Alden Richards on ‘The Gift’: ‘We’re doing this because we believe in the message’

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He has just been awarded the prestigious Asian Star Prize at the Seoul International Drama Awards, starred with Kathryn Bernardo in the movie, “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” recently hailed the highest grossing Filipino film of all time and continues to enjoy a massive and heavily supportive fanbase but do ratings still matter to newly minted Asia’s Multimedia Star Alden Richards?

The 27-year-old actor, who topbills GMA Network’s latest primetime offering, “The Gift” was straightforward when asked by Cebu’s entertainment press during his mediacon last Friday, September 13.

“Let’s be practical and frank about it. A show is only as good as the numbers it gets and the episodes we make. Of course the numbers matter to a lot of people, especially to our bosses,” said Alden, who has been doing teleseryes for nine years now and who was last seen on primetime TV via last year’s superhero family drama, “Victor Magtanggol.”

He, however, said that actors like him as well as the creative team need to focus on their specific tasks at hand.

“But for the actors and those involved in the creative process of the story, it’s really the message that we want to send. It’s not the numbers that we’re getting but how beautifully and how masterfully a project or show is created through the blood, sweat and tears of all the people involved,” said Alden, who plays Sep, a vendor in Divisoria who works hard to earn a living but eventually loses his eyesight. The unfortunate incident will lead him to discover a gift, that of reading into someone’s past and predicting what will happen in the future.

Alden Richards plays Sep in GMAs latest primetime offering, "The Gift".
Alden Richards plays Sep in “The Gift”, the latest primetime offering in GMA.

The prized Kapuso star, who recently renewed his contract with the network, said he and his costars are well aware of the pressure of coming up with both a quality project and one which will bring in good ratings.

“Yeah, we’re pressured sa numbers kasi ‘yun ‘yung totoo. We cannot sugarcoat that. But we believe in this material with all our lives. I believe in it. I guess that’s what matters ‘eh. If you believe in something, you’d do it. If you believe that it’s for the greater good, you’d do it. That’s why we’re doing ‘The Gift’ because we believe in the message of the show,” he said.

Beauty queen turned TV actress Thia Thomalla is the newest leading lady of Alden Richards in a primetime series.

Also present during the mediacon were Jo Berry, who plays Sep’s mother, Strawberry; Mikee Quintos and Mikoy Morales, who are his close buddies, Amor and Bistek; and Miss Eco International 2018 Thia Thomalla who portrays Faith, Princess of Divisoria and apple of Sep’s eye.

Well aware of what newbie actors go through, Richards—whose first teleserye was the 2011 afternoon drama, “Alakdana” where he played a crippled teen—was generous with praise for his costars.

“Artist ‘yan,” he said of “Pepito Manalato” and “Bubble Gang” regular Mikoy, who did the music for “I’m Ellenya L,” an entry in the ongoing Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. He was also cheering on Jo Berry, who told the press that it was her first time in Cebu.

As for his newest leading lady, Thia, Alden commended the beauty queen for showing eagerness to learn, calling her “a breath of fresh air.”

Like most actresses who share screen time with Alden, both Thia and Mikee have received unfavorable comments from some netizens who don’t approve that they are paired with the actor.

Alden, who has been relentlessly getting his fair share of criticisms but has remained unmoved and steadfast through it all, had this piece of advice for the two ladies.

“Parang naging package deal na sya lately, sa mga nakakasama ko sa isang project. But my message to them is that oo, it hurts to read comments that are one-sided but use them nalang as a healthy push. Ang sarap kasi ng feeling na people belittle you, on social media especially, and yet you let your success prove them wrong … Brush them off nalang kasi maganda ‘yung teleserye natin and we’re gonna create a great story out of this,” he said.

Directed by LA Madridejos, “The Gift” also stars Elizabeth Oropesa as Sep’s adoptive grandmother, Lola Char who works as a manghuhula; Jean Garcia as Sep’s biological mother Nadia, who no longer believes in God after she loses both her first husband and her son; Christian Vasquez as Javier, Nadia’s unfaithful second husband; Rochelle Pangilinan as Javier’s feisty mistress, Betong Sumaya as Asi, Jared’s trustworthy assistant and driver; Luz Valdez as Puring, Javier’s loving grandmother; Ysabel Ortega, Javier and Nadia’s only daughter; and Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019 Best Actor winner Martin del Rosario as Jared, Nadia and Javier’s son and a young politician who will make life even more difficult for Sep. The series will also feature the special participation of TJ Trinidad as Sep’s father, Gener.

“The Gift” will have its world premiere tonight (September 16), after “Beautiful Justice” on GMA Telebabad.

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