Article from The Philippine Star
Thanks to Nuel for this information!

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS Is Paolo here to stay?
FUNFARE by Ricardo F. Lo The Philippine Star 01/31/2003

A lot of showbiz-watchers have been wondering why Paolo Montalban is very visible on the scene these days. Has he turned his back on Broadway/Hollywood and decided to establish a career here? Partly, that is. You see, Paolo has just signed a contract with Vicor Music Corp. to do a self-titled album, his very first as a recording artist (even if he did record for the soundtrack of the telemovie Cinderella, shown on US television back in 1997). Paolo arrived last Jan. 19 and has so far recorded five songs, with the remaining five to be completed before he flies back to L.A., where he keeps a bachelor’s pad, on Feb. 6. He’ll come back this summer to promote the album which carries seven English songs (some of them "covers" or remakes) and three Tagalog ones (Ikaw, among them).

Asked why he accepted the Vicor offer from among those he has received from local companies, Paolo said, "Vicor gave me the artistic freedom to do the things I love. I had a hand in choosing the repertoire which I did when I was in the US. That made things faster and easier to do. When I arrived, we started the recording right away." And, of course, Vicor offered Paolo the right price (undisclosed). For somebody who grew up in the US, Paolo sings the Tagalog songs like a native (even if he speaks only a few Tagalog words). "In fact," smiled Paolo, "I find it easier to sing in Tagalog than in English; it’s very much like singing Italian songs."

It’s Paolo second homecoming in barely a year. In May last year, he came for a three-week visit in time for his aunt’s birthday and for the promo of the Star Cinema made-in-USA movie American Adobo (directed by Laurice Guillen) where Paolo was cast as a playboy. He proceeded to Brisbane, Australia, for the shooting of Miramax Films’ The Great Raid (topbilled by Benjamin Bratt) where he plays an Alamo scout. One of Raid’s stars is Cesar Montano who plays the pivotal role as guerilla leader Pajota. "I made a quick trip to New Jersey to visit my family before I rushed right back," said Paolo. "I enjoy working here. Filipinos are very talented; they’re professional. I love doing my album because all the songs are ballads. I’m comfortable doing ballads."

Best remembered for his role as Prince Charming in Cinderella, the telemovie produced by Whitney Houston featuring mostly Black actors (Brandy in the title role and Whoopi Goldberg as the Fairy Godmother, with Houston herself doing a cameo), Paolo enrolled at the Lincoln Square Academy, a school which specializes in the arts, in 1974 when the family migrated to New York. His parents, Paul Montalban and Vivian Santos, started working as chemists involved in cancer research and later shifted to computer-programming and computer-analysis and have been at it these past 18 years. "‘I almost followed in my parents’ footsteps and became a doctor," revealed Paolo. "I was taking up pre-Medicine in college but later shifted to a course in Psychology. I also attended acting classes and took up music lessons. Psychology is a big help to an actor like me; it helps you deal with all the crazy people in theater."

Paolo’s theater break was The Man from La Mancha which went on a national tour of the US. He was 19 then, too young to play the lead role, so he was relegated to a "supporting" role. After La Mancha, he did other plays which also went on tour all over the US. In 1996, he went to New York and passed an audition for The King and I where he stayed until 1997. And then came Cinderella. So how was it working with Brandy, Whoopi and Whitney? "Fantastic! I was star-struck for much of the 28-day shoot. I was completely slack-jawed meeting Whitney Houston in person. Whoopi Goldberg was such a wonderful person, too. How beautiful it was to look into those eyes so honest and so true!"

Because of his performance in Cinderella, Paolo was chosen to be among The 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine, along with Leonardo DiCaprio. Asked how it felt to be included in that Honor Roll, Paolo smiled, "Weird! My manager told me to call up one of the People editors but he didn’t tell me what for. The editor was the one who broke the news to me. For the shoot, we went to Malibu Canyon in L.A. They asked me to pose on top of a horse and that was it."

During his visit last year, Paolo was linked to such local actresses as Patricia Javier (with whom he guested in the defunct ABS-CBN sitcom Richard Loves Lucy; Patricia was cast as Paolo’s pregnant girlfriend) and Judy Ann Santos to whom, according to rumors, Paolo gave a bouquet of red roses. "Patricia is just a good friend," said Paolo, sounding like local actors and actresses. "Really, she’s just a friend." (Patricia has remained good friends with another foreigner, Marc Nelson, even long after they broke up.)

Is Paolo open to other movie offers from local companies? "It depends," he said. "If the script is good, the co-stars are good and the story is good, why not?" There’s just one thing he’ll never do, not just yet anyway – bare his butt. "In American Adobo, I was supposed to bare my butt in a shower scene but I asked my agent to have that scene deleted. By and by, I just might (bare my butt) but it has for a good reason and not just for the sake of baring it."