Born in Pittsburg, California, raised in the Bay Area of California, all Dante Basco had was his passion, a fiery desire to dance and perform for others that would carry him far.
I had the unique privilege to sit down with Dante and learn a bit more about this Lost Boy, Fire Bender, and Fire Lord, as well as dancer. He had a decent amount to say about his lengthy career that started out on the streets of San Francisco, where he danced like the average street performer.
He took his fire and his passion, and let it build up until the day he was discovered. Luckily, his breakout was the memorable role of Rufio from the movie Hook, and he still hopes to have a Rufio movie.
Then as the years went on, he played in movies with many roles ranging from a horny teenager in Take the Lead to a gay cheerleader in a different film. But the roles he is most famous for, aside from Rufio that is, would be Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jake Long from American Dragon: Jake Long.
With this popularity from these roles, Dante has gained a very large and loyal fandom. But to him it’s more than a fandom. It’s people he can relate to. Because no matter how loyal or fierce his fans are, he returns it in stride. He is more than accommodating to his fans. I watched, impressed as he was more than willingly to speak in his Zuko voice (which is practically his real voice) to a girl on her boyfriend’s phone. He met demands with hubris. G33k-HQ even caught him playing a nice oldie for his fans (with a guitar even).
And why does he do all of this? He does it because “…I am a popular guy…My fans brought me here.” So he likes to give back to his fans. So no question goes unanswered by him for his fans. He brings it for them since without them, he would not be where he is.
A guy like that deserves the things he has gotten. He never forgets his street performer days and respects that his fame or his “popularity,” in his words, was obtained through his fans.
And for those who would wonder, which does he prefer: Last Airbender or Legend of Korra?
Dante is Fire Nation all the way and he is a Last Airbender loyalist, although he has never seen the live action movie. He also enjoys being Jake Long sometimes and saying, “Aw man” in the voice. He gives high fives that receive standing ovations.
Overall, Dante is an amazing “popular person” who is everything a fan could want from a voice actor. His journey from street performing to a popular individual who is internationally known is practically a fairy tale.
That was only possible because of the fire he held in his heart. The drive to keep going and believe in himself. That is why Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation was Dante’s Inferno confirmed. Finally, this boy from Pittsburg, California made his venue. The passion that he held within himself finally got to be released in the form of Zuko, where he could finally be the person he always wanted to be: an entertainer who got to put a smile on his fan’s faces, one way or another. And I am glad he made it, G33k fans could do worse for a role model.