PAOLO Contis was only 4 years old when he started acting in ‘Ang TV’ and later did movies as the son of Christopher de Leon and Lani Mercado in “My Other Woman” in 1990. “Halos tatlong dekada na ako sa industriya,” he says. “At tuluy-tuloy ang acting ko, never akong nahinto. During my teen years, I was with ABS and was part of Star Circle Batch 3 launched in 1993. I did teen roles in shows like ‘Tabing Ilog’, ‘Mara Clara’, ‘Oki Doki Doc’ and ‘Kaybol’.”
He moved to GMA-7 in 2004 and played villain to Richard Gutierrez in “Sugo” then became a mainstay in “Bubble Gang”. Since then, he has done so many shows as a Kapuso, usually as contravida. We really thought during his “Tabing Ilog” days that he’d be a top leading man like his colleague in that show, John Lloyd Cruz. What happened?
“You know, never pumasok sa isip kong maging matinee idol. Kasi since 4 years old, puro trabaho lang ako nang trabaho and I’m willing to do kahit anong klaseng role. Ang hirap ng ganung buhay na ikaw ang nagdadala ng pelikula o show. Mas okay na sa’kin to do character roles na mas napaglalaruan ko.”
So how come he agreed to do a lead role now opposite Alexandra de Rossi in Viva’s “Through Night & Day”? “It came at the right time na mas open na ang viewers to accept supporting actors doing lead roles, like si Empoy Marquez, di ba? Si Carlo Aquino, matagal nag-support, but now, leading man na rin. Si Ian Veneracion, ang tagal nawala, pero nagbibida na uli. And when the script was given to me, nagustuhan ko. It helps na si Alex de Rossi ang leading lady kasi we’ve been friends for a long time. Masayahin siya, maalaga sa kaibigan, family-oriented. Nag-shoot kami ng movie namin sa Iceland for 12 days at para talaga siyang one of the boys.”
He also enjoyed working with Director Veronica Velasco. “Very meticulous sa camera work niya but she’s very open for us ni Alex to do adlibs in our lines. Bale siya 'yung preno namin. O, Paolo, masyadong marami na ang sinasabi mo, sobrang haba na. O kaya, masyadong bastos ang lines mo. One time, sabi niya, laging nakataas ang kilay mo, mukha kang kontrabida, e lead ka rito.”
In the story, he and Alex play childhood sweethearts who’ve been going steady for 13 years. Then they decide to have their prenup photos taken in Iceland and, with them being together “through night and day” for the first time in a foreign land, they uncover things about each other that makes them doubt if they’d still push through with their coming wedding. So now that he has played leading man, will he accept villain or supporting roles?
“Sa taping ng ‘Bubble Gang’, they’re asking me to wear pekpek shorts. Sabi ko, di na puwede, leading man na ako, e. May cut off na nga ako ngayon sa taping. Dati puwede ako hanggang 12 noon of the following day, ngayon up to 6 a.m. na lang,” and he laughs. “Wala akong ilusyong puro lead na lang ang gagawin ko. I’m a working actor so kahit anong trabaho, tatanggapin ko pa rin. Choosy ka pa ba?”
Aside from “Through Night & Day” that opens on November 14, Paolo has also finished a comedy, “Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap”, to be shown on November 28.
“This is a crazy comedy about holduppers na puro bobo, sina Pepe Herrera, Jerald Napoles and Jelson Bay. Sa neighborhood nila, ang mga nanghoholdap, puro group of 3’s. Eh dahil bobo sila, dinagdag nila ako as 'yung newbie holdaper. This is directed by Marius Talampas and when I saw our scenes sa dubbing, tawa ako nang tawa. Ito 'yung type ng panlalaking comedy, done in a millennial way.”