Jane De Leon
Twitter/MJ Felipe
ABS-CBN explains process for choosing Jane De Leon as new Darna
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - July 17, 2019 - 1:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — After a nationwide search and auditions even with seasoned actresses, ABS-CBN’s film outfit Star Cinema has revealed that it has chosen the new actress who will replace Liza Soberano in the titular role of “Darna” for a new movie to be directed by Jerrold Tarog.

“EXCLUSIVE: Jane De Leon is the NEW DARNA!! Lamasan revealed this exciting news with an exclusive interview with ABSCBN News this morning,” a tweet by ABS-CBN reporter MJ Felipe said, implying that ABS-CBN Films' managing director Olivia Lamasan has introduced the new Darna actress on Wednesday morning.

“Ang ganda nya,” a Twitter user commented on MJ’s tweet.

“Sino po sya?” another netizen commented.

“Former member ng GT na gumanap na kapatid ni Jericho Rosales sa HALIK. She also appeared in Debutantes tsaka Walwal,” explained another Twitter user, explaining that Jane was a member of the dance group Girl Trends, which can be seen in ABS-CBN noontime show “It’s Showtime.”

The 20-year-old exclusive Star Magic talent also appeared in the high-rating primetime drama “Halik” as Maggie Bartolome, sister of Jericho Rosales’ character, Lino. 

She also starred in the 2017 fantasy series “La Luna Sangre” as a moonchaser, as well as in movies such as horror flick “The Debutantes” and the coming-of-age movie “Walwal.”

Jane also appeared as a 17-year-old rape victim in an episode of the weekly legal drama “Ipaglaban Mo."

"We have found a new Darna and she is none other than Jane de Leon!" Lamasan was quoted by ABS-CBN News as saying when asked about the progress of the “Darna” project.

According to Lamasan, Jane was picked from over 300 celebrities who auditioned, including Jane’s other fellow Star Magic talents. Lamasan said they also opened the auditions via the talent scouts and camps of Starhunt.

Tarog, who replaced original “Darna” director Erik Matti, explained that they chose Jane because she is an “instinctive” actress. 

After a series of auditions, Tarog reportedly presented Jane’s audition tapes to ABS-CBN executives for deliberation, and Jane was Tarog and the management’s “unanimous” choice, said Lamasan.

"Pinresent na si Jane sa amin a couple of years ago, and among all the 13 noon na Mr. M (Johnny Manahan) presented from Star Magic, natatandaan ng isang talent handler na 'Inang. napansin mo na siya noon, itong batang ito pwedeng sumali ng beauty pageants. And then I saw her again in 'Halik.' Sabi ko, 'Itong batang to, meron.' There's something about her," Lamasan added. 

"Natuwa nga ako na isa siya sa mga nag-audition. Sabi ko ay there's something about her. Pati si Direk Lauren (Dyogi) said there's something about her. Bilang filmmakers, may nakikita kami."

Lamasan said Jane perfectly fits their vision of a coming-of-age story for the movie.

"'Yung Darna story natin ngayon is a genesis story, a coming of age. Ang requirement talaga is somebody na young and with an air of innocence, but at the same time a strength of character." 

According to Lamasan, when they told Jane that she was chosen, the young actress was “absolutely shocked.”

When Jane was asked how committed she would be for the project, she said: "I will do everything and anything for the role because I believe in her, I believe in what Darna stands for." 

It can be recalled that Liza Soberano was originally cast to do the movie remake about the iconic Filipino superhero, but she backed out due to an injured finger.

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