Freeman Cebu Entertainment

It’s an all-out war in last two weeks of Darna

Vanessa A. Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  ABS-CBN’s “Mars Ravelo’s Darna”, which premiered last August a modern iteration of the super heroine fleshed out by Jane de Leon, is now done to its final two weeks.

After Nueva Esperanza’s devastation and the death of Janella Salvador’s Regina/Valentina in the hands of the Super Soldiers, Darna is primed more than ever to face the biggest battles approaching – including a forthcoming war that Richard Quan’s Heneral Borgo and his army will instigate.

Borgo’s army got bigger and stronger with the transformation of Mark Manicad’s Ali as an Extra with laser and heat vision superpowers. Before Ali, first to become supervillains were Noah (Paolo Gumabao), Andre (Young JV), Mayor Zaldy (Simon Ibarra), Maisha (Dawn Chang), Sigfried (Joshua Colet), Arthur Pineda (Eric Fructuoso), and Ishna (Kim Rodriguez).

Noah can manipulate fire, Andre has explosive powers, Mayor Zaldy has superhuman strength, Maisha can make people involuntarily move and mimic her, Pineda can control inanimate objects, Sigfried can create a force field as a shield, while Ishna, the longtime assistant of Borgo, is a shapeshifter.

In a recent virtual conference, the actors playing Super Soldiers talked about their excitement in donning their costumes and essaying their roles.

“It’s been one of my dreams to portray a role with superpowers,” Young JV said. “I’m having so much fun on set.”

“As Sigfried, he was always obsessed with the Extras. Handa siya ibigay lahat sa buhay niya para lang magkaroon ng superpowers,” shared Colet. “Super thankful that we have such a collaborative cast and production. We are all enjoying our roles, especially that it’s our first time to have superpowers.”

Colet said that even before “Darna”, it’s with action-oriented parts where he believes he will best shine, especially since he has a background in martial arts. He added, “I feel like I can bring a lot to the table. I know that when they give me the right role, I’m gonna kill it.”

He also thanked the fans of the show for the support, as well for the “constructive criticism.”

Rodriguez, formerly a GMA Network talent who recently signed with talent manager Ogie Diaz, said she was initially told that the “Darna” stint would be just a guest role. “This is my first role in ABS-CBN and I was so happy and thankful kasi ang tagal kong hindi nakabalik. Pinapanood ko lang dati ang ‘Darna’ and pangarap ko na makasama,” she said.

“I feel pressured to be working with them kasi magagaling na artista – Kuya Simon, Sir Eric, Manong Joko [Diaz], Janella – but in a good way kasi mas lalo mo ginagalingan at nadadala ka sa acting nila. Sometimes if I have questions, since it’s my first time to do action, I ask Manong Joko how to do this and that, paano ba ang tamang hawak, paano ba mag mukhang soldier taalaga ako. I’ve learned a lot and so I’m very grateful.”

Veteran character actor Simon Ibarra had previously teased his cast mates not to wish to be an Extra since they would be killed off quickly. “My mayor character, okay naman, maganda. Tapos narinig ko lahat gusto mag-request na maging Extra kasi maganda nga naman and exciting. Pero sabi ko sa kanila, kapag naging Extra kayo, madali kayong mamamatay,” he laughingly shared. “But it’s not true. My character is a bit difficult bilang Extra, pero masaya naman.”

“I’m 54 years old and yung bilbil ko minsan lumalabas na so kailangan hindi humihinga. I was told to do some running to fit into my costume. In front of the camera, masarap siyang gawin, masarap laruin ang character. Tapos yung kaeksena mo pa ay tulad nilang lahat na may kanya kanya ring kalokohan – so sa set, para lang talaga kaming naglalaro.”

Asked for the key to his staying power, Ibarra shared, “Nakikita siguro nila na nakakapag-deliver naman kahit papano. Tawag ko nga sa sarili ko, pandemic baby ng industriya kasi the whole COVID, I always had work. Pagbutihin mo lang yung trabaho mo, at yung pakikisama sa katrabaho mo, at makikita naman ng mga taong nakapaligid sayo whether you can deliver or not. Embrace your character, study the role, and it will come out naturally because you are doing what you love. And when you’re doing what you love, you’re not working.”

Fructuoso, meanwhile, marked his television return via “Darna” after declining offers during the pandemic as the lock-in taping set-up wasn’t to his liking. “This is one of the most fun shows that I’ve done in my whole career because I was really able to bond and got close with my cast mates,” the former Guwapings member said. “Super close that I get more excited to work than to go home.”

“I’ve always wanted to play the bad guy. I’ve done roles with powers before, but it’s my first time to have a costume. The character Basura Man, sa biruan lang nagsimula. Nagustuhan nila, kaya ginawang character. The dialogue, the jokes, it just came naturally. In fact, some of my scenes were not on the script and was done on the spot,” he said.

Chang, former member of It’s Showtime’s female dance group GirlTrends, said being a dancer comes in handy when executing action scenes. “We specialize in body movement. We can easily imitate even if we’re not experts in say, Wushu. So we can easily adapt to the movement or posture from head to toe,” she said.

As for Manicad, having to wear a costume himself increased his respect for de Leon and Salvador, who as the main lead and villain, were mostly in their not so comfortable ensembles most of the show. “Tumaas yung tingin namin kay Jane and Janella na araw-araw nilang ginagawa na laging naka-costume, habang kami saglit lang nga,” he said.

“Darna” airs weeknights at 8 pm on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, CineMo, A2Z, and TV5.


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