RICHARD GUTIERREZ is riding on a wave of hit projects making him feel he has so much to be thankful to the Lord. He has a hit movie, “In Your Eyes”. On TV, his “Survivor Philippines Celebrity Edition” is now the highest rating show on primetime TV per AGB Ratings while his environmental docus, “Wildlife for Sale” and “Anatomy of a Disaster” not only rate well but also elicit critical acclaim especially from those concerned with our ecology. His previous docu, “Planet Philippines”, even won the Bronze Prize in a prestigious TV festival in New York this year, so they intend to join it again and enter “Wildlife for Sale” for next year’s competition.
“This is really a good year for me compared to the last one which was full of problems. My mom’s devotion to the Sto. Nino in Cebu is a big help,” he says.
Last year, he was falsely accused of toting a gun at the birthday party of Director Mark Reyes so he sued to prove his innocence. Later, he figured in a car crash that took the life of his production assistant, whose widow then sued him. The case did not prosper as the court ruled what happened was really an accident. But there are also setbacks, right? For one thing, his lovelife suffered and he decided to break up with his “Girlfriend sa Dilim”, Jewel Mische.
“Yes, may sacrifices din naman. Because I’ve become so busy, what with me shooting the movie in Los Angeles for three weeks and taping for 42 days in an island in Thailand for ‘Survivor Philippines’, something’s gotta give talaga. And it had to be my lovelife. I felt that with so many things going on in my career, I need to set it aside for a while.”
It’s said that because of this, Jewel is now negotiating to transfer to another network. “She told me about that. Kasi may communication pa rin naman kami. We’ve remained friends and there’s no bad blood between us. I think Jewel wants to move as she has no new assignment now with GMA, not because we broke up. But I think she’s still weighing her options.”
We thought Jewel would be one of his leading ladies in the return of Captain Barbell. “Nothing is final, but if ever, I’m willing to work with her again. All my past girlfriends, we end up as good friends naman, so I’m confident Jewel and I will also remain friends. ”
He’s now rumored to be playing beautiful music with “Survivor Philippines” sensation Solenn Heussaff. At the presscon for his docu series, “Anatomy of a Disaster”, guess who’s there with him even if she’s not part of the show: Solenn herself. No doubt this would all the more fan the talks linking the two of them. “We’ve been friends for a long time, along with my brother Raymond, kaya lang nabigyan ito ng ibang kulay after makilala siya ng tao in ‘Survivor Philippine’ where she quickly gained a lot of fans. We hang out a lot, but as a barkada. As of now, I really just want to focus on my career sa dami ng blessings na dumarating sa’kin. The intrigues linking us ni Solenn don’t affect us. We’re still just good friends.”
He’s now preparing for the return of Captain Barbell that starts taping in October but will be aired next year yet. “I workout in the gym everyday in preparation for all the action scenes I’ll do. I want to be very fit when taping starts.”
GMA Films also want him to do a Valentine film for February. Is it “Maybe Next Time” with Ann Curtis? “Nothing is sure. After doing ‘In Your Eyes’ with Anne, they want a new leading lady for me. I don’t know yet who they’ll pick. But definitely, I’m doing a romantic comedy this time kasi drama na yung ‘In Your Eyes’.”
What if Solenn would be included in the cast? “Why not? That’s fine with me. Mukhang okay naman ang chemistry namin and she has gained so many followers because of ‘Survivor Philippines’.”
March 26 is the first anniversary of the killer typhoon Ondoy and “Anatomy of a Disaster” will feature a documentary on destructive floods. “We didn’t really plan it for Ondoy’s anniversary. Nagkataon lang. We feature actual footage and eyewitness accounts of what happened. Biro mo, one year na pala yun. I’ve interviewed some of the Ondoy survivors and their stories are really heartbreaking. Our first episode was on volcanic eruptions. The next ones will be on earthquakes, landslides and other environmental calamities. We just don’t show them but also tell viewers how to respond and prepare for future disaster with the help of expert resource persons.”
“Anatomy of a Disaster” will be shown on GMA-7’s Sunday Night Box Office at 10:30 PM.