Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Always be my bespren

Gerald Anderson consented to an exclusive interview for Jules Explains it All on the day he celebrated his 10th anniversary in showbiz with a special production number on ASAP. Thanks, bespren!
Gerald Anderson and I first met in 2006, at a press conference shortly after the finale of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition season one. I was the first reporter who sat down with him that day, and for some reason we hit it off. Maybe because I was the only one present who was close to him in age—he was about 16 then, and I was 21—so he probably felt like he could relate to me more. 

Whatever it was, I’m thankful, because that day I ended up making a friend for life. I’d do anything for Gerald, and I know he’d do anything for me. 

So on the day of his recent birthday prod on ASAP, I secured permission from his handler Nhila Mallari to interview him in his dressing room. When Ate Nhila gave me the all-clear, I got in touch with my photographer friend Allan Sancon and asked him to do the interview for me. When Gerald found out the interview was for my blog, he opened up the way he probably would have if I was the one doing it.

In 2012, word broke out about a controversy involving Gerald and two other celebrities. That took me completely by surprise, but I decided to go and get the story straight from him. I felt confident he would open up to me, and sure enough, he did. It’s been four years since that conversation, and I’ve never breathed a word of it to anyone. I suppose that’s why Gerald feels comfortable telling me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

So for this interview, I told Kuya Allan to ask Gerald about the ten most memorable moments of his career thus far in celebration of his 10th anniversary in the business. Gerald rattled off a list of his projects and other things, and I added my own commentary to it. 

Check out “our list” below. 

1. Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition and the Kimerald love team - “Unang-una yun, siyempre,” Gerald said. It’s only right that the teleserye ng totoong buhay was the first thing that came to mind. After all, it was the show that “made” him and Kim Chiu, who became his onscreen partner for the first half of his career. Their partnership became known as Kimerald, and they were a force to be reckoned with until they parted ways in 2010. However, they reunited briefly for a couple of one-off projects, including the Star Cinema ensemble movie 24/7 in Love. Kim and Gerald have different onscreen partners now, but the door remains open for a full-fledged Kimerald reunion someday, in the movies or on TV. I’d like that, wouldn’t you? 

2. The Kimerald movies – Like Gerald, I have a special place in my heart for the movies he made with Kim. I imagine they’re special to him because their popularity as a love team was at its peak when they were making those movies. Whenever I think of First Day High, I’ve Fallen For You, Paano Na Kaya, and their last movie as a love team, Till My Heartaches End, I remember all the memories he, Kim and I made together. For instance, the premiere night of Paano Na Kaya was the first one I went to as a guest, not a member of the press. Gerald himself invited me and I was seated next to the rest of his barkada. After the premiere, we all went to the after party to celebrate. 

Gerald, me, and Kim Chiu at the after party of the Paano Na Kaya premiere night. This photo doesn't quite capture how much fun we had eating Chinese food and talking about the movie, but I decided to use it anyway.
3. Sana Maulit MuliHis first real teleserye with Kim. Before it aired, most people still saw them as little more than reality-show graduates. Those same people also wondered if Kim and Gerald had what it took to headline a show on the Primetime Bida block. I loved this show because I thought its time travel concept was unique, and thankfully audiences agreed with me. It became such a success that its finale earned a 40.6% nationwide rating and TBS, a Taiwanese network, bought the rights to it. They changed its title to Chances and began airing it in Taiwan in 2008. I remember that while all this was happening, I was thinking, “Way to silence the naysayers, Ge!” 

4. Tayong DalawaWho can forget the moment when Gerald, playing JR Garcia, cradled his fallen brother (played by Jake Cuenca) and screamed, to no one in particular, “Solider down!” I loved that scene so much that for a time, I made that line my ringtone. Hehe. At the time, the role of JR was his most demanding one in many ways, especially physically. To prepare for their roles as members of the armed forces, he and his co-stars trained alongside cadets at the Philippine Military Academy. Once, Gerald and I were talking about the time he spent there, and when I told him I was a Citizens’ Army Training (CAT) officer in high school, he confessed that Tayong Dalawa made him wish he had been able to do the same. “Baka naging mas madali sa akin yung pag-adjust sa regimen sa PMA if nakapag-CAT rin ako,” he said ruefully. 

5. On the JobIn most of his previous projects—particularly the ones he did when he was starting out—Gerald relied heavily on his good looks. But he changed gears when he signed on to play the role of hired killer Daniel Benitez and realized that pretty-boy posturing wouldn’t help him pull it off properly. Gerald did his own research on hitmen, life in prison and thought about what he could do to look more like his character. He even went so far as to tell the director Erik Matti that he wanted to shave his eyebrows. How’s that for dedication? Trivia: I put up a scene from On the Job in my Star Magic Workshops Advanced Acting Level 1 class. I was assigned to play Joel Torre’s character Mario “Tatang” Maghari, the mentor of Gerald’s character. When I told Gerald about it, he said, “Ay sayang, kung si Daniel yung character mo matutulungan kita.” It's cool, but I hope I get the chance to play a character Gerald has played soon! I’d love to be “mentored” by him. Hehe. 

6. Halik Sa HanginThis romance-horror movie was directed by Manny Palo and written by Enrico Santos, and it saw Gerald help Julia Montes transition to more mature roles. A love scene between them made it to the final cut of this movie, and Gerald told reporters during a press conference that he took very good care of Julia while filming the love scene. Moreover, Halik Sa Hangin is on this list because according to Gerald, it required him to dig deeper than usual. “What’s tough about my role is that it requires a whole range of emotions,” he said at the time. 

7. Awards and citations – Winning awards isn’t everything, but there’s no denying that it feels good when an award-giving body sees fit to give you one. For Gerald, it’s just another sign that his hard work on his projects has paid off. He earned his first acting award in 2010, when the Philippine Movie Press Club awarded him the Best Single Performance by an Actor trophy for his performance in Maalaala Mo Kaya: Lubid. His portrayal of a young man with Tourette’s syndrome also earned for him the SISA Choice Awards’ Outstanding Featured Male Character in a Drama Program and the Gawad Tanglaw Best Actor awards. Gerald has since won more awards for his subsequent work, all of them driving home the point that winning is sweet, but the knowledge that he worked hard for what he won is even sweeter.

8. Being able to help others – I’ve always said that when you’re famous, you have to do something with your fame—something besides pose for photos and sign autographs. To his credit, Gerald has made sure to put his name behind worthwhile causes, like cancer awareness and helping kids with special needs. Every year since he entered showbiz, Gerald has celebrated his birthday with the children of the Cancer Warriors Foundation. When he brought to life the mentally challenged titular character in the advocacy-serye Budoy, Gerald spent time with the kids of Cottolengo Filipino. He was so touched by the experience that he decided to include them on the guest list for his yearly birthday party. Gerald truly has a heart of gold, doesn’t he?

Gerald with one of the kids from Cottolengo Filipino, Inc. at his birthday celebration on March 7, 2012 at Jollibee in C5, Libis. The Cottolengo kids are close to Gerald's heart because he spent time there preparing for his role in Budoy.
9. The Gerald Anderson Foundation – Speaking of birthdays, Gerald turned 27 this month. True to form, he used his 27th as a platform from which to raise funds for his latest project. Gerald, with the help of his family and some friends, put up a foundation that trains dogs to be used in search and rescue operations when calamities strike. I know this is something that’s truly close to his heart. Not only is Gerald a dog lover, but he has been known to help total strangers in times of trouble. (Remember what he did for his neighbors when Typhoon Ondoy struck in 2009?) When I found out about this, I seriously considered asking Gerald and his team to train my two golden retrievers. Wouldn’t that be cool? What do you say, Cheesestick and Muffin? Want to become superhero dogs? Haha!

10. Always Be My MaybeIt’s no surprise that Gerald put this on the list, because I don’t think any movie of his has been met with more enthusiastic reviews. As of this writing, the movie has made P100 million at the tills. I think ABMM's success is down to a combination of Direk Dan Villegas’s skillful handling of the material and Gerald’s chemistry with his leading lady Arci Munoz. I’d actually like to see them in another project together, provided the right script comes along—and if Direk Dan is available to helm it again!

As I was writing my commentary on each item, I realized that it’s been ten years since Gerald and I became friends. Although we don’t see each other as often as we used to, I know that when I do run into Gerald again, we’ll pick up exactly where we left off. There are a lot of maybes in this world, especially in showbiz, but my friendship with him isn’t one of them.

Did you like this post? Sound off in the comments!

Interview and main photo by Allan Sancon for Jules Explains it All.
Special thanks to Nhila Mallari of Star Magic.

3 comments

  1. I love you lablab, gerald

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for this awesome blog about Gerald. God bless u

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  3. Made me cry reminiscing Kimerald memories. Those were the days na Kimerald ang ultimate loveteam ❤ Thank you for this sir julian :)

    ReplyDelete

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