Richard Gutierrez 'very happy' with Sarah Lahbati

Richard Gutierrez is on a roll in his personal and professional life.

First off, he’s deeply in love with Sarah Lahbati.

“We’re very happy,” he proudly tells media at the presscon of his upcoming film, Peque Gallaga’s comeback film, “Seduction.”

So happy, he looks straight in your eyes and says, “Sarah makes my smile a bit more genuine.” The actor however did not comment on the ongoing feud between Sarah and GMA-7.

[Related: Sarah wants to void contract with GMA, network refuses]

Secondly, he not only romances Sarah in “Seduction.” He steps out of his romantic comedy comfort zone and sizzles in  scorching scenes with Solenn Heussaff.

More mature roles

It’s not the same pretty boy Richard anymore.  This one is all grown up.  This one expects his audience to mature with him.

After all, Richard --- and other matinee idols – can’t  be making  beautiful eyes at their leading ladies forever.  They have to get more serious roles if they expect to last long in the business.

Richard thinks he has reached this stage.  He thinks he can actually seduce not one, but two leading ladies at the same time on screen.  The first (Trina, Sarah’s character), says Peque, offers the comforts of home.   She stands for love, security, stability.  The other, (Sophia, played by Solenn), offers the opposite.  If Sarah is water – cool and comforting, Solenn is fire -- exciting and scorching.

[More: Richard Gutierrez Veers From ‘Good Boy’ Roles In ‘Seduction’]

“I’ve been waiting for something like this,” Richard relates.  “I’m prepared to go all out as an actor. I look out for projects that will challenge me as an artist.  This is one such project.”

He promises, “This won’t be the last.”

Richard – and his leading ladies – threw caution to the wind. They exposed more flesh than usual.  Even Annabelle Rama, Richard’s mother was at first against seeing her son in his semi-naked glory on the big screen.

Richard admits “this is my most daring movie.”  It was also a first for Sarah, who, after much hemming and hawing, agreed to disrobe to seduce Richard’s character, a fireman who badly needs money.

Breaking rules

It was so unsettling at first, Peque had to break his own rules on the set. The director of the acclaimed “Oro, Plata, Mata” and “Scorpio Nights” allowed Richard to calm his nerves by drinking from a bottle or two on the set.

It worked.  Richard, says Peque, surprised him.  The director was so pleasantly surprised he mouthed invectives upon seeing Richard break down and let it all out.

“I allowed him to act,” Peque notes. “Richard, Solenn and Sarah were going their own way.  I told them to keep going. Their actions were taking them somewhere I didn’t expect it to go.”

No wonder Peque didn’t treat his actors as subordinates.  He called them his partners in doing “Seduction.”

Even Sarah got so caught up in her real-life boyfriend’s steamy scenes with Solenn, Richard admits she (Sarah) felt  “quite jealous” observing them.

Despite the baring and daring Peque and Richard refuse to label “Seduction” a sex film.

Coming soon: "Seduction"Sneak peek into upcoming film starring Richard Gutierrez, Solenn Heussaff & Sarah Lahbati. Directed by Peque Gallaga. Video courtesy of Regal Entertainment.

“The love scenes have their own dialogue.  May dialogue yung mga mata. Pag atras, may dialogue. It’s not about technique.  That’s porn.  It’s about how the characters’ obsession developed into a very, very physical level,” states Peque.

Moviegoers will give their own verdict starting Jan. 30, when the film opens in theaters nationwide.

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