ABS-CBN must be happy with how things are going for "The Iron Heart" starring Richard Gutierrez as the network has just ordered an extension of the action-packed series.
Richard, 39, couldn't be more grateful now that Book 2 of the series has started.
"Nag-start na kami ng Book 2 last Monday so marami silang aabangan. Then si Ian Veneracion papasok na. Babalik na rin si Baron Geisler at Ryan Eigenmann. At marami pang surprises," said Richard, during a pocket interview held at SuperSam Restaurant in Quezon City recently.
(We started Book 2 last Monday so they have a lot to look forward to. Then Ian Veneracion will enter. Baron Geisler and Ryan Eigenmann will also return. And many more surprises.)
"Initially sinabi sa amin na may specific timeline lang ang series. Pero alam ko sa sarili ko na naka-prepare sila sa extension. Baka may chance rin ng Book 3. We will see. Parang nakikita ko na rin ang sarili ko as part of the production. Kailangan talagang magtulungan ang production and cast para lalong gumanda ang show," the actor said.
(Initially we were told that the series only has a specific timeline. But I know myself that they are prepared for the extension. Maybe there is also a chance of Book 3. We will see. It's like I see myself as part of the production. The production and cast really need to work together to make the show even better.)
Currently, Richard is on a break from the series. His partner Sarah Lahbati and children Zion and Kai have left for Japan for a much-needed vacation. He recalled how he misses his family so much when he's on location.
"Sila Sarah and Zion bumibisita sila sa location ko. Ayaw umalis at nanonood sila. Binibisita na nila ako sa Cebu kapag matagal na akong hindi nakakauwi. Pinapapunta ko sila roon. Zion is 10 years old at nakakaintindi na siya. Ayaw niyang umalis sa set,” said Richard, who’s always on location in Cebu.
(Sarah and Zion visit my location. Zion doesn't want to leave and he watches. They visit me in Cebu after I haven't been home for a long time. Zion is 10 years old and he already understands. He doesn't want to leave the set.)
"Gabi-gabi sila nanonood ng series at mas advance pa sila sa akin kasi may taping kami. Minsan two days hindi ko napapanood so magka-catch up ako ng tuloy-tuloy. Pero sila kinukuwento na nila sa akin. Ginagaya nila yung mga action scenes namin," he added.
(They watch the series every night and they are even more advanced than me because we have a taping. Sometimes I don't watch it for two days so I keep catching up. But they tell me the stories. They imitate the action scenes.)
Asked if he would allow his children to join showbiz, Richard said: "Focus muna siya sa school. Si Zion gusto rin kumanta. Mahilig siya sa music. Okay lang naman maging artista sila basta mag-school muna sila. Yun ang gusto ko noon gawin pero nag work na ako. Gusto ko talagang makatapos sila at gusto kong ibigay sa kanila yun."
(I want them to focus on school first. Zion also wants to sing. He loves music. It's okay for them to be artists as long as they go to school first. That's what I wanted to do before but I'm already working. I really want them to graduate.)
Richard also said that he would allow his partner Sarah to do a TV series as long as the project will not interfere with his schedule.
"Pwede naman siyang gumawa ng serye pero wag lang kaming sabay sa schedule. Movie pwede rin siyang gumawa kasi mas simple ang trabaho sa movies. Super hands-on siya sa mga kids which I truly appreciate kasi she really gives everything for the children. Marami na rin siyang project na tinanggihan," Richard revealed.
(She can do a series as long as we don't have to be on the same schedule. She can also do movies because the work in movies is simpler. She is super hands-on with the kids which I truly appreciate because she really gives everything for the children.)
Now in their 10th year as partners, Richard admitted that he and Sarah have been talking about marriage again. They were supposed to tie the knot in March 2020 but it was reset due to the pandemic.
"Itutuloy pa rin namin yun. Gagawin pa rin namin yun siguro after 'The Iron Heart.' Baka next year," said Richard. (We'll still continue that. We'll probably still do that after 'The Iron Heart.' Maybe next year.)
Richard also revealed that he and Sarah have been discussing having a third baby, preferably a girl.
“Nagresearch na kami paano magkaroon ng baby girl tungkol sa mga techniques.” (We have researched about the techniques on how to have a baby girl.)
Richard loves action scenes
The series "The Iron Heart" is special to Richard because it's his first action series in a lead role.
"I lean towards that na rin. Maganda ang action kasi exciting for the audience. Then yung action pwede mong lagyan ng comedy, love story, drama. Action is a visual spectacle talaga. I enjoy martial arts and I've been training in martial arts for a long time. I'm a big fan of martial arts so isa yun sa gusto ko talagang gawin sa mga skill ko," he said.
Richard, who plays an undercover agent in "The Iron Heart," also said that he works hard to have a firm and solid body.
"Matagal bago ko na achieve ang body na ito kasi as you age, nag-iiba ang metabolism mo. Kumbaga double or triple the effort na ako these days. So matagal bago ko ito na-achieve. Actually I'm still working on it. Feeling ko starting point ko pa lang ito.
"Naging inspiration ko rin si Raymund (Gutierrez). So kung kinaya niya, kinaya ko rin. No. 1 control sa food and then workout. Actually control ng food ang mahirap because pag nasa location kayo, you need to watch what you eat. Doon ako nag concentrate. And then I work out before taping," Richard said.
It was learned that his mom Annabelle Rama would also send him delicious food such as lechon and Chinese food in Cebu on several occasions.
But Richard said he already lost about 12 pounds since the series debuted in November 2022.
"Ginawa ko siya na slow but sure (sa pag bawas ng weight). Never akong nag crash diet. Mahirap mag crash diet. So ginawa ko siyang parang lifestyle. Hindi na masyadong hard core ang gym ko. I reserve energy for the action scenes. In the morning, I do gym exercises for an hour. Mabilis lang. I try to do it everyday," he added.
Richard praised fellow actor Jake Cuenca who he said already matured as an actor and an individual.
"Kami ni Jake Cuenca, we made sure na nagpa practice kami bago namin kunan. Sobrang happy ako kay Jake kasi I've seen him how he matured as an actor, and individual. Talagang focused siya ngayon. He really wants to give his best sa project na ito.
(Jake Cuenca and I practiced before we shot. I'm very happy for Jake because I've seen how he matured as an actor, and individually. He's really focused now. He really wants to give his best in this project.)
"After 20 years, saka lang uli kami nagkasama. Sa 'Click' kami unang nagkasama. Ngayon lang kami uli nagkita at sakto talaga yung timing. We're both at the peak of our careers na kaya na namin ibigay yung characters namin. Pareho na kaming nag-mature also as an individuals. Marami na rin kaming pinagdaanan Pag nagkwentuhan kami ni Jake non-stop. Ang dami naming pinaguusapan," he said.
(After 20 years, we were together again. In 'Click' we first got together. Now we met again and the timing was really right. We're both at the peak of our careers that we can give our characters. Both of us have matured also as individuals. Jake and I talked a lot.)
Richard also said that he contributes to the development of the series by sharing his ideas and other inputs.
"Marami akong naibigay na inputs sa pagdevelop ng script at storyline lalo na sa pilot episode at characterization. I'm thankful sa Star Creatives kasi sinasama nila ako sa meeting. Talagang open ako sa discussion about it and tinatanggap nila ang input ko. Collaborative ang working relationship namin. Kaya I think it's one of the reasons kaya tuloy-tuloy kami," he said.
(I gave a lot of inputs in the development of the script and storyline especially in the pilot episode and characterization. I’m thankful to Star Creatives because they allow me to participate in brainstorming. I am really open to discussion about it and they accept my input. Our working relationship is collaborative. So I think it’s one of the reasons why we continue.)