Dingdong Dantes: The man behind the hood


EVEN when he’s wearing a plain T-shirt and jeans, actor Dingdong Dantes drew stares when he walked into the room— proof that there’s something about the man that’s hard to ignore.

As one of the nation’s biggest heartthrobs with a career filled with big screen projects, primetime TV series and numerous endorsements, Dingdong has earned his spot in the industry and is now taking a more calculated approach in his career.

Today, he exudes a tough guy image to match his role as the hooded crime-fighter in GMA’s top-rating primetime series “Alyas Robin Hood.” Here he plays
a man who helps others find justice as he also seeks his own.

Before its airing, the teleserye caused quite a stir when many viewers—in a reaction to its teaser trailer—commented that it’s a copy of the hit American action crime television series “Arrow.” In fact, no less than its lead actor Stephen Amell shared the video with a shocked emoji and then later told a fan in a Facebook Q&A session: “Boy, oh boy, does it look familiar.”

GMA executives have since explained that “Alyas Robin Hood” is not patterned from “Arrow,” citing differences in plot and its characters.

Dingdong echoed the sentiment, and discussed more about his new show when he and costar Andrea Torres visited Cebu recently for a mall show to thank their
Cebuano supporters. The actor also talked about some of the changes in his life especially now that he’s a father, and how this new role in his personal life has made him do things differently, stunts and fight scenes included.

“Dati pag may bridge, tatalunin ko yan. Ngayon, pwede bang iba na lang?” he said, laughing.

What was on your mind when you decided to take on this project?
We wanted to mirror what’s happening now and be the voice of people who can’t do anything to solve the ills of society. Sometimes we need someone to figure
it out for us, just as we want to point out that there’s a Robin Hood
in each and every one of us, to tap the hero in all
of us.

Netizens were quick to point out the similarity of your costume with that of the “Arrow” character?

I don’t think there’s a monopoly of using a hood as a costume. It’s like wearing a tuxedo. Does that mean it’s already identified with James Bond? Something like that. It’s something that’s universal. With all pure intentions, the character is derived from the alamat that we all know of.


So, you didn’t alter anything to address the criticism?
Wala. That’s why we’re very confident. Para sa amin, ang kwento talaga namin ay original at hango sa isang alamat na napakaluma that we all know and are aware of. During that time, we were confident enough to let the product speak
for itself.

How long will the series run?

It depends on the story kasi di mo alam kung hanggang saan mo siya pwede i-stretch. Although ang “Alyas Robin Hood,” klaro na sa writers kung ano ‘yung heart ng storya, kung saan siya patungo so we are pegged at 16 weeks for now.

Are you open for an extension?
The ratings are high but it depends… baka ‘yung ibang artista may kailangan ng ibang gawin. But ‘yung mga boss namin lang ang makakapagsabi kung ano gusto nila.

How does “Alyas Robin Hood” tackle issues like poverty and injustice?
The story of “Alyas Robin Hood” is what we always say as “napapanahon.” It tackles so many things which mirrors society in general. Because of social media, we are all aware of what’s happening around the country and in our neighborhood.

We are more in touch and more involved. This program will serve as platform to showcase kung ano ba talaga ang mga nangyayari to those who are not reached by social media. Poverty has always been mentioned in shows but in here, we tackle it differently. It talks about how injustice works, why nagkakaroon ng pagmamalabis and abuse of power, bakit may extrajudicial killings and how do law enforcement agencies deal with it from the barangay to the police level. That’s the good thing about it— makaka-relate ka sa bawat character. It is not just about being rich or poor–it is how the two coexist. At siguro sa bawat problema ng Pilipino, we always find someone we can depend on and that’s where the character of “Alyas Robin Hood” comes in because he helps… although he does not really solve the problem. He becomes a catalyst para matulungan ka.

From all the scenes you have taped, what’s your favorite?

Action scenes. Backstory lang. What you see in a minute or 30 seconds of action? It takes hours para gawin namin ‘yun. What the director always says is that, “Let’s say we shoot it for hours tapos lumabas lang 30 seconds pero ‘yung tatatak siya.” We always strive to give a different approach in each action scene like kung may barilan, we make it to a point to add an element of comedy at ‘yung pagka hyper-real like pati ‘yung baso sinasalo ng paa, matagal na ring di nagagawa sa television.


And what’s that action scene that was most rewarding to you?

The opening, syempre. It was in an evacuation center. Ang hirap i-mount nun, and it took weeks to shoot that scene which lasted for one whole gap nung pilot episode namin. Imagine all the factors we have to consider, the police, the military, the mayor at may action scene na nangyari sa truck. It was very memorable.

Yung sinalo mo yung baso, ikaw talaga yun? Oo, at syempre, the tricks of the trade. (laughs)

Who is your fight choreographer?

It’s Ralph Roxas. Siya yung kasama namin way before sa “Mulawin” at nakasama din namin sa ”Encantadia. “

How has fatherhood changed you in terms of doing stunts? Are you less of a daredevil now?

Dati pag may bridge, tatalunin ko yan. Ngayon, pwede bang iba na lang? (Laughs) … although safety first naman parati especially sa production team.

You are working with veteran actors like Jaclyn Jose and Christopher de Leon. Is there a time that you get starstruck?

Yes, lalo na ‘yung unang episodes na kakapanalo lang ni Miss Jaclyn ng best actress award sa Cannes. Syempre nagpapa-motivate ako. Pero iba talaga pag matagal mo silang nakakasama, parang natitigilan ka at starstruck lalo na kay Christopher de Leon, and it’s just sad that his character died right away.

There’s a Cebuano, Dave Bornea, in the cast. What can you say about him?

Siya yung sumasalamin sa millennials kasi sila ‘yung pinaka active sa atin and they take it on in the Internet. So ano ba ‘yung powers nila? Di man sila pwede lumaban sa kalye, lumalaban sila online.

Your character started as someone who’s often involved in fist fights. Were you ever in the same situations, perhaps when you were younger?

Lahat naman siguro ng mga bata napagdaanan yan. Syempre we need to go through things like that and then matututo tayo at ma-a- appreciate na mas magandang lumaki in peace. Pero sabihin nalang natin na Leo ako. Kaya medyo pasensyoso kasi ako.

What can we expect more from “Alyas Robin Hood?”

“Alyas Robin Hood” is searching for justice and along the way he will be able to solve cases. Wala naman sa kanyang agenda na tumulong pero in the process of seeking justice for himself and what has happened to his father, along the way marami siyang makikitang mali sa paligid niya. Di naman siya vigilante. In fact, he respects the rule of law. He doesn’t take the law into his own hands. Siguro pwede niya bigyan ng tip or link ang proper authorities, pero yung gawin niya para sa sarili… hindi. Siguro ang dapat abangan is if and when he will break his righteousness. Syempre pag nakita na niya yung taong gumawa sa kanya nun, sabihin ba niya na “Uy, hulihin nyo na!” Una, matagal niyang hinanap yun at syempre tao lang siya. It’s possible that he’ll forget yung pagka civilized citizen vigilante niya. He might take the law into his own hands… which will be the downfall of the character.

Any upcoming projects?

I have a movie called “The Unmarried Wife.” Sa TV. Ito na muna kasi kailangan din ang time for the family.

TAGS: actor, Alyas Robin Hood, Andrea Torres, arrow, Bridge, career, Cebu, Dingdong Dantes, GMA, heartthrob, netizen, primetime, role, series, teleserye, TV
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