ALDEN Richards is understandably confident that his new drama show, “The Gift”, will be a fitting follow up project to his highly successful recent blockbuster movie, “Hello, Love, Goodbye”. “GMA-7 made sure this project will touch the heart of viewers, like the way our movie did,” he says. “They left no stone unturned in coming up with a crowdpleaser. I play a role I’ve never played before, that of young man who goes blind and gains the gift of being able to see into a person’s past and also his future. Sa story, kapag nahawakan ko ang isang tao, nakikita ko ang nangyari sa nakaraan niya at ang maaaring mangyari sa kinabukasan niya. Grabe rin ang budget ng GMA sa crowd scenes dito. Ginastusan nila ang crowd scenes sa palengke where we use up to 250 extras.”
The show’s director, Lord Alvin 'LA' Madridejos, attests to this. “Alden as Sep here is a fruit vendor in Divisoria,” he says. “We want to be authentic so we tried to shoot in the actual Divisoria, but the success of his movie made him so popular with the masses today. We know there will be a crowd to watch the shooting but we didn’t expect na ganun karami ang taong darating. We had 20 policemen with us, 20 barangay tanods plus 'yung security men pa ng GMA, lahat sila, walang nagawa sa tao kasi nilalabanan sila. Tinatanong sila, bakit, anong gagawin nyo sa amin. Ito namang si Alden, napaka-friendly sa fans, kahit binabawalan mo na, ayaw makinig, mabait talaga at siya pa ang lumalapit. After several tries, we decided to quit. Tatlong beses kaming nag-attempt mag-shoot sa Divisoria, laging nauuwi sa pack up dahil inuulan pa kami. So we just put up a set sa isang warehouse sa Murphy. Ayaw sana naming dayain, but we have no choice but just get establishing shots of Divisoria sa drones then 'yung ibang scenes, sa set na lang where we use hundreds of extras as the vendors and as the people na namimili sa palengke.”
So how is Alden in the role of a blind guy? “The role is very challenging for him kasi asset ni Alden ang very expressive eyes niya. E, dito, dapat, laging deadpan lang 'yung eyes niya. Sabi ko, tanggalin namin 'yung emosyon. He should show it some other ways and he does. Magaling talaga siya. And despite his success, no airs at all but humble pa rin.”
“The Gift”, which starts airing this Monday, September 16, to replace “Love You Two”, has a big power house. Playing Alden’s mom and dad are Jean Garcia and TJ Trinidad. But TJ dies and Jean loses their young son in Quiapo where a manghuhula, Elizabeth Oropesa, finds him and takes him home. Beth’s daughter, Jo Berry, becomes the boy’s surrogate mom and raises him to be Alden.
Meanwhile, Jean's character marries a politician, played by Christian Vasquez, and has her own kids with him, played by Martin del Rosario who will abuse Alden without knowing they’re half-brothers, and newcomer Ysabel Ortega. As a vendor, Alden has Mikee Quintos, Victor Anastacio and Mikoy Morales as his best friends. He doesn’t know that Mikee is secretly in love with him but he has his own crush, beauty queen Thia Thomalia as the gorgeous daughter of a rich store owner played by Cheska Diaz. Also in the cast are Luz Valdez as Christian’s mother, Betong Sumaya as their family driver, Tetay as Jean’s gay best friend and Rochelle Pangilinan as Christian’s assistant and secret paramour.