MANILA – When he was assigned his screen name, then-showbiz newcomer Rodel Nacianceno felt he wasn’t being taken seriously.
Coco Martin, as he is known now, recalled in an interview last year how he got the name, which has so far been credited in some 20 TV shows and 30 films since 2005.
The 33 year-old actor, who is dubbed local showbiz’s “King of Primetime,” said his screen name was suggested by talent manager Ed Instrella, who handles the careers of film veterans Jaclyn Jose and Cherry Pie Picache, among others.
“Nung nagsisimula kasi ako, siyempre, marami sa’yong tumutulong,” Martin said. “Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Alam mo, may bagay na pangalan sa’yo — Coco Martin.’ Sabi ko, ‘Coco Martin? Parang hindi seryoso. Parang pinag-trip-an lang.’ Honestly, iyon ang nasa isip ko no’n!”
Martin recalled his amusement with Instrella’s reason for picking “Coco Martin.” The talent manager, Martin recalled, simply put together names of international singers who were popular at the time.
“Sabi ko, ‘Bakit Coco Martin?’ Sabi daw, that time kasikatan ni Ricky Martin atsaka ni Coco Lee. Sabi ko, ‘Parang pinag-trip-an lang ako!'” he said.
Despite some hesitation, Martin agreed to take on the name. “Siyempre, nagsisimula ka, binigyan ka ng screen name tapos talagang respetado ‘yung tao. ‘Sige, puwede na ‘yan,'” he said.
Nacianceno, as Coco Martin, eventually earned the title “Prince of Philippine Independent Films” after a string of award-winning portrayals in adult-themed indie films, including Brillante Mendoza’s “Masahista” — his first lead role.
Over 15 years since he joined showbiz, Martin’s involvement in a number of his projects now goes beyond acting. In the hit primetime series “Juan dela Cruz,” for instance, he was credited as creative consultant Rodel Nacianceno, on top of portraying the title role.