Carlo J: Panday is a foundling

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

Like Superman whose origin is a mystery (he simply falls from heaven like a shooting star, remember?), Panday has a similar background.

“Panday is actually a foundling,” said Komiks King Carlo J. Caparas, creator of the legendary character that has been remade several times over.

You know, just like Sen. Grace Poe whose being a foundling has turned into an issue that has reached the Supreme Court.

“It’s mere coincidence that it was Grace’s dad, FPJ, who helped immortalize Panday which he portrayed in four movies that were Metro Filmfest top grosser,” noted Carlo J who is reviving Panday for a TV5 series produced by Viva Films.

After FPJ, Panday was played by Sen. Bong Revilla and, in a TV revival, by Jericho Rosales. The new Panday is none other than Richard Gutierrez who has been preparing for it by working out and sticking to a strict diet, preparatory to the series’ premiere.

“You will see a different Richard in Panday,” added Carlo J. “Nagpaganda talaga siya ng katawan.”

The previous Pandays have left the followers wondering where the character came from.

“That’s why the first parts of the (TV5) series will be a prequel that will show the origin of Panday,” said Carlo J. “It was never revealed that Panday pala is a foundling who was also found in a church, just like Grace. Isa siyang alamat (legend) pero paano ba siya naging alamat? Panday has a brother, not his twin, but they got separated. Panday was taken care of by a nice couple and his brother fell in the hands of evil elements.”

Asked who will play Richard’s brother (or will it be Richard himself?), Carlo J kept the movie press guessing.

“That’s one thing that the televiewers will have to find out.”





The story’s other iconic characters are retained, played by new actors, including Lizardo who will be played by Christopher de Leon (previous Lizardos were Max Alvarado in the FPJ movies and Phillip Salvador in the Bong Revilla movie).

“It was actually Swanie (Susan Roces) who saw the Panday komiks serial and brought it to the attention of FPJ,” recalled Carlo J. “That was in 1981.”

Susan has never appeared, not even as guest, in any of the Panday movies. But can Carlo J convince Susan to do it this time? Carlo J just smiled.

Tapped to direct the first Panday was Butch Bautista but when the set was swept away by a big flood — “Natangay pati si Butch,” Carlo J said in jest. “So FPJ took over as director using his (directorial) name Ronwaldo Reyes. He continued to direct all his Panday starrers.” The TV5 series will be directed by Mac Alejandre. 

Carlo J has actually committed more than 50 of his works (he has actually much more) to Viva Films.

Before Panday, Tasya Fantasya, Carlo J’s other popular creation, premieres on TV5 Feb. 6 (this Saturday) with newcomer Shy Carlos cast in the role first played by Kris Aquino in a movie and then by Yasmien Kurdi in a GMA series.

Tasya Fantasya is about an ugly but kind-hearted nanny who dreams about her Prince Charming until she finds a magical tree that leads her to a series of colorful adventures. Co-starring with Shy are Mark Neumann and AJ Muhlach.

Viva executive Veronique del Rosario-Corpus said that the role of (the modern) Tasya was cut out for Shy, the 20-year-old Swiss-Filipino Viva contract star. “The character exudes what we see in Shy — kind, imaginative, youthful, wholesome and pleasant. We don’t have any doubt that Shy will do justice to the role.”

Aside from Tasya and Panday, other Viva productions on TV5 are the talent search Born To Be A Star and the TV remake of the ’80s Viva hit drama Bakit Manipis ang Ulap (starring Cesar Montano, Meg Imperial and Claudine Barretto).

More coming, including Tuklaw which cast then newcomer Richard Gomez as a barrio lad protected by his friend snake. For the TV remake, Carlo J (and wife Donna Villa) are eyeing Mark as lead actor.

Like Tasya Fantasya, Tuklaw is an effective launching vehicle. It just might do wonders for Mark (who has proven his mettle as the titular role in the TV soap Baker King).

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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