[Asian Stars] 필리핀국민 사랑 독차지 ‘구티에레즈 가족 8인방’


‘아시아엔’ 해외 필진 기고문 한글요약 및 원문

[아시아엔=로잘린 가가네라/필리핀 온타겟미디어컨셉 기자] 필리핀의 많은 예능프로그램들 중에선 구티에레즈(Gutierrez) 가족의 작품이 단연 독보적이다. E! 채널에서 방영되고 있는 <구티에레즈가 되려면 배짱이 필요해>(“It Takes Guts To Be A Gutierrez”)는 필리핀 최초의 가족 리얼리티 쇼다. 프로그램은 화려하면서도 단순하다. 구티에레즈 일가의 사소한 사건과 대화 등 모든 순간이 TV를 통해 방영된다. ‘빅브라더’의 가족판이라 생각하면 된다. 구티에레즈 일가는 타 경쟁프로의 질투를 살만큼 큰 인기를 얻고 있다.

구티에레즈의 가장 에디 구티에레즈(Eddie Gutierrez)는 1950~60년대 가장 섹시한 스타 중 하나였다. 라틴아메리카 혼혈인 그는 조각 같은 외모에 노래와 춤, 연기에도 능해 ‘필리핀의 엘비스 프레슬리’라는 별명을 얻었다. 필리핀 여배우들은 그와 영화를 찍길 원했고, 다른 배우들은 그를 ‘우상’으로 숭배하기까지 했다. 안주인 아나벨 라마(Anabelle Rama)도 필리핀 연예계에서 ‘여신’라 불렸다. 둘은 영화를 찍으며 사랑에 빠졌고, 결혼에 골인했다.

결혼 후, 부부는 연기활동을 포기하고 미국으로 떠났다. 이때 필리핀 연예계는 경악을 금치 못했다. 그러나 이들의 미국생활은 고달팠다. 그들은 더 이상 슈퍼스타가 아니었으며, 먹고 살기 위해 온갖 일을 마다 않았다. 심지어 주방용품 판매로 생계를 이어가던 시기도 있었다. 시련의 계절도 있었지만, 부부는 여섯 명의 자녀 루파(Ruffa), 엘비스(Elvis), 쌍둥이 형제(Richard and Raymond), 리치 파울(Richie Paul), 락키(Rocky)와 함께 귀국했다.

에디와 아나벨은 귀국 당시 연예게 복귀에 큰 기대를 걸지 않았다. 전성기가 이미 지났으며, 팬들도 그들을 잊었을 거라 생각했다. 하지만 새로운 운명이 구티에레즈 가족을 기다리고 있었다. ‘왕의 귀환’은 필리핀 연예계에 큰 파장을 일으켰다. 그의 연기와 영화는 ‘전설’이란 칭호를 얻었고, 동료들도 여전히 에디와 함께 작품을 만들길 원했다. 영화제작자들은 그의 경험과 연기력, 명성을 높이 샀다. 영화 포스터에 그의 이름이 들어가기만 해도 성공했다고 여길 정도였다. 아나벨은 엔터테인먼트 사업에 뛰어들어 성공했다.

부부의 자녀들도 승승장구했다. 딸 루파는 모델로 큰 인기를 얻어 1992년 ‘올해의 필리핀 모델’로 선정됐다. 또한 1993년에는 미스필리핀으로 뽑혀 세계 미인대회에서 2등으로 입상했다. 이후 TV와 영화에서 활발한 활동을 펼쳤다. 쌍둥이 리차드와 레이몬드도 연예계에서 큰 인기를 누리고 있다. 이들은 아역배우로 시작해 쇼프로그램 진행자로 거듭났다. 리차드는 환경과 기후변화 다큐멘터리 등에도 출연하며 영역을 넓히고 있다.

필리핀에서 구티에레즈 가족의 인기는 상상을 초월한다. 이들 가족은 예능감각과 끼를 유전적으로 타고났다고 느껴질 정도다. 이들은 “레디, 액션!” 큐 사인에 두려워하지 않고 마음껏 끼를 발산하는 천상 ‘연예인’ 가족이다.


I’m not specifically a showbiz writer, but there is no doubt in my mind that show business has a big influence me. I love Filipino films, and I drag my husband (even against his will) every chance I get to see a movie once in a while. My Sunday afternoon is never complete if I miss my favorite entertainment show to get my healthy dose of the latest controversies inside showbiz, that’s at least two hours of colorful stories from the showbiz stars. And part of my sleeping regimen is to lull myself to slumber catching the latest round of inside info from the entertainment industry.

So why was I having a hard time deciding what to write for this article on Philippine showbusiness? Oh, I get it…there is simply too much to tell! But really, there was no contest. There is one special story on Filipino entertainment industry that captures the glitziness and that’s all about the Gutierrez family.

Running throughout Asia via the E! Channel is the show “It Takes Guts To Be A Gutierrez”. Partly family show, but based on a reality-TV model, this is a first of its kind in the Philippines. There must be really something funny with the Filipino psyche to embrace the concept of following a family on TV and gawking at both their simplicity and glamour. Every waking moment, every conversation and every small incident is on TV. Its Big Brother brought to you in family size. But this is not your ordinary family. They are considered as royalty in the entertainment world in the Philippines. So there’s no wonder their show is top-rating, with a back-story that runs decades, and a popularity that is the envy of many, even with the standards of showbusiness.

Even as a child, I was already familiar with the name Eddie Gutierrez. According to my mom, he was already famous in the Golden Age of Philippine Movies in the 50s and 60s. He was not just a hunk then. He was THE HUNK. Tall, mestizo and extra-ordinarily handsome with the almost perfect face, he could act, sing and dance the heavens away. He was (officially and literally, no kidding!) crowned “Elvis Presley of the Philippines”. Every Filipina actress begged to be paired with him in a movie. Even other actors at that time admitted he was their “idol”. Every movie he made was a sure hit.

His wife, Anabelle Rama was active in both movies and TV, and was considered one of the “goddesses”. They were a perfect pair. She had the beauty, the body but not so much of the grace. She was aggressive in tone and behavior for a Filipina, her brutal frankness earning her a title as a “dragon lady”. But Eddie was totally enamored of her. And so their love team in the film went the full distance, and they got married. And the Gutierrez dynasty was born.

But it wasn’t to be a fairy tale, not in the immediate time as stories go, anyway.

After their marriage, they decided to drop their acting careers and go to the United States. This sent shock and dismay to the entertainment industry in Manila. While in the US, their lifestyle had a dramatic change (pardon the pun). They weren’t the popular actors there. They were just ordinary citizens, trying to get by. They lived simply, and they recalled it was a struggle. They worked hard, and went into odd jobs. Any job, as long as it was legal work. There was even a time they went into selling cooking pots. But the hard times were also the good time, and the best ones were when they were blessed with six children there.

After some time, Eddie and Anabelle decided to go back to Manila and they brought the whole family back ? Ruffa, Elvis, the twins Richard and Raymond, Richie Paul and Rocky.

Eddie wasn’t expecting much of their return to the Philippines. In fact, he thought that the days of his stardom was already way gone by, and his fans would have forgotten him. He was also sure that movie producers would not be interested anymore to sign him or Anabelle for any film project, because they have been away for such a long time.

But destiny had other plans for him and his family.

First, the return of the “king” ? no less than the “Elvis Presley of the Philippines” himself ? was a big deal! His film and his acting were still legendary, and film critics and writers wondered if his return was a signal of a new age for Philippine showbusiness. His colleagues asked him to join in their film projects, and producers wanted him for his experience, his professionalism, his “acting presence” and his stature. Hell, even his name alone in the title poster would make a movie a potential hit. And he didn’t disappoint. Meanwhile, Anabelle decided to take a crack in managing talents or younger actors and artists, guiding them into the crazy and unpredictable world of the entertainment industry.
And the plot had a new twist.
The daughter Ruffa, was enjoying the limelight in Manila, something that was very different from her life in the US. She went into modeling, and it was perfect for her. She was the product of excellent breeding ? she had the height, the beauty, the poise and the character. She started out in a popular daily afternoon show showcasing young and emerging talents. But her heart was in modeling, and her career went very well, winning the 1992 Look-of-the-Year Philippine Title. Then in 1993 she became Miss Philippines-World and took the runner-up crown for the world pageant in the same year. Then the movies and TV projects was the natural course.

Meanwhile, the twins Richard and Raymond were also itching to try out their showbiz prowess. They started as child stars, and then went into hosting. Richard is well-known for taking on serious hosting and documentary work ? particularly on environmental issues and climate change.

In the Philippines, when you talk about families in showbusiness, there are very few who can keep up with the Gutierrezes. Their name is almost synonymous to acting and entertainment dynasty. And they continue to shine on. It must be really in their blood ? or in the genes at least. And they are never afraid to hear the words ? “lights, camera, action!”

Leave a Reply