As he marks his 45th year in showbiz, ABS-CBN News’ Miguel Dumaual had the chance to catch up with seasoned actor Romnick Sarmenta in an exclusive one-on-one interview. The 2 Good 2 Be True star talked about the well-loved series, working with his castmates, his four-decade showbiz career, and life lessons he learned along the way.
Ever since it premiered last May, 2 Good 2 Be True has impressively cemented its status as one of the most-watched series on Netflix Philippines and iWantTFC. While this is undoubtedly a great feat, being number one is actually not the most important for Romnick, as giving their best in everything they do and satisfying the viewers are what he’s most concerned about.
Aside from amusing the audiences, he also finds it significant that the story they’re offering does not only entertain the viewers, but also imparts new knowledge to them as well. He would like to think that they’re on top not just because their ardent fans have been supportive, but the cast and crew are doing a great job in mounting this well-loved series.
Although his character Fred is admired because of being a good husband to Hannah/Mirriam (Mickey Ferriols) and a great father to Eloy (Daniel Padilla), there are some who arguably got disappointed when he forged allegiance with the main antagonist Helena (Gloria Diaz). But being the innately reputable and kind man that he is, Romnick believes that Fred is being manipulated and being used by Helena in order to execute her wicked plans against Eloy and Hugo (Ronaldo Valdez).
“I think a person like that would want to hope for something. Gusto sana niyang umasa na maganda pa rin ang buhay kahit papaano kasi he’s hoping for the future of his son. Now, when someone tries to help him with his biggest problem, katulad ng pagkakulong niya at tinulungan siyang makalabas, he would want more than anything to believe na, ‘siguro mabait na tao ‘to kasi tinutulungan niya ako sa pinaka malaking problema ko e’. And sadly, there are people who take advantage of that kapag nakita nilang ito ‘yong kailangan niya ngayon, kapag na-solve ko ‘to, pwede ko nang baluktutin ‘yong truth sa utak niya’,” he stated. Then he added, “Oo, nagagamit si Fred at namamanipula siya para do’n sa sariling kagustuhan niya.”
With regards to working with Gloria Diaz, the 50-year-old actor divulged that he got the chance to work with her in other projects in the past, with the 1998 drama film “Miguel/Michelle” as the most remarkable, wherein he played the role of the transexual titular character, while she was his understanding and supportive mother.
He went on to describe their bond, “She’s always fun. Masyado siyang makuwento na tao at marami siyang stories na gustong i-share sa atin. Kapag nasa set lang kami, in between takes, kuwentuhan lang nang kuwentuhan. It’s very rare na malungkot ang set namin or tahimik. And of course, Ms. Gloria, other than ‘yong ‘Miguel/Michelle’ and this one, may mga napagsamahan na rin kami, so we really know each other quite well and nakakapagbiruan din kami. I guess, ‘yon ang isa sa masaya sa cast na ‘to e, walang age brackets dito. Basta lahat parang magkakabarkada.”
As the host mentioned about one of the most notable scenes of Romnick with Ronaldo Valdez, as well as one of his most noteworthy lines which is “Pambihira kayong mayayaman, ginagamit n’yo ang pera at kapangyarihan n’yo para matakasan ang batas,” the Kapamilya actor commented that it’s certainly the thought that has been lingering in our heads since it prevalently happens in real life.
He also enumerated other things he loves about the series by saying, “And I think, it’s one of those things that I enjoy the most sa 2 Good 2 Be True – we’re allowed to voice out simple truths na naiintindihan, nauunawaan, at nararamdaman ng ordinaryong mamamayan. ‘Yong values ng family, how we try to give advice to new couples, to young kids, to friends and family members, and even how we try to patch things up between relatives.”
Besides, the cast noticed how everyone is absolutely honest with their feelings, too, and how they’re able to relate themselves to their respective characters, making it possible for them to exude the required emotions in every scene. At the same time, he went on to describe the aforementioned veteran actor by uttering “Tito Ron is amazing as an actor, as a person. Ang sarap lang talaga ka-kuwentuhan no’n”.
Since forgiveness has been part of Fred’s journey, the host asked him when does he think it is easy or difficult to forgive, to which Romnick retorted that more than the act of forgiving, it’s the awareness of the person who crossed you that’s more important. But for him, it’s easier to pardon someone who was forced to do what he did because it was the only choice he had, rather than the person who really intended to hurt you or tends to repeat what he did after being forgiven.
With regards to his preparations in portraying Fred, especially in doing heavy scenes, Romnick shared that he has always viewed his character as a “co-parent” or father. He may not have understood him initially since they only had few similarities, but he chose to put himself in the shoes of Fred, in hopes of compelling the people to see his character more than him and as a human being to which they can relate to. According to him, he was able to relate with his passion towards his job and his longing towards his children, yet he doesn’t know how difficult it is to become a mechanic and be imprisoned.
Being a dad to six children himself, he related that there are instances that his interactions with Daniel on-and-off-cam reminded him of how he is with his kids. He then described him, “Mabait ‘yong bata e. Hindi ako mahihirapang imagine-in na parang anak-anakan ko siya. So, ‘yong rapport namin on-screen and off-screen na interactions namin, malaking bagay ‘yon patungo do’n sa reality ng ginagawa naming eksena. Parang anak ko talaga ‘yong kausap ko, parang anak ko ang tingin ko.”
Photo credit earlibirdy IG
Working with the 2 Good 2 Be True ensemble for over a year now, he truly finds delight in getting to know and see his castmates as “human beings,” friends, and family and not as mere colleagues. Thus, he perceives lock-in taping as one of the good things that happened this pandemic, as it allows them to maintain the momentum of their characters and their relationship with their workmates. Aside from the unmistakable acting prowess and discipline they all have, he also admires the amount of respect they have for each other, as well as the camaraderie among them on-and-off-cam. In fact, they love to hangout together during their days-off inside their bubble, with the ladies spearheading their mini get-togethers.
Photo credit Irma_mahlee IG
When it comes to working with the lead stars Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, as well as the reel-and-real life sweethearts’ so-called magic, Romnick commended them for being genuine with themselves, with one another, and the people around them, as well as their discipline, consistency, and compassion to the cast and crew alike.
“I think the magic of KathNiel is the fact that they present themselves as who they are. ‘Yong genuine ‘yong concern nila sa cast, genuine ‘yong pakikipagkaibigan nila, ‘yong pakikisamang pinapakita nila, ‘yong pakikitungo nila sa lahat. And it shows sa disiplina sa trabaho, sa interactions sa loob at labas ng set,” he related.
Photo credit maecruzalviar IG (left)/ earlibirdy IG (right)
The he added, “I think, that makes us – those people who work with them – love them more and masarap silang suportahan sa trabaho. And it translates so well na kapag nag-e-enjoy ‘yong mga kasama mo doon sa trabahong ginagawa n’yo, gumaganda ‘yong programa. It promotes good platform for them, so gumaganda ‘yong following, ‘di nalalaglag ‘yong istorya ng ginagawa nila because they take care of the people around them. And they’re being sincere to all those people who support them. I think kung meron silang magic, ‘yon ‘yong fact na totoo sila sa isa’t isa, totoo sila sa harap ng lahat, at mahal nila ‘yong trabaho nila.”
When it comes to his acting career, Romnick revealed that he actually never thought about staying in the industry for around 45 years already, nor dreamt of making it big ever since he was a kid as he considered being an artista as a normal thing and just work. And he shares the same sentiment with his co-star Gelli de Belen, who he has known ever since they were kids, as well as her older sister Janice.
There may be a number of years when he decided to take a step back from the spotlight to focus on his family, businesses, and other pursuits, but he still heeded to its call and returned a few years ago. But this time, he requested to be given the freedom to choose the project that he would accept and the time to pursue his other endeavors, such as teaching in a university.
As he got to see this work in another perspective, it made him realize that he couldn’t see himself being in a different profession or field than being an actor. He conveyed, “If you put me in any other work, siguro I would feel like fish out of water. Pwede kong pag-aralan, pero hindi siya kasing-natural sa akin katulad nito. And it has never been to be famous or to be known, just simply telling a story you feel is important to others, ‘yong paggawa namin ng ganitong trabaho.” Thus, he has nothing but gratitude for everything he went through, as well as the things that are yet to come for him.
When asked what being in the industry has taught him both as an actor and an individual in the past four decades and that he’s already in his 50s, Romnick stated, “As a person, lalo na if you’re in this industry, you have to know when to take yourself seriously and when not. Dapat kaya mong timplahin ang mga bagay na makakaapekto sa’yo, ‘yong mga bagay na ipaglalaban mo, ano ‘yong mga bagay na kaya mong palampasin. Kasi this is got to be one of the most misunderstood professions.”
This roots from the pain he feels for his fellow celebrities get bashed by people who do not know them personally because he used to go through the same situation before. It hurts him that it is easy for some netizens to hurl snide remarks and abrasive words at them without knowing who they really are or what they’re going through. At the same time, he’s also concerned with how artists tend to let themselves be swayed by what other people say and fail to remember that they’re just working like others do.
For him, it’s important that they would learn to deviate their personal life from their professional life in order for them to fully enjoy what you are doing, as well as to know themselves better and be gentler to themselves.