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Monday, November 27, 2006

Richard Gutierrez lightens up

How times have changed! When Regal Films shot its Metro Manila Filmfest entry Mano Po 2 years back, Richard Gutierrez’s was a so-so role – that of Lorna Tolentino’s son. The role was so forgettable people hardly noticed the then nondescript future Captain Barbell.

But now, three years later, the tables have turned. Mother Lily is producing Mano Po 5: Gua Ay Di for the Metro Filmfest. And this time, Richard is no longer a mere bit player. He plays a major role as a simple, middle-class veterinarian who doesn’t have a single drop of Chinese blood in his veins. But he falls in love with the wealthy Angel Locsin, a pretty Chinoy who responds to his overtures. Then, their you-and-me-against-the-world story begins. The culture clash, the love triangle (with Christian Bautista as the third party) and others make the plot curioser and curioser.

The main come-on for Richard this time is the comedy part. It will be his first time to make moviegoers laugh and he can’t wait to get his feet wet in this genre.

And just what is the lighter side of Richard? He just smiles and gives you that you’ll-soon-find-out-for-yourself look.

No one can really tell until the movie is shown for the coming Christmas season. But one thing’s sure, the comedy will be situational. It will stem from two opposite cultures trying to put one over the other.

The director, Joel Lamangan, may be known for his heavy, heart-tugging movies. But trust him to come up with such ribticklers as Ako Legal Wife, So Happy Together and another upcoming Metro Filmfest entry, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Ze Moveeh.

Like the rest of the Mano Po 5 cast, Richard must learn how to speak Fookien. But not to worry: a Chinese consultant on the set will take care of that.

Richard has no need to worry at all about other things in his career. He has been shuttling from one set to another (read: lagare) so often it has become a lifestyle of sorts. No wonder, even if he might have to tape GMA 7’s Captain Barbell and shoot Mano Po 5 at the same time, Richard remains unfazed.

Besides, the possibility of working again with Angel excites him.

Needless to say, he feels comfortable with her.

Richard has many other things to look forward to next year. One of them is a horror movie with Sharon Cuneta to be produced by GMA Films. A Valentine movie with Captain Barbell leading lady Rhian Ramos is another.

Still, Richard would rather not count his chickens before they’re hatched.

Richard need not say it. But by living in the present, he is showing another side of him. This guy would rather keep his feet firmly planted on the ground rather than dream of things that may or may not be. LINK


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