Richard and his twin brother Raymond practically grew up in showbiz. They were only three years old when they did their first movie, Lahing Pikutin, with their father Eddie Gutierrez.
"Bale kasi sinasama lang kami sa mga movies nina Dad or ni Ate (Ruffa Gutierrez)," Richard recalls. "Tapos later, binigyan kami ng movies na kami talaga ang bida. I think we were able to do at least eight or nine movies at that time."
The movies carried crazy titles that actually sold! Kambal-Tuko, Takbo, Bilis, Takbo!, Feel na Feel Ko, Knock, Knock...Who's There? One, Two...Bato, Three, Four...Bapor, Takbo, Talon, Tili to name a few.
Then, at nine years old, they quit. The twins went to grade school, moved to the United States when they were 12, and returned to the Philippines at 15 to finish high school.
But of the twins, it is Richard—older than Raymond by five minutes—who wants to stay for good.
"Ako, dito na ako nag-high school talaga. I graduated sa La Salle," Richard says. "For me kasi mas masaya dito 'tsaka nandito yung family ko. Parang nalulungkot ako doon. Even though may mga friends din ako dun, yung mga friends ko dito, ano e, parang mas masayang kasama, ganun. 'Tsaka mas gusto ko kasi nandito nga ang parents ko."
As fate would have it, the chance for a showbiz comeback knocked at his door. Early this year, the GMA 7 youth show Click underwent a new format and needed fresh faces to grace its new season. Richard's mother Annabelle, hearing the news, nudged him to give it a try.
"Mom ko ang nagsabi sa akin na may chance nga daw ako," says Richard. "Pinag-isipan ko muna for a while. Sabi ko, sige, I'll try. Tapos, ayun, nakasali nga ako."
Now he's glad he took the plunge.
"It's worth a try, e," he smiles. "Kasi yung buong family namin nasa showbiz na, ganun. It's an opportunity, so might as well grab it."
In Click he plays Enzo, a friendly boy-next-door character.
"'Tsaka ano ako dito, loving na kapatid tapos sobra kong ina-idolize ang dad ko dito," he says of his character. "It's easy for me to play Enzo kasi ako na ako yun, e. I mean in real life, ganun din ako. Kaya madali siyang i-act. Actually, parang hindi na halos naga-act, e."
Before, he wasn't being paired with any of the Click girls—yet. And given the choice, he'd rather skip the love team phase altogether. "Sana wala na lang, mas gusto kong wala. Solo," he says candidly.
Not two months after appearing in Click, Richard was also casted in the Angelika dela Cruz soap Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin. In this drama series, his acting mettle is tested as he plays the more complex character of Iñigo, a boy who, growing up without a mother, becomes distant and resentful.
"Hindi naman exactly bad boy. Pero tipong pagdating sa family, iniiwasan ko sila. Pero titino din daw ako in the end," he says with a small smile.
The way he sees it, his six-month-old showbiz stint is coasting along just fine. What's more, to hear him tell it, he's having the time of his life.
"Sobrang saya!" he enthuses. "Maraming people na nami-meet. 'Tsaka you'll get to know more of yourself. Kung ano gusto mo, ganyan. Kung paano ka mag-interact with other people."
So he wants to do more.
"Sana movies and commercials," he says. "But I'm not really in a hurry. Marami akong goals but I think I'd rather take things slowly."
What he's really preparing himself for now is showbiz's bad side—the "intrigues," the loss of privacy, the misconcepcions of people he doesn't even know.
But with showbiz veterans for parents, he's almost sure he can handle these.
"Sabi ng dad ko," Richard says, "mami-miss ko nga daw ang privacy ko as a normal person. Right now, hindi pa naman dumadating sa ganung point."
Meantime, his mother Annabelle Rama tells him: "'Pag daw may intriga na hindi totoo, 'wag ko na lang daw masyadong pansinin kasi 'pag pinansin ko, lalo lang siyang lalaki. So far, wala pa din naman akong na-e-encounter na mga intriga."
Richard has a huge advantage even among other children with showbiz parents: his obvious good looks. Onscreen and in person, he is close-up material. Veteran talent manager Douglas Quijano says he can be the next big male star!