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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 27, 2011

Will Captain Barbell help GMA-7's primetime rating go higher?

HOW DOES Richard Gutierrez feel about people saying he’ll be the savior of GMA primetime in the ratings game, what with “Captain Barbell” being its new flagship shown starting tonight right after “24 Oras”? “I can feel the pressure,” he says. “Everyone has high expectations. But I’m more excited than pressured. We did our best to make sure it’s worth viewing. They shouldn’t miss the opening episode as it’s really big. We start with me as Captain Barbell and the superheroes I’ll be working with, then from there we’ll show the back stories of the other characters.”

“Captain Barbell now is very different from the first one that was propelled by love,” says Director Dominic Zapata. “Iba yung angas niya dito kasi his loved one, Rhian Ramos, will die, so napaso siya sa pag-ibig. He doesn’t feel like being a superhero anymore but he goes as he knows he has a mission na kailangan niyang gawin. He lives in a tenement and his magic barbell emitted lightning at lahat ng tamaan ng kidlat niyon, nagkaroon din ng superpowers to form the Liga ng Kalayaan. Kasama rito si Bea Binene as Blade who has a magic sword, Jake Vargas as Spin na may trumping sumasabog, Frencheska Farr whose power is in her singing voice, a little girl who becomes Sam Pinto when she transforms, Michelle Madrigal who has tornado powers. The villains form the Liga ng Kadiliman, headed by Christopher de Leon as Nero. Ang ganda ng set ng HQ niya, a volcanic rock in the middle of the sea, made by an Australian designer. Ang mga galamay niya are TJ Trinidad as Metal Man, Elvis Gutierrez as a version of Green Lantern, Ervic Vijandre as Kidlat who can move like lightning sa bilis, Mike Tan as Anino na nakakalagos sa pader and Akihiro Sato as someone with super strength.”

Is Richard a fan of superhero films? “Oh yes, maski noong bata pa ako, fan ako nina Superman, Batman, Spiderman,” he says. “But now, ang favourite ko na, si Robert Downey Jr. in ‘Iron Man’. He’s really cool. Astig.”

As the top superhero flying on local TV these days, he has played other fantastic characters before like Mulawin, Sugo, Asero, Kamandag and Zorro. Which one is his favourite? “Lahat sila, I enjoyed doing. But I really enjoy ‘Captain Barbell’ the most kaya nga heto, we’re doing a new and modernized version that’s definitely an improvement over the first ‘Captain Barbell’ that I did. Si Captain Barbell is already a folk and pop hero that’s now part of our showbiz history and culture kasi marami nang nakaganap sa kanya from Dolphy, Bob Soler and Edu Manzano. I feel privileged na ako ang napiling maging Captain Barbell of the new millennium meant for today’s generation of viewers.”