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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.

May 10, 2023



RICHARD GUTIERREZ has a very successful blockbuster action-packed drama series in “The Iron Heart”. 

It started airing in November and now, after six months, it is still going strong with it loyal followers. 

Its viewers just cannot seem to get enough of its intriguing story and well conceived and executed action set pieces.

As “The Iron Heart” starts its new season, Richard had an intimate presscon with selected writers and he announced the plans for the extension of his engrossing show. 

“We’re having a meeting soon to discuss new storylines,” he says. 

“Right now, the show is giving more attention to the various villains to shed light on their back stories and connect them all to us,” he says. 

We tell him his character as Apollo/Tisoy has the most number of tough villains today, including Albert Martinez, Diether Ocampo, Jake Cuenca, Baron Geisler, Ryan Eigenmann, Christian Vasquez and Dimples Romana.

“And now bumalik na si Ian Veneracion,” he adds. “Kasi nawala yung character niya when he did shows in the U.S. 

"But now, we’ll focus on him na and his character as Menandro Enriquez.”

The action sequences he does with various villains and their henchmen are all astounding for local TV audiences. Who conceives them? 

“The main people responsible for them are Director Lester Ong and the Singaporean director working with us, Wang Yan Bin. 

"Also si Direk Richard Arellano who helps naman kami ni Pepe Herrera, my sidekick Poseidon Abusado, in the show’s lighter scenes. 

"They know my strengths and I also contribute my own inputs in the action scenes, so it’s collaborative. 

"We always ask: what can we do to make this different? And we always try to level up ang quality ng action scenes namin to make sure the audiences will always be interested in watching us.”

Do they have any peg in executing the action scenes? 

“Lahat naman ngayon, John Wick, e. Pero siempre, yung action scenes nila, six weeks nilang nire-rehearse. E, kami, six minutes lang. 

"We always have limited time kasi limited din kami sa use ng location and we are airing everyday, so we have to maximize everything. 

"But yung fight scene namin ni Baron Geisler, it took us two days to shoot it.”

How come? “Kasi very intense ang eksena. At si Baron, napakahusay na kaeksena, talagang madadala ka. Kasi nang-aasar, kaya nakakapikon.”

Don’t they get to really hurt each other? 

“We do, kahit anong safety ang gawin mo, hindi maiiwasang magkatamaan kayo, magkasakitan, but we’re prepared for that. 

"It’s part of our job na magkapasa-pasa ka. Sobrang nakakapagod din. 

"There were times na I’m not feeling well, pero kahit bagsak ang immune system ko, shoot pa rin. 

"I don’t complain kasi ginusto ko naman ito. It’s my choice to do an action series.”

Why did he choose to do action and not the usual drama or romance? 

“Kasi action has a wider audience. Men, women, kids, matanda, bata, they all watch action shows.” 

They shoot the series in Cebu and it pays off as the environs are very new on local TV. 

“It’s a sacrifice kasi we shoot there on location for three weeks to one month. 

"Nalalayo kami sa pamilya namin. But ako, kapag missed ko na sila, I always tell Sarah and our two boys to come and join me.”

Their eldest son, Zion, is now 10 years old. He will be a teenager soon. Will he allow his first born to join showbiz?

“I want him to finish his schooling first. But 5 years old pa lang yan, kumakanta na ng Elvis Presley songs with my dad. 

"Now, he performs with his school’s theatre group and he’s also taking voice lessons. But I prefer magtapos muna siya ng pag-aaral niya.”

We tell Richard our dream for him is to do a serious movie that will give him an acting award. 

Is he open to do out-of-the-box stories with today’s younger directors? 

“Yes, why not? Natutuwa nga ako, when I see my peers doing films that are entered in film festivals abroad tapos nananalo sila ng award. 

"I’m willing to work with new directors, basta maganda talaga yung material at yung buong script.”

What can he say now that GMA Network and ABS-CBN are merging forces to produce shows like “Unbreak My Heart”? 

“I’m very happy about it and I pray that their first project together will be very successful para magtuloy-tuloy. 

"I’d like to work with my former Kapuso colleagues, like Dingdong Dantes who’s so busy now and I’m very happy for him. 

"We’ve done a film together but we haven’t appeared na magkasama sa isang TV series, so hopefully, we can do that in the future.”

After two sons, don’t he and Sarah plan to have a baby girl? 

“We do want to have a daughter and we did a lot of research on how to do it, but it in the end, it’s God pa rin who will decide and I pray that He’d bless us with a baby girl soon.”