In his first lead role since transferring to ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez
plays the gifted Apollo in ‘The Iron Heart.’ INSTAGRAM PHOTOS/
STARCREATIVESTV
In his first lead role since transferring to ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez plays the gifted Apollo in ‘The Iron Heart.’ INSTAGRAM PHOTOS/ STARCREATIVESTV

Before becoming a heartthrob in his teens, and eventually a leading man for TV shows and movies, Richard Gutierrez was a regular kid who had passion for martial arts.

Raised in California, Gutierrez would attend martial arts classes after school. At one point, he became a state champion in karate.

Today, the 38-year-old is a karate black belter who also practices mixed martial arts.

With this background, it comes as no surprise that some of his most memorable roles on television are in the action genre.

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It has been a while, however, since Gutierrez took on a lead role for an action series. He last played a villain in "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano" but the martial artist was left wanting to do more.

Enter "The Iron Heart," an action series that will premiere on November 14.

The show — which also stars Jake Cuenca, Sue Ramirez, Sofia Andres, Pepe Hererra, Baron Geisler, Althea Ruedas and Dimples Romana, among others — will see Gutierrez playing the role of Apollo.

A seemingly ordinary individual with a powerful punch, Apollo will use his special skill to avenge the death of his family.

The actor is also excited to showcase his martial arts training in the
program.
The actor is also excited to showcase his martial arts training in the program.

"Matagal na akong hindi napapanood na gumawa ng action like this and we wanted to showcase that again to our audience," Gutierrez said at his show's grand media conference.

While he was seen doing what would qualify as action in "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano," the actor said his new role will show more of his martial arts skills.

"Yung 'Probinsyano,' very classic yung approach nya sa action, and most of the action scenes are gun fights. Hindi ko rin masyado napakita yung capabilities ko sa action. So we wanted to showcase everything here sa 'Iron Heart.'

"We wanted more hand-to-hand combat, a more modern approach in terms of cinematography," Gutierrez detailed.

Director Lester Pimentel Ong agreed, adding that the show will also use modern gun fighting style pegged from Hollywood films.

Ong also shared how important it was to have Gutierrez play the real role for the show that was five years in the making.

"One of the few, real martial artists in showbiz is Richard. Kung gumagalaw siya, it's really genuine, it's not something he just learned for the show, it's something he has been doing since he was a kid so we're very fortunate to have him."

Larger than life

While the extra strength of Gutierrez's character could easily make the impression that "The Iron Heart" is another fantasy series, its creative manager Jay Fernando clarified that the show's story is actually "larger than life."

"Hindi siya fantasy pero meron lang siyang elements that could be larger than life, just to keep the show entertaining and to give the audience a different experience," Fernando said.

His iron-strength punch may be a heightened reality but Fernando assures that it has a scientific basis.

"We had a scientific research to back it up, to make it realistic and believable even if it seems unreal or fantastical."

Maja's special participation

Another exciting aspect of the show is Maja Salvador's special participation.

The actress' last project in ABS-CBN was the 2020 prime time show, "The Killer Bride." She is currently appearing on TV5 and GMA so her "return" to Kapamilya excited her fans.

Salvador and Gutierrez revealed that their management had been planning to put them together in one project several times before, but nothing would push through.

"Nung sinabi na may show with Richard, sabi ko sige pakinggan ko, baka ito na yung tamang panahon para magsama kami ni Richard," Salvador recalled.

"After nun, may konting revisions lang and yun lumipad na ako agad sa Cebu at pagdating ko, parang nakabenteng thank you si Richard," the actress teased.

Turning more serious this time, she added, "Nakakatuwa na kasali ako dito sa 'Iron Heart.' Madali lang ako napapayag because of course, it's under Star Creatives. Ang dami ko nagawang magagandang shows with them."

"The Iron Heart" premieres November 14, Monday, 8:45 p.m. on A2Z, Kapamilya Channel, TV5 Jeepney TV, iWantTFC, TFC (The Filipino Channel), and ABS-CBN Entertainment YouTube channel.