EDITORIAL: We nominate Pia Wurtzbach to play Darna
Stefan Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - March 25, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As a kid, I would always get teased for being effeminate. The ‘Dar’ in my full name and the swish in my limp wrists earned me the moniker ‘Darna’ back in first grade. It was 1996, and it was also the time when I discovered the epic identity of my pseudo-namesake. I vividly remember the statuesque Nanette Medved gracing the old CRT television in front of our couch, engaging in combat with diabolical forces in the form of screen gems Edu Manzano, Pilar Pilapil, and Bing Loyzaga. It was right then and there that I decided it couldn’t be all that bad. For some reason, at an early age, I already had a vague idea of what it means to be both feminine and strong. I would’ve snatched the stone from Atong Redillas, who played Narda’s brother Ding.

When I think of the dual character Narda/Darna, I conjure up images of voluptuous, petite, and manifestly Pinay actresses like Vilma Santos, Anjanette Abayari, Rio Locsin, and yes, even Sharon Cuneta. But if Medved, Lotis Key, Marian Rivera, and of course, Angel Locsin (who looks like a Chinese mestiza) have all managed to change the face of the legendary superheroine, why not place Pia Wurtzbach alongside them in the roster? Pia may be tall and sleek and oozing with sexy self-assurance, but we can all see eye to eye when I say she’s still the queen we love and deserve.

In Erik Matti’s teaser for Darna, we hear the faint voice of who is presumably the title character narrating the rise, fall, and eventual redemption of Philippine society. Accompanying it is a montage of historical events that have leveled our collective ground. Out of the ashes of these centuries, a mysterious figure in a hoodie emerges and paces through the gritty environs of a present-day Philippines nearing its apocalypse. The hooded figure transforms into the heroine and soars toward an erupting volcano.

A Millennial Icon

It’s not so hard to imagine Pia wearing that hoodie. After all, she’s a local millennial icon. Pia is the sum of previous Miss Universe titleholders Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran, plus almost every young Filipina who has fallen twice and risen thrice to pursue glory. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, she has drawn strength from her legion of followers and given back to the people — a facet that arguably makes up a modern Filipina. An even bizarre yet feasible scenario would be her being entangled in a final battle through the dimensions of time and space with a certain notorious blogger whose flat, relaxed hair turns into a mass of serpents.

Moreover, Pia could lend an ounce of mystique to the iconic character. Her long, slender limbs and dark eyes — attributes once reserved for femme fatales — could put any supervillain in their place in the depths of Hell. The status quo, whether real or in its reimagined form, calls for the shedding of the traditional Pinay amiability and naiveté. At the end of the day, Pia is ready to take off with one foot placed on the ground.

This is an appeal to Direk Erik Matti and Star Cinema. This is a declaration of love for the monumental Filipino superheroine and for Queen Pia Wurtzbach. Most of all, this is a declaration of war against the diametrical opposite of what Pia, and therefore Darna, represents. Pia’s only tragedy is that she couldn’t have a second reign. Let this be an opportunity to crown her with the winged headpiece. After all, she’d be confidently beautiful with a heart in a cape.

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Tweet the author @Watdahel_Marcel.


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