Sunday, May 28, 2017

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT DARNA?


Angel Locsin as Darna, on the cover of
MOD August 12, 2005 issue.
The Sexiest and most popular Darna.
In the 21st century, we’ve seen four actresses portrayed the role of Darna. Regine Velasquez did a cameo of Darna in the Bong Revilla film Captain Barbell (2003), and also donned the costume in her The Singer and the Songwriter concert tour (2004). Angel Locsin beat all the television ratings record portraying the role in the 2005 GMA-7’s Darna series. The Kapuso Network made a Darna remake starring Marian Rivera in 2009-2010. In that remake, Angel Aquino portrayed a predecessor Darna. Ruffa Mae Quinto also wore, albeit, a fake Darna costume (so, she’s not included in the list).

          Since 2013, when ABS-CBN obtained the rights to Darna from the Ravelo heirs, talks have been circulating that Angel Locsin will again play the prized role, this time in the big screen. It awakened the Darnamania not only in the Philippines but all over the globe. Star Cinema, ABS-CBN film outfit, was supposed to make the “biggest” film ever in Philippine cinema history with award-winning director Erik Matti and his production company Reality Entertainment at the helm of Darna, the Movie. In June 2014, Angel Locsin even announced: “Pwede ko na siguro sabihin. It’s official, nasa sa akin na ulit ang bato!” (I think it can already be said. It’s official, I again have the [magical] pebble!) Vilma Santos, also a former Darna portrayer, was said to play the role of Lola Asay, and Sarah Lahbati was to play Valentina.

          Indeed, Locsin was already preparing to don the crimson bikini again, but she got injured during stunt training. She developed a "disc bulge" in her spine because of the strenuous training. Darna fanatics, however, did not lose hope. They even created websites bannering “Darna Waits (for Angel).” Up until the end of September 2016, Locsin was still the only choice to play Darna. Several months passed, the wait continued until Locsin himself finally said that she could no longer play the role.

          Many, millions to say the least, were disappointed. The legacy of Mars Ravelo’s Darna, however, needs to move forward. The hunt for the new actress to portray Darna begins. I just hope that this time, they will make Darna, the original Filipino superheroine that she is, and not a second-rate copycat of Wonder Woman that other writers and directors have portrayed her in the past, especially after Mars Ravelo had passed away. (Read more about Darna in my blog: Darna: The Original Filipino Superheroine. Read also the proof that Darna is the original, and it is Wonder Woman that is a copycat: The Untold True Beginning of Darna)

          The early list includes Bea Alonso, Anne Curtis, Isabelle Daza, Shaina Magdayao, Bianca Manalo, Jessy Mendiola, Cristine Reyes, Maja Salvador and a host of other ABS-CBN talents. Later added on the list were Ritz Azul, Sarah Geronimo, Nadine Lustre, Julia Montes, Arci Muñoz, Yassi Pressman, Mariel Rodriguez (who earlier played Varga), Lisa Soberano, Megan Young (Miss World 2014), Pia Wurtzbach (Miss Universe 2015), and even talents from the rival network GMA-7, Carla Abellana, Glaiza de Castro, Maine Mendoza, Jennylyn Mercado, and the last Darna portrayer, Marian Rivera, were being considered by fans.

The Galaxy of stars being considered by fans to play the next Darna: (From top left, clockwise)
Bea Alonso, Ritz Azul, Anne Curtis, Isabelle Daza, Sarah Geronimo, Nadine Lustre, Shaina Magdayao, Jessy Mendiola, Julia Montes, Yassi Pressman, Cristine Reyes, Mariel Rodriguez, Maja Salvador,
Lisa Soberano, Megan Young and Pia Wurtzbach.
Anna Gonzales on the cover of
Hiwaga Komiks (February 6, 1974).
One among a few actresses who
declined to play Darna.
          Darna is a career defining role. Ever since Rosa del Rosario soared on the silver screen as the first Darna, it has been a much sought after role for many aspiring actresses. There are, however, a few actresses who backed out from portraying the role after it was offered to them. Before Gina Pareño was bestowed the “magical pebble” for Darna at ang Planetman (1969), two actresses, Anna Gonzales and Vilma Valera, were considered to play Darna, but they both declined. I can’t imagine the regrets in their minds afterwards.

          On the other hand, there were actresses that probably would have given justice to the superheroine role. Among them Delia Razon (in the 1950s, perhaps after Rosa del Rosario), Alma Moreno, Gretchen Barretto and Dawn Zulueta (in the 1980s), Ina Raymundo (in the 1990s), and Nadine Samonte and Glaiza de Castro (after Angel Locsin and Marian Rivera). The amazing lady who played Bathaluman Ether in the Encantadia remake, Janice Hung, has all “assets” fit for the role, she’s beautiful, sexy, physically athletic, and can kick butts being a wushu champion. Too bad she’s on a rival network.

          As of this posting (May 2017), five names topped the list of contenders: Nadine Lustre, Jessy Mendiola, Maja Salvador, Lisa Soberano and Megan Young.
On the top of the list of contenders to play the next Darna: (From left to right)
Nadine Lustre, Jessy Mendiola, Maja Salvador, Lisa Soberano and Megan Young.
          So far, 16 actresses have played the role of Darna, in films and television series, including cameos: Rosa del Rosario, Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, Gina Pareño, Vilma Santos, Lorna Tolentino, Lotis Key, Brenda del Rio, Rio Locsin, Sharon Cuneta, Nanette Medved, Anjanette Abayari, Regine Velasquez, Angel Locsin, Angel Aquino and Marian Rivera.

          Who will be the next?

IT'S OFFICIAL, AS OF MAY 30, 2017, ABS-CBN ALREADY GAVE THE NEWS THAT LISA SOBERANO WILL PLAY THE ICONIC ROLE OF DARNA!

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