MANILA - Acclaimed director Erik Matti admitted on Tuesday that finding an actress to replace Angel Locsin as Darna would be difficult, "kasi alam na ni Angel ang nilalaman ng puso ni Darna."
In an interview with Pep, the 50-year-old Matti opened up about the "burden" of replacing Locsin, who had to back out of the planned film adaptation of Star Cinema after developing a disc bulge in her spine.
"Now, by starting anew again, whoever she is, kung sino man ang mapili, we need to have the character imbibe sa tao na 'yun -- the character of Darna and Narda, dalawa 'yun eh. And for such a big movie, ang bigat na burden 'yun," he said.
Back in 2005, Locsin portrayed the iconic superheroine for a television series. She embodied the character so well that fans have been calling for Star Cinema to postpone the planned film so that the actress can recover from the health scare.
Last month, the 30-year-old Locsin traveled to Singapore to undergo the first stage of a medical treatment for her disc bulge. She is scheduled to fly back to the Asian country in February for another medical procedure.
Asked about his reaction to the news of Locsin opting out of the film, Matti said: "Ang tagal na naming nagmi-meeting ni Angel, tapos, all of the sudden, na may ganung news, siyempre nagulat ako."
"Akala ko nga nung nalaman ko na hindi na puwede si Angel ay hindi na matutuloy ang Darna, dahil lang dun. But of course we have to push forward and we don't want to frustrate the audience. That's why ABS-CBN, particularly Star Cinema, immediately decided to make the teaser, so that everyone will be assured na matuloy ang Darna, kahit na ganun ang nangyari kay Angel."
Matti was referring to the short teaser released ahead of screenings of 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entries, "Beauty and the Bestie" and "All You Need Is Pag-Ibig."
While the clip did not reveal the identity of the actress slated to play Darna, it did feature clues such as her voice and shots of her figure. Star Cinema has yet to release it outside of theaters.
According to Matti, he has yet to be informed of the final decision regarding Locsin or the actress who will replace her despite posting a teaser shot on his Instagram account. He said that he is leaving it up to ABS-CBN to find a suitable Darna.
Matti also said that he accepted the project so that he could introduce the superheroine created by Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo to a whole new generation of Filipinos.