Diether Ocampo is back, and astoundingly nothing much has changed.
Still princely, dapper, and outspoken, particularly on matters that interest him, Diether looks just a day after he started in the industry as a ravishing teen actor in the early 1990s.
And, with his comeback via the iWant Original “Sunday Night Fever,” Diether is just as ecstatic as we all are.
“It’s very energizing,” Diether tells Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com in an exclusive interview.
“Every time we finish a film, there’s something you always look forward na makilala ang mga bago mong kasama. I’m very, very glad and very, very thankful dahil not everyone is given an opportunity like this. We have to constantly learn new things, constantly evolve, and learn how this whole new production team is working,” he said.
In his near three-decade acting career, Diether mentions one name who really inspired him in perfecting his craft—the Diamond Star Maricel Soriano, who topbilled his breakthrough dramatic flick “Soltera” he starred in 1999 also with Claudine Barretto.
“More than anything, I would say malaki ang na-impart (ni Maricel) sa akin. I was a newbie. I was a neophyte sa larangan ng pag-arte. That time, nagtiyaga din siya eh. Kailangan bigyan ng credit. For me, it’s about time na it will be known,” he revealed.
As for current artists he sees his hunky self both as an actor and matinee idol, Diether named two- Jake Cuenca and Gerald Anderson, who he said he sees himself in their rise in the limelight.
But two stars, he said would shine brighter as years go by—his Bagani co-stars Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, currently headlining Make It With You.
Diether played the guardian deity Apo, son of Bathala, who looked after Sansinukob in the 2018 fantasy action drama series.
“I admire Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Their tandem, I felt this will be an institution. Sila ang merong genuine concern sa industriya. Sana dumami pa ang katulad nila. I’m sure there will come a time na sila naman ‘yung nagme-mentor,” Diether stressed.
Diether’s last film was a good eight years back in the ensemble movie “24/7 in Love” in 2012. In his “Sunday Night Fever,” Diether plays Mikey, a single and unattached chef who gets embroiled into a dangerous love affair.
WATCH: Diether Ocampo and Nathalie Hart on Kapamilya Confessions
He stars opposite the alluring Nathalie Hart, with whom his illicit obsession with her character Kim leads to dire and deadly consequences. And, because of this first-ever onscreen sensual role with such a captivating partner, Diether remarked how he felt deciding to return after all these years.
“Eto lang sulit na,” he uttered.
Indeed, his hiatus was long, but Diether enthused it was all worth it—enjoying life at its very element, getting to know more of himself and what he can do.
Mesmerized by pilots taking flight even during the height of his stardom, Diether would focus on learning to become a pilot himself, eventually flying an aircraft from San Diego to LA and back in the US West Coast on his own. In his break from showbiz, Diether would also immerse himself in the maritime industry, undergoing and completing a nine-month training program that made him a seafarer.
He would also try to become a filmmaker and producer himself, spearheading a still unfinished project that he said couldn’t get off because of its “controversial” topic.
But as he did some pilot refresher course after a stay in the US, Diether would get an offer that was so hard to resist. No, it was not an offer for a movie or a teleserye. This became a role he would become engrossingly passionate—enlisting for the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, a volunteer organization assisting the Coast Guard in its tactical efforts and promotions.
Now a lieutenant commander in the organization, Diether is actively participating in its promotional activities and campaigns in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Asked why he made the shift from actor to an auxiliary Coast Guard officer, Diether was emphatic.
“Tinatanong ko ang sarili ko bakit ngayon ko lang ginawa? Dapat mas marami pa akong nagawa dapat dati pa. It’s part of our social responsibility bilang isang Filipino na maging aware sa ating sariling bansa. Part din ito para maging very much involved,” Diether stressed.
He said was his own way to do his part for the country and a “personal decision” and not really encouraging other artists like him to follow his lead.
“If you want a positive change in our country, kailangan mag-participate so being a Coast Guard, dito ko napatunayan na kahit individual ka, malaki ang maiko-contribute mo. So that’s why it’s a personal decision,” he emphasized.
Diether said deciding to return in showbiz rooted on his longing for the “Kapamilya spirit.”
“There’s this different feeling when I got back into this building again,” Diether related. “’Yung Kapamilya naabutan ko is the same Kapamilya kasi dito kami lumaki. Dito kami natuto paano kumanta, paano magsalita, paano makihalubilo sa iba’t ibang tao, paano humarap sa mga tao. The same kind of Kapamilya as a united family dito ko naramdaman ‘yun.”
While he kept mum about future projects, he did reveal meeting with top network officials and “new faces from the production and familiar faces,” which means more possible on-air appearances in the future, after his 2018 appearance in Bagani.
Indeed we can’t wait to see more of Diether onscreen. For now, we can further feast on his grand film comeback in “Sunday Night Fever,” now streaming on iWant. Download the iWant app on Google Play or App Store, or visit iwant.ph