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.
He had guest roles on television shows The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and had a recurring role on Moesha. He has portrayed characters of different Asian ethnicities. He did however, star in the independent film The Debut, in which he portrayed a Filipino-American alongside his three brothers and sister. He and all of his brothers starred in Naked Brown Men, a sitcom stylized show. He starred as Ramos in the 2006 film Take the Lead alongside Antonio Banderas, where he break-danced as well as performed ballroom dance. This was not the only film in which he was required to dance. In many films he hip-hop dances, just as he did in a Verizon Wireless commercial as well as rapping and breaking in a Sprite commercial. He also produced and co-starred in a music video parody of the song "Rehab" that is called "Wiihab". He is occasionally "whacked" in the video. He played a gay teenager in the 1999 film But I'm A Cheerleader.
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 prior to Avatar: The Last Airbender with Mako Iwamatsu, Iroh's original voice actor, in the film Riot (1997), in which the two played father and son.