Alden Richards says his character Christian is like "Superman" in Tween Academy: Class of 2012. His role is captain of the basketball team, the all-around good guy and heartthrob in the school. Christian doesn’t like seeing other kids in his school being bullied.
When asked to describe his similarities with Christian, Alden pointed out: "Since nag-start ako ng show business, the roles that have been given me, nagtra-transform now and again. Si Christian speaks more of Alden’s character in real life. Less lang yung sa heartthrob and sa pagiging Superman."
He says that the characters he and his co-actors play in Tween Academy reflect how they are in real life. "Parang hindi kami nahirapan mag-adjust sa role, ang sarap gumawa ng pelikula, na feeling mo yung buhay mo nilagay doon sa pelikula."
Alden wasn’t a heartthrob back home, says he, when he was studyibng in Laguna. If you look at him now, that’s quite hard to believe. He says of his friends, "Lagi nila ako pinagtatawanan, pag nakita nila ako sa TV. Lalo na doon sa first project ko sa Alakdana. Kahit naman ako, kung may nag-artista sa classmate ko, tatawanan ko rin."
He can’t pinpoint any specific scene in Tween Academy as the most difficult, except for the dubbing. He explains, "It’s really difficult, mas mahirap pa kaysa gumawa ng eksena. Yung buka ng bibig, gestures before saying your line, yung mga nuances, lahat. Pati hinga, kailangan you have to synchronize sa pinakaginawa mo sa scene.
"We were told, ’Watch the whole film, try to remember the emotions and atmosphere.’ You have to really focus and imagine you were back in the scene, para the feelings and emotions come out. If you just do dubbing without any concentration or focus, walang dating eh."
Now that Alden has tried acting in both TV and movies, the tween actor shared his observations about working in both fields.
"What I appreciate is yung mga tao na nakatrabaho ko. Kahit bago ako, they don’t treat me like somebody else. I really treasure the moments I have with them. Sa Tween Academy, ang lakas ng bond from director to staff to cast, kahit sa utility. Kahit ulit-ulitin pa namin, willing ang tweens. Sobrang nag-enjoy kami, all the hard work paid off, sobrang lakas ng support ng fans, so very thankful ako."
Through this whole process, Alden developed deep friendship with Kristoffer Martin and Derrick Monasterio. "Akala ko dati when we started, siyempre may feeling of intimidation ako. Lahat sila, established na. Yung feeling ko noon, ’sino ka ba para pumasok sa isang tween movie?’ Yung ganoon at makipag-close-closan sa kanila."
Alden says it was his transparency that drew them together. "Yung nakikita nila sa ’yo na natural, yung ang mag-manifest at doon ka nila gugustuhin. Hindi sa kung ano man fake personality or attitude just to fit in. Just be yourself."
BEING PART OF PANDAY 2. As everyone knows, Alden is now part of Panday 2 after replacing Aljur Abrenica. (CLICK HERE to read related article)
The newcomer narrates the work for this Metro Manila Film Fest entry: "We’re almost done shooting. We had to bank so many scenes para editing has time to really work on the details and make it effective. Doon, ibang-iba, I had to wear costumes. Yung role ko doon is more may typical na dragon tribe, na may gusto kay Marian [Rivera]. I won’t reveal too much info na," he says, flashing his bedimpled smile.
"I’m really proud na naging part ako doon, yung mga kasama ko doon hindi biro, Senator Bong Revilla, Marian Rivera, Eddie Garcia, Kris Bernal, Rhian Ramos, sobrang daming big stars."
"Three years ago, nanood lang ako ng parade ng MMFF sa Manila Bay, ngayon, sasakay na ako sa float!"
Alden, ever the humble down-to-earth guy says, "siyempre, maraming makaka-relate sa akin," referring to the fact that he used to be one watching the big screen and now he’s up there. He jokes, "siguro pag napanood ko sarili ko sa Tween Academy, maiiyak ako."
Alden draws inspiration from his mother’s wish for him to pursue showbiz, "Everything that I’m doing now is for them, for God. We’re not really well-off, hindi rin naman that poor, pero I just want to give my family comfort, that’s why I’m doing this. I’m giving 100 percent of my effort so I can give my family good life and comfort, kasi my grandparents live with us, and since matanda na sila, gusto ko mag-relax na sila, 75 na sila, e. Lahat naman sila happy, proud sa akin. My family always has my back."
Among the Tween Academy girls, Alden is closest to Louise delos Reyes (his leading lady in Alakdana). "Kasi when it comes to transition of bonding, I have more time with her since the beginning. Pero now, lahat ng Tween girls, especially Joyce [Ching] and Lexi [Fernandez], Barbie [Forteza], Yassi [Pressman], lahat sila close na sa akin, all of us are close, si Bea, lahat kami."
Bonding moments are aplenty, whether with the cast, mommy of a tween co-star, or any of the crew. "Lahat kami we ride that coaster na parang school bus ang dating, galing school para mag-tour. Kahit ahead ako sa kanila, yung iba 16 or 17, parang we share the same interests and yung mga gusto namin, nagkakasundo. That’s why yung bond is really strong."
He assures people that what we see of them on big and small screen is how they are in real life, "kulitan, minsan walang hiya, pero for fun yun. Mahirap yung serious lagi, boring yun! When you do work and you’re not enjoying and you take everything for granted, it’s not manifesting on your personality. So we just enjoy and have fun."
What is Alden’s dream role?
"Ako naman, since GMA is really taking care of us, hands-on sila, so whatever is given to me, I accept. Sabi nga ni Direk Gina Alajar, ’There are no small roles, only small actors’. So, kahit na best friend ka lang ng lead, you do your part, makikita yun, e. Whatever comes my way, grab lang nang grab, kasi these opportunities knock only once."
DATE TO REMEMBER. Speaking of opportunities, Alden recently had a date with the latest FHM Sexiest Woman in the World and fellow GMA-7 star, Sam Pinto. Alden gushes, "I have to admit that was a date worth remembering. I’m sure Sam is open to a next date with me! We really had fun sa dinner cruise and we got a chance to know each other, sa personal lives, so tingnan po natin."
Sam is Alden’s first celebrity date, "na ganoon yung effort. First po! Success naman po."
What was running through his head as he sat across Sam Pinto? Alden excitedly said, "Wow, wow! I really can’t mess this up, parang I had to research before the date, what do people do on a first date! So what I remembered was to keep the conversation flowing, talking about everything under the sun. I really prepared for it!"
Alden who used to join contests on TV before entering showbiz seven months ago is very grateful for where he is now. "Yung mga dumarating na blessings, yung tiwala ng network, tiwala ng fans, tiwala ng family, nandoon eh. Kahit puyat, kahit pagod, just to make others [happy], I won’t say no.
"I’m sure lahat tayo dumating sa point na we are really tired and fed up with everything. This happened to me when I was doing my soap, bugbugan ang taping at parang gusto mo mag-give up. Pero nung naisip ko yung mangyayari if I give up, ang laki ng kapalit. So inisip ko na lang na if I finish this project, yung mga benefits, yung fulfillment andoon. So every time I feel tired, na hindi ko kasama ang family, I remember and I pray, I’m doing this for them."
(CLICK HERE to read PEP’s review of Tween Academy: Class of 2012 )