In preparation for the vengeance arc of his character in the series, “The World Between Us,” Alden Richards had to make some lifestyle changes to make sure that his physical appearance aptly reflected the hardships and injustices Louie Asuncion faced.
“Physically, I had to change my lifestyle. I slimmed down … I now work out five times a week and make sure I maintain a healthy diet. Gaming no longer keeps me up all night,” he said in a virtual conference for his primetime soap, which returned on air on Nov. 22, after a three-month season break.
There was pressure, Alden admitted, because he had long been touting Louie’s transformation:
From simple and hardworking orphaned tech genius, he rose through the ranks to become an executive in his adoptive mentor’s phone company. But when a rival frames him for a crime he didn’t commit, he serves time in prison and eventually emerges as an edgy, vindictive tech top dog, who’s out to take what he thinks is rightfully is.
“We promised these changes … When you commit something to the audience, you will do anything to give the character justice. I still worked on my character during the breaks,” he added. “True enough, if you look at my character, I had a different look in each of the story’s three phases.”
He even used his own clothes, cars and accessories for Louie’s ascent in the technology world. “Akin ‘yung ibang mga gamit. I really committed myself to it. Whatever I could do to help, I did. The locked-in taping setup helped me focus. And I hope it becomes a common practice moving forward because it allows the show more time to prepare.”
Louie’s current personality couldn’t be more different from Alden’s. So how does a person who “rarely gets upset and angry in real life” portray someone so hard-nosed and volatile.
“I have been preparing for a role like this for a long time. I could finally dust off the character I had created in my head—inspired by the shows and movies I have watched—for his show,” he said.
Besides, one can’t always rely on personal experience in shaping his or her character.
“You have to study. I believe that, as actors, we have to work hard if we want to become effective. I agree that personal life and past experiences can be big factors in playing your character,” he said. “But acting is acting. It’s up to you where you get the nuances and motivations for the emotions.”
While the series has been warmly received by viewers, criticisms here and there are inevitable. Such is the nature of social media, Alden said. But the 29-year-old star and his coactors choose to take those in stride.
“The reality now, especially with social media, is that everyone will have an opinion. As creators, we just use that as inspiration to make our projects better for the people who support us … But at the end of the day, we know in ourselves that we did a great job,” Alden said.