Tonton Gutierrez’s biggest acting challenge: to mimic Pokwang
One thing Tonton Gutierrez realized about navigating life in a pandemic is that one can never be too careful. But despite all the precautions he takes, he still, somehow, ended up testing positive for COVID-19 just recently. “Of course, everyone is worried about getting the disease. But I was being careful and I still got it. I don’t know how. I was looking back and wondering how I acquired it. But I can’t really pinpoint when, where or how,” he said in a recent virtual conference for the “It’s Not You, It’s Me” episode of the GMA 7 fantasy anthology “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko.”
“I’m with my wife (Glydel Mercado) most of the time, and she doesn’t have it. My family tested negative as well,” he added.
Good thing he’s fully vaccinated, which he believes was the reason he didn’t experience any symptoms. “Thank God, the vaccine worked. At least I didn’t feel anything. I will tell my friends who have yet to get themselves vaccinated to go for it. It’s very important. I have been in this situation and it’s good that I didn’t infect anyone in my family,” said Tonton, who subjected himself to a 14-day quarantine just to be safe. “I didn’t feel anything. I was fine. They warned me that anxiety may get into me. Luckily, I didn’t have those thoughts. I wasn’t anticipating symptoms or thinking about what will happen. After my 14th day of quarantine at home, I was tested again and it came back negative,” he said. The 57-year-old actor doesn’t want this incident to deter him from working. “The fear will always be there. I guess I feel a little more secure because of the vaccine. You can only do so much, but just be careful as much as you can,” he said.
In “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” Tonton is paired with Pokwang, who, together, play a married couple whose bodies get switched. “I usually do heavy drama, I’m really excited to do this with Pokwang, who’s very fun to be with,” he said. As someone naturally quiet and reserved, Tonton’s biggest challenge is trying to mimic Pokwang’s animated way of talking and speaking. “I was nervous, wondering how I would imitate her movement and acting? I also had to change my voice,” he said. “I tried to observe her carefully and tried to copy her mannerisms. But I think it turned out OK!”
He was also impressed with Pokwang’s growth as an actress. “I think she has gotten more intense and deep,” Tonton said of his costar, whom he had worked with in previous television projects. “After a pivotal scene, the production crew and staff couldn’t help but applaud, because she was very good,” he said.
The show’s theme is about maintaining a happy, lasting marriage—fitting for Tonton, whose relationship with Glydel remains strong after 17 years.
“We have been a couple for 23 years and married for 17. Just enjoy the journey of married life. There will be some turmoil and adjustments, especially in the beginning. But as you go along, you begin to know each other even better and you become more comfortable showing your true selves. You have to accept and deal with challenges you encounter together. And put God at the center of your relationship,” he said.
They have two daughters, Aneeza, 16, and Aneeka, 9. Will he be open to the idea of his children joining show biz?
“My eldest, Aneeza, I think is interested. She actually did a film topbilled by JD Domagoso (“Jolly Spirit Squad”), but couldn’t be released because of the pandemic. But she was only able to squeeze that in because it was during summer. But my deal with her is to finish her studies and college first. That’s the main priority. After that, she can do what she wants,” he said.
Leave politics to politicians
Meanwhile, with the 2022 national elections approaching, Tonton admitted that he has gotten queries whether he would be interested in running for a seat in Pampanga, where his mother, actress Liza Lorena hails.
But politics, he stressed, just isn’t for him. “I have friends in politics, but like I always say, it’s not in my blood. I would rather help others in my own little way, rather than enter politics. Hands off ako diyan,” he said. “May nagpapasaring, nagtatanong, pero I tell them, ‘Pass ako diyan. I will leave that to the politicians.’”
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