Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Gabby Concepcion ‘My life now is one day at a time’

Vanessa Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - For Gabby Concepcion, story is king. The 80s matinee idol won’t be bothered with ill-conceived material, grabbing only those offers that excite him from the get-go.

You could say he felt that flutter of excitement upon reading the script of “Because of You,” GMA-7’s currently airing romantic-comedy in the evening primetime slot, which the actor stars in alongside Carla Abellana, Rafael Rosell and Valerie Concepcion.

“The moment I read the script, I really loved the storyline,” Gabby says during an interview at Abaseria restaurant in Barangay Mabolo during the recent Sinulog weekend. “It’s just like reading a book. If you like what you’re reading, than you’re going to finish the entire thing.”

“Then we had a formal meeting with the entire cast, and all the ingredients were complete. It’s different from all the other dramas that I’ve done.”

This is Gabby’s first project with the Kapuso network since his 2008 showbiz comeback, though he says he then had a movie deal with GMA-7 that he backed out of due to some creative concerns on his part that weren’t addressed.

This time around, the former “Close-up boy” has nothing but praise for the light fare offered to him towards yearend of 2015.

“‘Because of You’ came at a very good time. When I arrived in 2008, I told myself I needed to do something different. So I started singing and came out with an album,” he shares.

“Last year, I was thinking, I didn’t want to do another all-out drama, since that’s what I’ve been doing for a long time now. Sometimes, you need to do something different, right? It’s even said that a person should reinvent every five years because the body changes every five years: our hair, our blood, our skin, it all changes.”

In “Because of You,” Gabby is Jaime, a dapper fashion tycoon married to a bored former beauty queen (Valerie Concepcion). The pampered wife wants out, and it’s during these trying times that Jaime bumps into Andrea (Carla), a brokenhearted orphan whose one great desire is to fill up the emptiness of having been left alone by her parents.

On the best feedback he’s heard so far about “Because of You,” Gabby shares, “That the characters are on point. Even the barkada of Carla is funny, and even my bodyguard is gaining notice. There are a lot of sub-stories where we can induce laughs. And these aren’t forced or the slapstick kind.”

Living in the now

In selecting scripts, Gabby says he always goes by gut feel, and contributes what he can to the betterment of a story.

“I don’t know what it is, but I can feel it. Even if everything I want aren’t in there, but if I can see there are elements that can be improved on…if during first reading, I feel it’s good, I say that we should develop it. If there’s something to improve on, we fix it,” says Gabby.

As he’s already done offbeat roles in the 90s (“I was a villain in a movie with Rudy Fernandez, Bong Revilla and Philip Salvador.”), Gabby says that these days, he pines for characters that are “finding themselves.”

“For example, a guy who was in an accident and wakes up not knowing who he is so he finds himself…something like that. That happened to me in ‘Una Ka Naging Akin,’ but just very briefly. I regained my memories right away,” he says.

And as much as he’d love to reunite with former leading ladies including  Lorna Tolentino, Vilma Santos, Snooky Serna, Dawn Zulueta and Janice de Belen, Gabby is also eager to test his chemistry with new generation stars like Jennylyn Mercado and Marian Rivera or try his comedic chops with AiAi delas Alas.

All these are just thinking out loud though for Gabby, for he says he’s no longer that actor who maps out his moves for the long term. “My life came to a point…my idea of being in showbiz is, I take one project at a time,” the father of five explains. “I no longer plan what my next projects are, because we don’t know when they come, unless I myself produce it. I tried producing before and it’s difficult, so I’ll just stick to being an actor. My life now is one day at a time. And that’s the nice thing about it: the mystery and not knowing what’s going to happen.”

All-girl brood

Still a looker at 51, Gabby insists there’s really nothing fancy or complicated in maintaining his youthful, dreamboat features all these years.

“Thanks to my genes!” he shyly grins, before seriously adding, “I think number one is to really moisturize. I rarely visit the derma in the United States, and I was there for 13 years, but I really moisturized.”

But maybe he also has his all-girl brood to thank? Females, after all, love to take care of the man in their lives, as Gabby himself attests.

“Oh, I’m so lucky to have all girls!” exclaims Gabby, referring to his five daughters: KC (with Sharon Cuneta), Garrie (with Grace Ibuna), Cloie (with Jenny Syquia) and Samantha Alexis and Savannah (with current wife Genevieve Gonzalez). “Because girls take care of their parents.” (FREEMAN)


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