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Entertainment

Tonton wants to act as long as he can

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Tonton wants to act as long as he can

MANILA, Philippines — Tonton Gutierrez is one of local showbiz’s dependable actors. He can cross over from TV to movies, and almost run the entire gamut of genres. The value of versatility is one thing young artists could glean from his career run.

“You know, I really have no idea,” replied the actor when asked about his successful transition or breaking away from being a matinee idol-leading man to a reliable actor in a recent media call via Zoom. “Perhaps, in my situation, I just try to be professional. I just try to do my job as good as I can. Nandyan na yung pakikisama mo sa mga tao (You have to get along with everyone).” Part of it, as he put it, is “Loving what you do.” No one can go wrong with that.

Tonton, who has embraced the art of portraying diverse characters, added that being “totoo ka sa mga taong kaharap mo, hindi ka magiging pasaway, hindi ka magiging plastic (being true to others and committed to your work)” will make a talent sustain a showbiz career or stay in the industry for a long time. He has no plans to foray into other fields like politics because Tonton is happy with show business.

“I have friends who are in politics,” shared he. “Ang sabi ko nga, parang mukhang hindi nasa dugo ko yung politics (I would tell them that politics seems not in my blood). I’d rather help people in my own little way… Hands-off ako dyan. Gusto ko lang simpleng buhay lang ako (I’m hands-off from it and I just want a simple life).” But Tonton admitted that he would get inquiries from some people, who are curious about him giving politics a try. “Sabi ko, ‘Pass ako dyan,’” he said. “I’d leave (that to) the politicians, that I’ll be just here, dito lang ako.”

Tonton Gutierrez is always up for the challenge to play diverse roles. His Homer, who body swaps with wife, Sunshine, played by Pokwang (second from right), in GMA 7’s Daig Kayo Ng Lola Ko: It’s Not You, It’s Me is proof to that. With him (from left) are Frances Makil, Paul Salas and Shanelle Agustin.

That means one thing for Tonton: To continuously pursue acting.

“I’d like to stay in this business for as long as I can because I love what I’m doing,” said he. As for future characters that he would like to tick off on his list, Tonton had this to say: “I have nothing in mind right now. But every role that I get is a new role, kumbaga, whether it is a new one or an old one or (it’s something) I’ve done before, I try to change it a bit (or give it a new flavor).”

Clearly, the actor is always up for the challenge to play characters that brighten up audiences’ day or make them think of their station in life. That’s why Tonton was game to be Homer, husband of Pokwang’s character, Sunshine, in GMA 7’s Daig Kayo Ng Lola Ko: It’s Not You, It’s Me. Their characters, as a couple facing a marital rift, get entangled in the “body swapping” narrative twist. The fantasy series airs Sunday nights at 7.

“When I read the script, I told myself, ‘Kakaiba ito (This is different),’” said Tonton on how the project piqued his interest. “It’s about switching roles, like my character from being a father to a mother… sabi ko napaka-ganda nito, parang ang sarap gawin nito (I found the role interesting to do).” Playing Homer is a breather from his drama and action-laden previous works. Tonton has also been given another chance to work with Pokwang, whom he worked with in a series some years back.

“Ito parang magaan, tapos kasama mo pa si Pokwang (It was light and Pokwang was also in it),” shared Tonton. “I was really excited and at the same time, I felt a bit nervous, like how I would imitate the acting of Pokwang. Pag nagsalita siya, magalaw, ako naman, hindi naman ako ganun. So, it was a bit challenging and I was excited when I read the script.” As expected, Tonton delivers and makes Homer well-suited to his latest body. He also acknowledged Pokwang’s encouragement in portraying Homer.

“She was very kind and she would tell me, ‘Kaya mo yan,’ ‘OK ka,’ ‘Kaya mo yan, ikaw pa.’ (You can do it and you’re doing just fine.) I just observed her in a way, siyempre dati nakakasama ko na si Pokwang sa soap. More or less, I tried to copy her movements. I guess it turned out OK.”

When it comes to lessons viewers, particularly couples, can learn from Tonton and Pokwang’s Daig Kayo Ng Lola Ko episode, he said: “Not to take each other for granted, which means respect each other’s needs and wants.”

Given the chance to switch bodies with somebody or to be in somebody’s shoes for a day, Tonton would like to be in his mother’s (veteran actress Liza Lorena).

“I’d like to see… how I was growing up, how I was being a son to her parang ganun,” said he.

Meanwhile, his marriage with Glydel Mercado is one of showbiz’s strongest. They’ve been married for 17 years. The couple is able to strike a balance between family and showbiz duties.

“From the very beginning, I would avoid being in that situation and even to go there, to that situation,” said Tonton of the problem his character is dealing with in the series. “Like in my life right now, I always look at things not only from my side (from my perspective), (but) also from the side of my wife. Kunwari sa tingin ko parang ayaw niya yung ginagawa ko, then I would tone down and change whatever yung bagay na hindi niya gusto. I would very much avoid it to get to that point. By doing things on your own, in your own little way, hindi na kayo aabot sa ganoong sitwasyon.”

With that, knowing what your partner’s preferences and pet peeves will also make a difference. A married life also boils down to understanding and loving.

Tonton and Pokwang’s Homer and Sunshine seem to share that to all.

Tonton with wife Glydel Mercado and their daughters Aneeza and Aneeka.
Photos from Glydel Mercado’s Instagram

TONTON GUTIERREZ
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