Even now, Rosales is still identified with characters that he played in those teleseryes that first aired over two decades ago. And people constantly ask him when they'll see him in his next drama series. But, tragic news for those waiting for him to pop up on primetime TV: it's not going to happen anytime soon.
"It breaks my heart because I'm really looking to do something else," he says.
It's not because he's done with teleseryes, or he's dissing them as a lesser art form unworthy of someone of his stature. On the contrary, Rosales is grateful for his time doing the soaps, and aware of the impact he has had on people who grew up watching him.
"When I travel, or when I perform abroad, people come up to me and they say, 'Look, I really like your show, because it gave me hope.' Or they'll say they really liked my character because they'll see the challenge that he went through and it's the same challenge they're going through. So it's like magic because…the writer created this and I'm playing the character. Things were born. Collaboration happened. Whatever the character was going through, it was real for someone else out there.
"That was so rewarding," he says.
But then he started to feel something else—the longing to create something for himself, to fulfill some of his own dreams rather than someone else's, and to unleash something within him that's been raring to come out for years. It manifested on when he insisted on squeezing in time to attend a cinematography class with acclaimed lensman Neil Daza in between putting in those backbreaking hours shooting his scenes for the teleseryes. It exhibited itself yet again when he flew to New York recently to attend acting workshops with a teacher who also helped him get reacquainted with the artist within himself, buried under years of indifference and neglect.
And it's manifesting, yet again, now that he's actually in the process of writing his own film, with plans to produce it with his wife.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
"It's called Eliseo," he says. "It's action-suspense slash horror-thriller. Half of it is written by Kim and I'm finishing the other half. I'm having a hard time because I'm not really a writer. But I'm doing it my way. I'm going to the locations and writing there. Writing as I fly."
Rosales says he's directing it himself, inspired by someone who told him that no one else will be able to do justice to something that springs forth from your own mind and heart.
"It's not going to be easy, but it's fun," he says. "The goal now is really to just push forward with the stories I want to tell, and push forward with the characters I want to play. Produce my own films. And work with the best here and abroad to produce my own stuff."
La La Land
"Working with the best" means finding kindred souls on the same wavelength and exploring opportunities beyond what's readily available here at home. For the Rosales couple, that means flying to the U.S. to be closer to where the action is. The New York trip to attend acting workshops was only just the beginning. Rosales says he initially went there to support his wife, who was attending shows for Fashion Week. They invested in property there, and, for a time, enjoyed living as typical New Yorkers: buying groceries, taking the subway, doing typical New York stuff.
But on a recent trip to the West Coast, Rosales realized Los Angeles is where they should be.
"We're spending the same amount of money in Manila as in L.A.," he says. "Sometimes we're even getting better things, like in terms of transportation, food, organic stuff. And ultimately, where's the hub for arts? For TV and film? Obviously in LA. It may have started in New York. Kim was doing a lot of Fashion Week stuff there and all the meetings happen there, and we just feel so alive there. We really love New York.
"But now we're like, wait, hold on. I think we have to be in L.A. because the agents are there, the studios are there. The creatives are there. So bagay, especially for Kim."