Richard Gutierrez on joining FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and family life amid the pandemic

As the entertainment industry steps into a new age anchored on digital content and stricter guidelines, even the coronavirus threat did not hinder FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano from serving viewers exciting twists and turns in its current chapter. Team Promdi even introduced a new character in the person of Lito portrayed by matinee idol Richard Gutierrez, giving us more reasons to keep our eyes glued to our TV screens, or gadgets. 

The recent episodes established Richard’s character as a possible third wheel to Cardo (Coco Martin) and Alyana (Yassi Pressman) with a romantic past shared with the latter. But who knows, maybe Lito can eventually turn into Cardo’s friend than a foe. If he could choose, though Richard prefers to use his thespic gift in adding another layer of conflict to the story. 

The newest addition to the bunch is all praises for Coco, both as an artist and as a director. He describes Coco as collaborative, endowed with genuine artistic skills. Backing up what Coco’s co-actors often tell, Richard commends his orderly dynamics on the set. He calls Team Promdi as a well-oiled machine that works very smoothly. Each member of the group knows how to execute their individual roles, resulting in a collective success and, more importantly, earlier pack-up time. The heartthrob adds that Coco’s character seems knitted to his own flesh, hence the smooth transition from director to actor. 

Another first on Richard’s acting timeline is working with Yassi Pressman, although they’re no strangers to one another. Yassi is a good friend of Richard’s wife, Sarah Lahbati. This connection makes him feel relaxed than awkward when sharing romantic scenes with Yassi. 

His entrance to the top-rating teleserye has long been overdue. Richard reveals that the talks about his character started last year when he and Coco crossed paths at the ABS-CBN Ball. And he couldn’t be happier that it’s finally happening even amidst the pandemic. Richard expressed admiration and gratitude to ABS-CBN, Dreamscape Entertainment, and the entire Team Promdi for its continuous efforts to create content during these trying times. He believes that now is the most crucial time when artists must exercise their capabilities to lighten up the loads of Filipinos by giving them world-class entertainment. 

Richard seems to have found a new family on the set of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, denying nasty rumors about its lead actor. Now that he’s a part of the long-running series, Richard finally discovered the magic that makes FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano unbeatable through the years. It’s as simple as teamwork, the ingredient that Coco made sure to emphasize on Richard’s first day of duty. 

The camaraderie transcends beyond the cameras. Richard shares that Team Promdi loves to eat together and collaborate with creative ideas. He was given the freedom to discuss his own suggestions in the storytelling process, although he was instantly satisfied with how his character’s been shaped. 

Taping under the ‘new normal’ is an unprecedented experience to all artists. Richard, nevertheless, takes relief from the production team’s careful attention to precautionary guidelines. The cast and crew had virtual meetings, took on COVID-19 swab tests, and went over a long list of preventive measures prior to the shoot. 

The 36-year-old actor expressed nothing but excitement, not even an ounce of fear, as he goes back to work in full swing. It might be difficult but he would rather focus on the blessings than the hurdles. And if he is going to take risks, he might as well do it with the best team. 

The hardest part though was spending time away from his kids Zion and Kai during the lock-in taping days in Batangas. The doting father found the explaining a bit easier with Zion, who’s currently busy with home schooling, than with 2-year-old Kai, who’s more clingy. 

He couldn’t blame his kids, though. The sudden break from the 24/7 quality family time requires gargantuan adjustment from them. Richard’s lockdown period was all about daddy and hubby duties, and some major teaching chores on the side. If wife Sarah is busy with other activities or simply exhausted from all the household obligations, Daddy Richard comes to the rescue and tutors Zion for his homeschooling sessions. Richard never thought his expertise can extend beyond just physical activities and recess time. Kidding aside, the adorable set-up will go down as one of Richard and Zion’s most memorable father-and-son bonding moments.  

Another lockdown feat for Team Gutz was tying the knot amid the coronavirus scare. Richard and Sarah’s original plan, of course, was to celebrate their love in an elaborate ceremony. But the pandemic forced them to scrap prior wedding plans for a simpler event. The civil wedding ceremonies, nonetheless, turned out just as stunning and heartfelt. Sharing years of relationship and two sons, Richard and Sarah still continue to get to know each other on a deeper level. Sarah’s teaching skills was a revelation to him, adding that his wife’s kitchen expertise and patience were sharpened during the quarantine.  

One way the newlyweds keep their connection is by sweating together. They incorporate cardio exercises, yoga, and a bit of weightlifting in the workout regimen. 

Richard is set to go back to work by the end of August, just in time when the current MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) will be, hopefully, relaxed slightly. He has a long list of reasons to be excited. Not only he’s now part of the country’s longest-running primetime series, he is also happy to engage in a show that offers timely storyline and a good source of entertainment in these challenging times.