If there is any actor on TV or the movies who has succeeded in one superhero role after another in Philippine showbiz, it has to be Richard Gutierez.
From Aguiluz in Mulawin—considered the very first “fantaserye” on local TV—to Sugo, Captain Barbel, Lupin, and Zorro, Richard’s quiet and mysterious persona, coupled with his towering and burly physique, has always made him a perfect match for stories with handsome and golden hearted leads out to save the world.
This month, three years since he last appeared in a TV series, Richard is raring to stage a comeback on prime time television via the newest remake of the iconic komiks series ‘Ang Panday.’
Promising to be the “grandest modernized” version of the Carlo J. Caparas classic, Richard will breathe life anew to the revered character of Pinoy superhero Flavio, a blacksmith who rose to fame via four blockbuster movies headlined by the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr.
“Malaking karangalan sa akin na maging isang Panday. Of course, si FPJ ang unang nagpasikat sa character ni Panday so I know that I have some big shoes to fill,” said Richard at the show’s official launch on February 9 in Quezon City.
Panday through the years
FPJ’s “Panday” emerged as top grosser in the 1980 Metro Manila Film Festival, which was followed by three highly successful installments.
Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, meanwhile, had their own versions of Panday with Dugong Panday in 1993 and Hiwagang Panday in 1998, respectively.
Revilla did two more Panday projects in 2009 and 2011, Ang Panday and Ang Panday 2 for the Metro Manila Film Festival, both of which were also blockbuster hits.
As for television, the most successful remake of Panday had Jericho Rosales in the lead for two installments in ABS-CBN.
New generation’s Panday
Tasked to introduce the iconic Panday to the present generation is noted director Mac Alejandre who is closely working with Caparas as creative consultant to ensure a fitting interpretation of the character in 2016.
All the same, the Viva and TV5 co-production will trace Flavio’s tale from birth to his adventures as a blacksmith who goes up against arch nemesis Lizardo and his evil cohorts with the use of his sword bearing supernatural powers.
According to Caparas, the modernized version will be given a “timely” twist when viewers discover that Flavio is a foundling and that he has a brother.
“His sibling turns out to be raised by bad elements while Flavio is taken care of by a priest,” said Panday’s creator.
Joining Richard as Lizardo is veteran actor Christopher de Leon in a role originally portrayed on the big screen by the late character actor Max Alavarado.
Also in the cast are new child wonder Alonzo Muhlach, leading ladies Sam Pinto, Jasmine Curtis and Bangs Garcia, as well as supporting actors Ara Mina, CJ Caparas, Regine Tolentino, Empoy and Ranz Kyle, among others.
Promising the best version of the superhero yet, Richard declared, “I’m not thinking of anything else. Buong pagkatao ko nasa ‘Panday.’ It’s perfect timing because matagal nga akong nawala [from TV]and I’m thankful I was surrounded by supportive people so confident ako.”
Ang Panday is set for a February 29 premiere on TV 5.