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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gerald Anderson as Budoy

Gerald Anderson said that he is faced with a “very emotionally draining” role in an upcoming TV soap on ABS-CBN — but he’s not complaining.

It was initially reported that his first teleserye for this year was the action-packed Bagwis. It has, however, been put on hold to give way to Budoy, an “advocacy-oriented” drama vehicle that sees the 22-year-old actor playing the title role of a mentally retarded person.

“It’s very emotionally draining. Budoy is 22 years old, but he thinks like a 10-year-old. It’s already draining acting out a normal person with crying scenes everyday. How much more if you’re acting someone who’s mentally retarded? But I know I’m doing something right with this role,” he told The STAR in a separate interview after a presscon hosted by the skincare brand Dermablend last Wednesday. The soap line renewed Gerald’s contract as one of its two male endorsers; the other being fellow Kapamilya star Sam Milby.

There’s no word yet on Budoy’s exact airing schedule, but Gerald said it’s going to run before the year ends. As preparation, he devoured Hollywood films that tackled the same theme such as Forrest Gump and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and immersed in schools for special children, including one in Montalban, Rizal. He said, “At the schools, I would just sit in a corner and observe the students from how they eat to how they interact with their parents.”

He described his encounters with the special children as “heartwarming.” He fondly recalled, “It was very heartwarming. Di na sila umalis sa tabi ko, nakayakap, ganun sila ka sobrang malambing. Some of the kids recognized me. One said, ‘Gerald Anderson you’re my best actor.’ I was happily surprised that they knew me.” The experiences got him so inspired that he’s set on organizing celebrity basketball matches, the earnings of which will support the schools they visited.

Gerald also shared that there were times when he found it hard to shake off his role. In a recent trip to Hong Kong, he laughingly admitted slipping into character, much to the surprise of his friends. “I couldn’t help but get carried away sometimes because I’ve spent hours and hours studying the role. Once I stepped out of the car, once I’m on the set, I’m Budoy.”

Physically, the young actor had to undergo some changes. Apart from shedding off 15 pounds, his good looks are being downplayed. Interestingly, he played a similarly offbeat role who suffered from a medical condition called Tourette Syndrome for Maalaala Mo Kaya. His performance was recognized in several award-giving bodies.

Asked if this type of role is an attempt to “deglamorize” him as an actor, he said, “Hindi ko alam why I’m given these roles, but I’m thankful. If they deglamorize me, I hope so because that’s what I want.”

“Sanay ako sa nagpapa-cute, may ka-loveteam at nagsusubuan ng ice cream,” he added jokingly, “and there’s nothing wrong with it, since dun ako nagsimula.

“But it’s time to move on. And I want to change my look in every soap. Sometimes, when I take a look at scenes we shot for Budoy in the video playback, I think to myself: ‘Is that really me?’ I really get to look different here.”

Moving on also meant venturing into Kim Chiu-less acting territory. It was early this year when Gerald reportedly parted ways with Kim, also his perennial love team partner, although the two never made it crystal-clear — just coy references on the pains of separation in interviews — if they were truly a romantic item or close to it.

But their love team is known to have one of the most rabid followings around, who have been vocal about their unhappiness over the fate that has befallen Kimerald (the uni-name that fans christened the tandem). Now, it seems there’s no stopping the two from steadily moving into opposite directions. Kim is also starring in her own teleserye Binondo Girl.

But Gerald said there will always be Kimerald and that possibility of a future project together, but at this point, he is asking fans to accept their situation. “She’s very happy, I’m very happy and we’re both busy. (But) we’re friends. If she has problems, I’m here for her.”

Gerald, nevertheless, admitted that it’s tough going solo because their love team lasted for four years, with a slew of projects that required them to be practically together every day. But the changes are for the best.

He stressed, “The love team, Kimerald, is a love team and we’ll always be a love team. Magkakaroon din kami ng mga projects.”

“But for now, I’m happy and excited at how things are going for the both of us. In my case, it’s also more challenging to give support to new and different leading ladies,” shared Gerald who’s going to partner anew with Sarah Geronimo in a film later this year after their first big screen teamup last March. He will also have Jessie Mendiola (star of Sabel) as love interest in Budoy.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a love team partner. But if you’re working with the same person all the time, what’s going to be the challenge there? What else can you show? For now, I’m going to focus on being a solo actor. I want to be versatile.”

He also wants to inspire with his new project. “The preparation has been really difficult because as an actor, I want to give justice to the role. I’m not aiming (for an acting award) but if mapansin ako, okay na talaga sa akin. But I aim for inspiration. I’m really thankful to be in this position. The more sumisikat ka, the more people look up to you and the more you want to set a good example. And that’s really my target for Budoy. I want to inspire people through this TV series. That’s my main priority.”



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