These days, Alden Richards has bounce in his steps.
At the thanksgiving event of Skechers in Glorietta 2 yesterday, November 26, his dimples showed when we congratulated him on the latest development in his career: being leading man to GMA Primetime Queen Marian Rivera.
Sounding ecstatic, the 20-year-old actor said, “Parang gusto kong magtago sa ilalim ng lamesa at saka magsisigaw na ’Totoo ba ’to? Nangyayari na ba talaga kay Alden ’to?’
"Kasi, parang three years pa lang ako sa showbiz, wala pang masyadong experience, nagsisimula pa lang.”
In 2009, he tried his luck in StarStruck Batch 5, but didn’t make it to the final 14. Next, he auditioned for Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash 2010, but was not included in the list of housemates.
Apparently, he was not destined to get into showbiz through any reality show. In 2010, he was cast as the screen partner of Louise delos Reyes.
Continuing, Alden said, “Kasi po ako, as an actor, talagang lahat, everything is still on a learning process, e.
“So, nagulat po ako na after ko magawa yung Alakdana, and then after a lot of projects—My Beloved, One True Love, Mundo Mo’y Akin—and then ngayon, binigyan ako ng isang sobrang napakalaking project na hindi ko ini-expect sa ’kin mapupunta.
"Kasi, ah, first, Marian Rivera is Marian Rivera, so most probably, ang mape-pair sa kanya mas more established, mas more, yung andun na talaga.”
PEP: HOW DID HE LEARN ABOUT IT? Alden’s reply, “Actually po, two months ago parang ano na siya, brewing idea na siya.”
At the time, he was in that peculiar showbiz state called hoping-but-not-really-expecting.
"Baka malabo pa, word of mouth pa lang, baka di pa tuloy, baka di pa confirmed," he explained.
“Kasi, ang soap opera, yung mundo ng soap opera, nagbabago in a snap of a finger—so, kung walang script, hindi nagti-taping, puwede pang maiba.
"So, ayun nga, as the day goes, parang walang bumabawi ng sinabi sa akin, na ’Ay, hindi tuloy,’ walang ganun.
"Then, naghintay lang ako patiently.
"After Mundo Mo’y Akin, I did a lot of guestings, like Magpakailanman, with GMA News TV also—until, two weeks ago, na-confirm nga na tuloy na.”
PEP: HOW DID HE TAKE THE GOOD NEWS? To say that he was dumbfounded would be an understatement.
Alden replied, “No words, I mean, talagang blangko lahat. Mixed emotions na hindi ko rin alam, e, I mean, zero.
“Wala pa akong maramdaman.
“Then sabi ko, ’Ako talaga?’ Of all GMA actors na mas established, ako talaga yung napili to be paired with her?”
The operative word to describe how he feels is “excited.” In fact, he mentioned "excited" four times during the interview.
"So, of course, very honored, very excited, medyo kabado kasi ang daming expectations coming from, of course, her fans, mga viewers.”
In the previous soaps of Marian, her perennial leading men had been Dingdong Dantes, her boyfriend, and Dennis Trillo.
Alden continued, “Kasi, coming from Kuya Dong, Dennis—mahirap, mahirap po, pero gagawin ko yung best ko and, ah, enjoy lang.
“Above all emotions, excited ako, and I’m really looking forward to be paired with her kasi I want also to push myself to the limits e, kung hanggang saan ba yung kaya ko with her as kaeksena, so, excited...”
Their series, Carmela, will be launched in January 2014.
Asked about his role, Alden answered: “It is very much different from my previous roles—mature, mas bad boy, mahilig sa chicks, always gets what he wants, pero may soft side din, mabait, gentle, madiskarte, smart, pero sobrang na-love at first sight siya dun sa character ni Yan."
Yan is Marian’s nickname.
PEP: HAS HE STARTED PREPARING FOR HIS CHARACTER? Smiling, the handsome young actor replied, “Eto na! Of course, change hairstyle, ‘tapos papayat, go to the gym, work out a lot.”
His fitness routine includes running, playing ball with his dad, and lifting weights at the gym.
Add to these, “We did one-on-one workshops with Direk Laurice Guillen.
“We had session na, then we’re gonna do another for the script na itself. Characterization na. So, wala pang date.
"The first day was very fun, I mean, I’ve learned a lot from her [Laurice]. Nakilala ko silang mabuti.”
PEP: SO FAR, WHAT IT IS LIKE WORKING WITH MARIAN? The Pambansang Dimples—as Alden is beginning to be called in showbiz—recounted the first time he saw the Filipina/Spanish actress.
“Sa totoo lang, sa lahat ng artista na nakita ko, kay Miss Marian Rivera lang ako na-starstruck.
“So, hindi ako makagalaw. I mean, during the first year na nakilala ko siya, na nakita ko siya in person, hindi ako makagalaw.
“Alam mo yung, ako, I mean, very pigil.
“’Tapos, pag kakausapin niya ako, kinakabahan ako.
“So, nung gumawa kami ng workshop together, dun na ’ko nakapag- adjust.”
Alden described his new screen partner as “a true person,” and knocked down past rumors saying GMA’s Primetime Queen has an attitude problem.
"Sometimes nami-mistake yun as suplada, as attitude—but, you know, once you get to know her, wala siyang, hindi mo siya iisiping artista.
"Very accommodating, very outspoken, sasabihin niya kung ano yung gusto niya. Gusto niya tama.
“And I don’t know why people misconceptualize her as someone who’s suplada, mataray. She’s just being her, being herself.
“So, actually, before I entered showbiz, yun din yung napakalaking misconception ko. I thought na she was suplada, very hard to reach, very hard to approach.
“Nagbago lahat nung nakilala ko.”
PEP: ISN’T HE NERVOUS ABOUT THE PROJECT? Alden admitted to encountering some not-so-good reactions from people around.
“Maraming medyo hindi favor, maraming hindi favor, maraming nagkukuwestiyon, ’Ano ba ’yan!’ Ba’t bida raw.
“It’s really upon the artist and the actors that will portray the roles...”
As far as the story is concerned, “Hindi kami kabado.”
Carmela will be written by Suzette Doctolero, the artistic and commercial success who also wrote My Husband’s lover and One True Love.
If there is anything Alden is slightly worried about, it is being teamed up with as big a star as Marian.
“Medyo worried lang kami dun sa idea of the team-up, and then dun sa, you know, maraming questions. So, ganun lang, steady."
PEP: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HIS LOVETEAM WITH LOUISE DELOS REYES? Alden is frank about this.
“Temporarily, disbanded kami. Disbanded talaga yung term,” he remarked, laughing.
“Temporarily, separate muna siya. She’s gonna do her own soap with another loveteam din. She’s gonna do a fantaserye, I don’t know the title yet.
"Ako, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Temporary separation and unhappy fans notwithstanding, Alden’s eyes sparkled as he talked about Carmela.
“This is a challenge for me personally, sa sarili ko, and, ah, excited lang akong gawin. I’m very much looking forward dun sa team-up, sana mag-work.”
Can we already call him the Prince of GMA?
His quick response, “Hindeeeeee...!”