philippines.
In an interview with The Buzz yesterday, December 30, Boyet shared his experiences about his career and his latest movie. After all, this is his 122nd movie in his 30 years in showbiz.
The Buzz's Cristy Fermin commented on how young-looking Boyet is despite the fact that his eldest son, Ian de Leon, is already in his thirties.
"Nakikisabay ako dun sa anak ko!" Boyet quipped. "Lagi akong masaya and I try to lead a good life!"
Boy Abunda then asked about Boyet being called "the Christopher de Leon," who is still one of the most brilliant actors of this generation. What is his take on this?
"Siyempre naman, naaantig pa rin. Kagaya nga ng sinabi ko kay Ruffa [Gutierrez] kanina, e, I'm still in the game. It makes me go ahead."
Newcomers in the film industry often ask themselves if they'll ever reach Boyet's stature. How does Boyet react to this?
"Actually, ang totoo niyan, e, nai-inspire ako sa mga young ones ngayon—especially sina John Lloyd Cruz, Paolo Contis, Alfred Vargas..."
Does Boyet feel the pressure of comparison or emulation?
"Yeah, definitely!" he admitted. "Kasi papanoorin ka ng kabataan, e. You have to come up with a good performance."
Surprisingly, Boyet is actually embarrassed by some of the roles he portrayed in the past. He joked, "Nung napapanood ko nga yung replay o reruns, tumatago ako sa ilalim ng upuan!"
Amidst the laughter, Boyet added, "You know what I want to do? I want to buy all of those at huwag na ipalabas sa telebisyon!"
When the laughing died down, Ruffa asked, "With all that you've been through in life, how can you assess 2007?"
"2007 was a little hard for me," Boyet revealed. "A lot of things happened this year; the news about my sister [Lara Melissa de Leon's cancer], the ailment of my wife [Sandy Andolong], and you know, I lost at the election [for vice-governor in Batangas]. It feels good in actually going through this because I have a great faith in God. Keep hoping, huwag mawawalan ng pag-asa."