Keempee talks about gay roles

As a ‘veteran’ in playing gay roles, Keempee de Leon is impressed by Christian Bables in “Mahal Kita Beksman” where they portray a gay father-son tandem.

This episode of Kapamilya Chat commenced with a preview of the light comedy movie that tells the story of Dali (Christian), the only son of flamboyant ‘parlorista’ Jaime and boutique owner Gemma, played by Keempee and Katya Santos respectively, and his journey after discovering that he is a straight guy contrary to what his family and friends assumed.

The trailer shows Keempee wearing outfits as colorful as Jaime’s personality, a stark contrast to his identity in real life. In creating a believable portrayal of an LGBT character, he does his research, discusses things with the directors, and sometimes looks for pegs like the Hollywood comedy flick “The Birdcage” for this particular project.

Keempee seems at home playing gay roles, and although he has done it several times before, he makes sure to offer something fresh and exciting to his audience. While he sticks with his old-school acting techniques, it actually got more effective when combined with Christian’s modern takes.

Apart from their individual thespic styles creating a smooth harmony, their rapport as co-actors added to their chemistry on screen. According to Keempee, he easily gelled with his co-stars Christian, Katya, and Iana Bernardez even if it was his first time working with them. He asked who the other cast members are prior to taping and he was told about Christian’s repertoire and previous recognitions, which made him look forward to meeting him. And just on their first script reading, skipping the usual group workshops, the cast already showed great camaraderie.

Even as an experienced actor, Keempee still values open discussions with his directors and co-stars. He believes a great scene starts with the directors’ instructions, then rehearsals. It also helped that Christian is collaborative and focused, and at the same time, amiable.

“Madaling katrabaho si Christian, very professional ‘yung batang ‘yun. Talagang kahit inaayusan siya, nakikipagkwentuhan siya pero ‘yung utak niya nando’n sa linya,” he shared of his younger co-actor.

In keeping with the movie’s theme, Keempee shared his opinion about breaking stereotypes, saying we should stop judging other people’s choices such as in clothing, taking as example male Korean pop idols loved for their unique fashion styles.

He doesn’t follow trends but instead dresses according to comfort and personal taste. There was a time he wore an apple green suit in a formal showbiz gathering. It was unusual but he thought it was interesting, inspired by Aga Muhlach, the matinee idol of their generation to experiment with colors. Keempee pressed that breaking stereotypes boils down to respect and being confident in your own skin.

“Mahal Kita Beksman” premieres this coming November 16.