In his early years, Dante Basco was part of the Streat Freaks [sic] breakdancing crew. When he got into acting, he started taking on minor roles in television. He later appeared in a substantial role in Steven Spielberg's 1991 film Hook with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman as Rufio, the charismatic red-stripe-haired leader of the Lost Boys. The punk band Rufio is named after this character.
Basco has had guest roles on television shows The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and a recurring role on Moesha. He played a gay teenager in the 1999 film But I'm A Cheerleader and starred in the independent film The Debut, in which he portrayed a Filipino-American alongside his three brothers and sister; he appeared with his brothers again in 2003 in the sitcom Naked Brown Men. He appeared as Ramos in the 2006 film Take the Lead alongside Antonio Banderas, where he break-danced as well as performed ballroom dancing. Basco has performed in commercials as well, hip-hop dancing in a Verizon Wireless commercial and rapping and break-dancing in a Sprite commercial. He also produced and co-starred in a music video parody of the song "Rehab", called "Wiihab". Basco has portrayed characters of many different Asian ethnicities.
2012: Won a Special Jury Prize for Hang Loose (Best Actor)
2012: Won a Special Jury Prize for Paradise Broken (Best Actor)
1993: Won a Young Artist Award for Hook (Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture)
Zuko and Jake Long from American Dragon: Jake Long both have the ability to breathe fire. The characters also had adversarial-turned-friendly relations with a character on their respective shows voiced by Mae Whitman, those characters being Katara and Rose/Huntsgirl, respectively. Basco voiced the villain turned friend on Avatar, while Whitman voiced the villain turned friend on American Dragon.
Dante Basco had already worked with Mako Iwamatsu, Iroh's original voice actor, prior to Avatar: The Last Airbender in the 1997 film Riot, in which the two played father and son.