UP Fighting Maroons’ Ricci Rivero’s 1st movie starrer almost 3 years in the making
While basketball is his top priority for the foreseeable future, Ricci Rivero said he’s always open to dabbling in other fields outside sports. And right now, acting is something he enjoys and hopes to be good at.
“I don’t see myself yet as successful in basketball or acting. I just want to continue putting in the work. I’m always into trying new things. I have always been interested in local films; I enjoy them. When I was told there were opportunities to work with actors, I felt happy because I was looking forward to learning from them. I’m open to different crafts or fields,” he said in a virtual conference for “Happy Times,” an original film by the online streaming platform Upstream PH.
Ricci, who looks up to the likes of John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual and Daniel Padilla, said show biz also gives him a much-needed breather. “Even if you really love what you do, you still can get tired at times. I try to seek things that I enjoy and make me happy,” said Ricci, who plays for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines. “And for me, it’s acting.”
Asked what adjustments he had to make in his foray into entertainment, the 23-year-old athlete said he had to learn to become more confident starting conversations with new people. “I try communicating as much as possible, because I tend to be shy with people I don’t know well yet. Now, I try to approach people—especially my workmates—so we can have a nice atmosphere on the set,” he said.
Ricci’s first project was the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival horror film “Otlum,” where he was part of an ensemble cast. “Happy Times” is a big step up, because it’s his first starring movie. Excitement and nervousness, he said, were the overwhelming emotions he felt upon learning about the project.
“When I found out they were planning a launching film for me, I didn’t know exactly what to feel. I found myself in silent prayer: I thanked the Lord and asked Him to help me do my job and portray my character well … to help me give what the director wants,” he related.
Directed by Ice Idanan, the romantic comedy film follows Toni (Sharlene San Pedro), a high school student who’s infatuated with Kim (Ricci), the campus varsity jock. When Kim starts befriending Toni, the latter assumes that he also likes her—only to find out later on that it’s her sister, George (Heaven Peralejo), the player wants to pursue.
Chemistry came naturally for Ricci and Sharlene—of the “SharCci” tandem as their fans fondly call them—because they get along very well offscreen. “While the director is my coach, my costars are my teammates. If I’m having a hard time, I ask them what’s the best way to deliver a line, or how to react to what the other characters are doing. I had many questions and they made sure to help and guide me,” he said.
The movie, produced by Reality MM Studios, was almost three years in the making. The challenge, Ricci related, was juggling his training sessions and taping days. “At first it was really hard. I was talking to Direk, telling her, ‘Sana kayanin.’ And she motivated me, telling me that I should get some rest, that I could do it,” he said.
This is where Ricci’s discipline as an athlete came in handy. “So while we were filming, I thought, ‘How can we do this, if I myself don’t believe I can do it?’ But as long as you’re devoted to your craft, you can do it,” he said, adding that he didn’t mind the film premiering on a streaming platform instead of the cinemas, as originally planned prior to the pandemic. “We’re just thankful.”
Ricci acknowledged that he still has a lot to learn about acting and that criticisms will be inevitable. But everyone starts somewhere. And for now, it’s about working on the things he can control. “I can’t help what other people think about me, so I will stick to the things that are within my control,” he said.
But it’s also important, he added, to recognize his mistakes and weaknesses. “I do read some comments to know if there are things I can change … I ask the people I work with to tell me if I’m doing something wrong … I feel like I have grown over the years, I feel there’s improvement. We try to do better every day,” he said. But we must also accept our shortcomings. Otherwise, we will have a hard time improving ourselves.” INQ
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