Drama actor Richard Yap says he could also be good in action
Actor Richard Yap, known for his dramatic portrayals in “My Binondo Girl,” “Be Careful With My Heart” and, most recently, “Unbreak My Heart,” said he would love to try doing action projects in the future.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Richard took an interest in several martial arts when he was young. He first learned karate when he was a teenager, shifted to taekwondo and then later aikido. He was also influenced by one of his uncles, who taught Chinese kung fu.
“I’ve always wanted to do action. It’s just that I already feel tired just by watching my other actor friends do it. Doing all those fight scenes under the intense heat of the sun can drain you. Maybe I’d do it if our set is air-conditioned,” quipped Richard, who started his acting career at age 44.
Best action stars
Now 56, Richard is still convinced that the best action stars are those who first dabbled in martial arts when they were younger. “It’s easier for us to do fight scenes. You will see right away if a person knows how to kick, or if he has the proper form,” he explained. “These days, I’m concentrating more on golf because I’m much older now and the sport is suited for business dealings.”
However, Richard is convinced that his dream action project could still happen “one of these days.” This is because he is a close friend and business partner of Lester Pimentel Ong, lead director of the successful ABS-CBN action series “The Iron Heart,” which stars Richard Gutierrez and Jake Cuenca.
“I look forward to doing a project with Direk Lester. We’ve talked about it. I think it will happen because we’ve been talking to the same people and have been going around the same circles,” Richard told Inquirer Entertainment.
Richard and Lester are also business partners in the Wangfu chain of restaurants. In fact, the two led the formal opening of Wangfu’s ninth branch at SM Sucat on Wednesday night.
Richard first joined show biz in 2011 in “My Binondo Girl,” where he played the father to Kim Chiu’s character. Richard, who was already a successful businessman at the time, said it was actually his wife and kids who encouraged him to try out acting.
“I was ready to turn down the offer at the time. I couldn’t imagine myself acting because I didn’t even watch ‘teleseryes’ back then. My wife told me, ‘You are offered this opportunity on a platter, while other people would kill for a role like this. Just give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then get out of it.’ I also asked my children, who also said, ‘Sige, Dad!’ Surprisingly, they were the ones who pushed me to do it because if it were just me, I wouldn’t have done it,” Richard recalled.
After the run of “My Binondo Girl,” Richard said he thought of consulting industry people close to him before deciding whether or not to push through with acting. “Direk Jeffrey Jeturian told me, ‘One of these days, you’d have to make a choice. It’s either you go fulltime or quit.’ I was worried because, realistically, not a lot of people make it at my age. Even actors way younger than me would disappear after a while. I thought I wasn’t an experienced actor and it would take me a lot of time to catch up with the veterans,” he pointed out.
‘Work hard, be patient’
“Fortunately, the people around me, those who managed me, told me that I actually have a future in this industry. I just had to work hard and be patient.”
A year later, he became part of one of the most successful family-oriented romantic TV drama series produced by ABS-CBN, “Be Careful With My Heart.” Richard played opposite Jodi Sta. Maria.
During the first year of the program’s two-year run, Richard said he had problems dealing with the overwhelming attention coming from supporters. “I couldn’t take it! When people came up to me to have their photos taken, I felt uncomfortable. Later, I realized that for others, it’s a blessing to be with us even for just a short while. They feel happy and inspired when they see us. That’s the time when I’ve learned to accept that God has called me to a purpose, especially when people started asking to see me as their dying wish.”
Richard then recalled the times he visited cancer-stricken fans, and described the experience as “so heartbreaking.” The Filipino-Chinese actor added: “One patient, who was already unable to speak, cried tears of joy when I visited her at the hospital. That also made me feel emotional. A year later, I found out that she had already passed away. Experiences like that are very difficult to process. That’s why I had also wanted to work in government to address health-related concerns like this. Since my wish wasn’t granted, I’ll still try to do it some other way.”
Richard ran for representative of Cebu City’s north district in the 2019 elections, but did not win.
He considers “Be Careful With My Heart” an important milestone in his career as an actor. This year, he teamed up with Jodi once again in “Unbreak My Heart,” but Richard said he didn’t feel the nine-year gap at all. “Jodi and I have been friends ever since. That bond did not break, even when we weren’t working together. We would still communicate. When she does something, I congratulate her, and she does the same thing. We’re not just show biz friends. That’s why when we reconnected for work, we didn’t feel uncomfortable with each other,” he began.
“Unbreak My Heart” is a collaboration between ABS-CBN and GMA 7.
The only thing that changed, said Richard, was that they are both “more experienced” now. “Mas nakakasabay na tayo,” he insisted. “The project was offered to us at the right time. We’re a lot older now and are more suited to tackle themes like deep psychological and mental problems.”
Richard is also part of GMA 7’s medical drama “Abot-Kamay na Pangarap.”