Big, Bad Baron: Going Behind the Scenes With the Former Matinée Idol

Big, Bad Baron: Going Behind the Scenes With the Former Matinée Idol


In line with Baron’s current thrust to the limelight because of his latest Netflix film, Doll House, we look back on the journey he shared during his MEGA Man cover shoot in 2016

Baron Geisler’s wild-child-turned-bad-boy rep precedes him: his drinking problem, the brawls he’s been involved in, the highly publicized legal battles, that heavily hyped two-round MMA fight that resulted in a draw, and so much more. But rarely do people talk about his body of work, which, if you’ve seen any, then you’d know he’s quite an actor. We’ve all heard, if not been witness to Baron Geisler’s bad behavior, but not enough of the good. Chalk it up to one-sided journalism or a bad angle, but our one-time encounter proves that nobody really knows Baron until you come face to face with the actor himself.

Blazer and Button-down by MAIN STREET

An unexpected craft

A young Baron Geisler never dreamed of being an actor. “It was a leap of faith,” he says, and credits his appreciation for the craft from the movies he watched growing up—one of which was A Clockwork Orange. “My uncles made me watch it. I think I was about five years old,” he says, laughing. To the uninitiated, this ‘70s movie is a cold, dystopian nightmare that is art and ultra-violence at its finest—clearly themed far away from more kid-friendly films like E.T. or Back to the Future.

Baron eventually pursued acting and rose to fame, beginning in the early ‘90s. He starred in the very popular youth-oriented variety show Ang TV, and later in cult classic teen dramas like Gimik and Tabing Ilog. With obvious talent and Filipino-Western good looks, it goes without saying that Baron was among the few matinée idols of the Y generation.

Blazer and Trousers by CALVIN KLEIN PLATINUM, and Button-down by HACKET LONDON

The inconsistencies of life

But life happened, and it changed the actor in ways we can’t even imagine. “You know, after the Pinatubo [eruption] and the sunog—twice na kami nasunugannawalan na ‘ko ng gana sa materyal na bagay,” he says with an insouciant shrug. Following this series of unfortunate events was the death of his father in 2002, which led to another outlet in the form of painting. “My brother Donnie gave me a book on painting, how to use pastel. Self-taught lang yung gawa ko. Doon na lang ako nag-concentrate,” he intimates.

“I did so many bad things.”

Baron admits that the highs and lows of his career were due to him. “Being a jackass, to tell you the truth.” He continues, “Heartbreaks, pain, my dad passing away, ilang breakups na, the girl that got away—I just sort of gave up on life. I stopped taking care of myself. Tumaas ‘yung depression, ‘yung [pagka-]bipolar. I did so many bad things.” The actor takes a moment and puffs on his cigarette. “Then I realized, hey, I’m not a matinée idol anymore. Hindi na bagay sa akin [magkaroon ng] love team, so I started studying independent movies, international films, and I fell in love with [them]. I fell in love with the rawness, the sincerity of how the [films were] made.”

The rebirth

This was the second coming of Baron Geisler as he began working on several independent films. “Pinili ko ‘yung may substance talaga, and I was lucky enough to have worked with the late Francis Xavier Pasion at iba’t-iba pang talented na directors.” Baron took the lead in Jay, an indie film about a filmmaker who makes a documentary on the life of a murdered teacher, and unwittingly solves the crime along the way. “I was also the associate producer,” he says of his involvement throughout the entire process. Jay unanimously won Best Film at the 2008 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival competition, and was the first feature film to be shown at the 2008 Venice International Film Festival’s Orrizonti sidebar.

Blazer and Button-down by UBERTO DARANTI, Trousers by SAVILE ROW, and Belt by PEDRO

Two years later, Baron starred alongside Meryll Soriano in Donor, which was directed by Mark Meilly, and follows the story of a woman who makes ends meet by turning to the dark world of organ donation. Both won Best Actor and Best Actress awards locally, while the film garnered the grand prize at the 2010 Brussels International Independent Film Festival. The actor recalls the first time he spoke to the esteemed director whom he holds in high regard.

“Funny story—I had a massive hangover, and he calls and says, ‘Baron, let’s do a movie. This role is for you. Mananalo kang best actor.’” Still unaware that he was talking to Mark Meilly himself, Baron thanked him several times only to call him again to ask if he was serious, and if he was really talking to the respected filmmaker. “Tawa siya nang tawa,” says Baron, smiling.

Among other films the actor enjoyed making is El Presidente, wherein he played the role of an impetuous Spanish lieutenant, and had to learn Spanish to portray the role effectively. Then came the critically and internationally acclaimed Ma’Rosa, in which Baron plays a corrupt cop. “Now these are the things I’m proud of.”

Blazer by CALVIN KLEIN PLATINUM, and Button-down by MAIN STREET

Life’s punches

Breaking news—Baron Geisler got into a bar fight with fellow actor Kiko Matos that turned into a media frenzy when the pair decided to settle their differences in the cage. “I was scared shitless, to be honest, [and] I got a little beaten up, but sabi nga ni Mr. James Deakin, ‘It only takes guts and balls.’” Baron only had five days to train, and prior to that, he admittedly says that he was bingeing on alcohol for months, and smoking two packs a day. Now, “I’m down to one,” he says proudly. This begs the question: Is Baron Geisler really serious about changing his ways? Despite the string of controversies he’s been embroiled in, it seems that change is a top priority. “We have a program now. The group is called “Freestyle Mixed Martial Arts” in Pampanga. They inspire me, so if I mess up, I’ll let a lot of people down,” he shares.

I’m not perfect, but somehow, nababawasan na ‘yung struggle ko.

To keep him in check, Baron has surrounded himself with the right people—a support group—whom he says will personally kick his derrière if he slipped back into his old ways. His rekindled enthusiasm for martial arts and physical sports has helped greatly, too. “We have to put things in perspective. Maybe one day, I’ll have my own fighters fight in the cage.” That, and with the help of Deakin, found another way to get aggression out of his system, and on the road.

Blazer and Trousers by HACKETT LONDON, Button-down by SAVILE ROW, and Brogues by PEDRO

A proud son

Now, this is the ‘90s matinée idol many of us have come to admire. Baron continues to peel back layers of grit and badassery, and eventually opens up about family and the gratitude he feels right at that moment. “Last week lang nabugbog ako, right? Pero mukhang walang nangyari,” he says. “My father, he [was] a warrior as well. He fought during the Korean war, nasa seventh infantry division siya. He was bombed. He’s a hero—he’s my hero,” he declares, beaming with pride. The praises he sang were not only for his dad, but also for his mom. “She’s a tough woman,” he says. “I think doon galing ‘yung tapang, at sa Geisler blood.”

“My father, he [was] a warrior as well. He’s a hero—he’s my hero.”

In an age where everybody plays god in the digital realm, and netizens are given a virtual gavel and judge as they please, it’s easy to subscribe to hate and prejudice. While some of us may think that Baron Geisler deserves half the punches, literally and figuratively, thrown at him, we can’t deny that he’s an extremely talented actor, a proud son to brave parents, and a human being recalibrating life through his tawny-tinted glasses, which by the way are not “pa-porma.” They’re prescribed.

Big, Bad Baron featuring cover star Baron Geisler originally appeared in MEGA Man’s August 2016 issue that’s available in ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader, and Zinio.

Creative Direction SUKI SALVADOR
Art Direction JANN PASCUA

Additional Text PEACHES GARCIA
Shoot Coordination GENALLI FRANCISCO
Shoot Assistant JAY ANNE AGUIRRE

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