• Full name: Mario Manfred Maurer
• Nickname: Mario
• Birthday: Dec. 4, 1988
• Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
• Height: 5’8”
• Weight: 143 lbs.
• Name of father: Roland Manfred Maurer
• Name of mother: Vanranya Maurer
• Sibling: Marco
• Color of eyes: Brown
• Color of hair: Black
• School: Graduated from St. Dominic School and is now taking up Law in college
• Religion: Roman Catholic
• Favorite color: Black
• Favorite perfume: Chanel Homme
• Favorite singer: Chris Brown
• Favorite actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
• Favorite movie: Forrest Gump
• Hobby: Taking care of classic cars
• Favorite food: Thai food
BANGKOK, Thailand — As I’ve been saying, I had very little idea who Mario Maurer was until I was face to face with him at a restaurant at the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in this city. Watch full video
It was Joyce Ramirez, head of her own PR Asia, Inc., who brought me here purposely to do an exclusive one-on-one with the Thai actor who looked to me like the “late” Rustom Padilla…no, Enchong Dee…no, a young Richard Gere…no, a bit like Robin Padilla…no, somewhat like now California-based Carlo Muñoz. Actually, Mario looked like all of them.
Joyce has just closed a deal with Mario as the new endorser of Penshoppe, right after Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick who was here a few weeks ago to shoot as Penshoppe image-model (see those huge billboards all over the metropolis!). In our company were Penshoppe’s brand director Alex Mendoza and make-up artist Jake Galvez who dabbed Mario’s face slightly with powder before some souvenir shots during the contract-signing.
“We’re still very excited about our ongoing project with Ed Westwick but we also wanted to take the buzz a notch higher,” Alex told Conversations. “Ed Westwick helped us reach new markets with his international appeal. With Mario Maurer, we want to cement our hold on the young market nationwide and establish a presence in the ASEAN region.”
Perfect choice. With Love of Siam, his movie debut more than four years ago, Mario easily won the hearts of fans across Asia including the Philippines where that movie won for Mario Best Actor in the 2008 Cinemanila Film Festival (headed by Tikoy Aguiluz). The gay community loves him dearly, understandably so. In Love of Siam, Mario plays a high school boy in love with his childhood buddy and schoolmate. The movie has a near-cult following, reaping good reviews the way movies of similar theme, Ang Lee’sBrokeback Mountain and Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education, did.
When Mario’s succeeding movie, A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, was aired on ABS-CBN on non-primetime Sunday morning, it got a surprisingly high rating — “It got double-digit,” said the network’s PR man Kane Choa, “and became a trending topic on Twitter.”
So I got curious about meeting Mario who turned out to be wholesome, friendly, engaging, charming, somewhat reserved and so respectful that when he didn’t understand a question he would say, “One more time, please!”
He said that he came to Four Seasons that early Thursday afternoon on a motorcycle, with his manager/handler, and that he woke up late because of an extended shoot the night before.
After the hour-long interview, I felt as if I’d known Mario Maurer all along, for a long time, because he left such a good impression on people.
You speak very good English. Did you study English in school?
“Mostly, I speak with my dad.”
Are you pure Thai?
“Hmmmmm, I’m part-German, part-Chinese, part-Thai.”
How many percent of you is German, how many percent is Chinese and how many percent is Thai?
“Most of my life is Thai. I was born in Thailand and I grew up in Thailand. I haven’t been to Germany even if my dad is from there.”
What kind of upbringing did you have?
“I have one brother, Marco, who’s older than me. We were brought up the Thai way. I haven’t been anywhere outside of Asia.”
Your movie, Love of Siam, is very popular in the Philippines. You won Best Actor for your performance in it in the 2008 Cinemanila Film Festival. You have a lot of fans in the Philippines and most of them are gay. How do you feel about it?
“It’s okay for me. My first movie (Siam) is kind of have a story about gays…man loves man. For me, it’s okay because I grow up with these people. I work here in the Thai movie industry and most of the people in it are gay. I respect them; I don’t have a bad attitude towards them.”
How do you connect with your fans?
“If I have time I try to talk to them through my Blackberry.”
Why didn’t you go to Manila to receive your award?
“I really don’t know that I got some award.”
Have you seen your trophy?
“No, I haven’t. I want to see it.”
Do you want to go to the Philippines?
“Yes. I’m kind of excited to go there.” (Note: He just mightlater this year to have a pictorial for Penshoppe.)
Star Cinema is “exploring” the possibility of getting you for a movie (and this early, being eyed as his leading lady is Erich Gonzales).
“If I have an opportunity, I would love to.”
Do you know anybody from the Philippines?
“Only my best friend. He’s a Filipino. He stays here in Bangkok. I met some of his father’s friends. They are all Filipino.”
How did you meet him?
“We studied in the same school since first grade.”
You are carrying something…Is that a fish-shaped keychain?
“No, it’s a small wallet.”
Oh, where did you buy it?
“I stole it from my Filipino friend!” (Laughs)
How do you feel being an endorser of Penshoppe?
“I’m very happy to be an ambassador for Penshoppe.”
I’m sure the girls will be all over you when you go to the Philippines.
Do you have a girlfriend?
“Yes, I have.”
Doesn’t she get jealous when other girls are around you?
“No, she is not jealous at all. She is happy with me, she’s happy for me and for my career. She understands that it’s my work. She’s happy that people love me and like my movies.”
What qualities do you like in a girl?
“Nice legs. I like a girl who dresses up good, kind of fashionable who changes clothes every day.”
And what don’t you like in a girl?
“Girls who sometimes you don’t understand.”
What do you find sexy in a girl?
“Yes, when a girl is wearing swimsuit.”
Do you consider yourself sexy?
“Because I’m a very funny-looking boy. I always cut my hair short. My brother and I like to look hip-hop so we never let our hair grow too long. We cut it all the time.”
Have you always wanted to be an actor?
“Aha. I did my first movie because it gave me an opportunity to have money. Not for acting but for money. Hehehehe! I was only 18 when I did Love of Siam four and a half years ago.”
I read somewhere that you’re taking up Law. So you want to be a lawyer?
“No. I just want to know about it but I don’t want to be a lawyer.”
And how many movies have you done since then?
“I’ve made more than 10 movies.”
How did you get into showbiz?
“I started by doing commercials. And then they called me for casting (in Siam).”
What did they ask you to do during the audition?
“They just asked me questions about what I did in my daily life. I told them that I skateboarded most of the time. The director said that he saw something in my eyes.”
Yeah. Your eyes are very expressive.
How do you handle success? Are you comfortable with it?
“At first, I was not comfortable because I’m just a regular boy. And then I kind of became famous and people got to know me. When I go out with my friends, I have no more personal time because people ask me to have picture with me. Now I am used to it. People are happy to see me and I’m happy that I make them happy.”
How has success changed your life?
“The big change is that I have so little time now. I have little time to play. If I have to hang out with my friends, I have to go home at once to study my role. Something like that.”
How are you at home? Do you act like a star?
“No. I never think like that. I’m still a regular boy.”
How do you relax or enjoy yourself?
“If I have free time, I go to the gym to exercise. I like to work with old cars.”
“No. Real cars. Classic cars.”
How many cars do you drive?
“I have two vintage cars.”
Describe yourself in three words.
“Fun. Funny. Clumsy.”
Anything you want to say to your fans in the Philippines?
“For my fans in the Philippines, I can’t wait to see you. See you soon!”
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