Actress Angel Locsin. Star Cinema
MANILA - Angel Locsin will fly again as the iconic superheroine Darna in a movie she described as a first in Philippine cinema in terms of scale.
The 29-year-old actress, who first played the Mars Ravelo-created character in 2005, confirmed on Thursday that she will reprise the coveted role in a Star Cinema-produced film.
Award-winning director Erik Matti will helm the project, Locsin said.
The Kapamilya star had just finished meeting with the creative team and Star Cinema executives when she spoke with reporters about the movie, which is still untitled.
"Naku, you have no idea kung gaano kalaki! Kasi kahit ako, nagulat, eh. Hindi niyo (Star Cinema) 'yan sa akin sinasabi. Sabi ko, 'Sandali lang, ha. Ganito pala kalaki ito?' As in, never ako naka-experience ng ganito kalaking project, o nakarinig man lang.
"First time ito. First time ito sa buong history ng Pilipinas," she said.
Locsin referred to Star Cinema's vision for the film as "daring," citing the people involved behind the camera. The rest of the cast cannot be divulged at this time, the actress added.
"Ang tapang! Ang tapang ng Star Cinema para gawin itong project na 'to," said Locsin. "And ako, bilang napili nilang artista dito, sobrang... Hanggang ngayon, speechless talaga ako! Overwhelmed ako kung gaano kalaking proyekto, gaano kaganda, at kung gaano kagagaling 'yung mga tao na kinuha nila behind ng camera."
"Ang makakatrabaho ko dito, best of the best ng industriya talaga."
Locsin expressed confidence that the film will elevate standards in local filmmaking, saying it is something Filipinos can be proud of on the global stage.
"Napakaganda noon para sa atin, 'di ba, na meron tayong ipapakita, mga bagong talentong ipapakita na ipagmamalaki nating mga Pilipino sa buong mundo, na makakagawa kayo ng ganitong klaseng pelikula," she said.
The actress explained: "Kasi dati sinasabi nila, pag fantasy movie, parang medyo nahihirapan tayo dahil sa budget atsaka sa effects. Pero dito ngayon, all in talaga. Ibibigay namin sa inyo ang lahat."
Citing the scale of the project, Locsin said she already considers it the highlight of her career. She even said, in jest, that she would have no regrets if it happens to be her last film.
"Wala, wala na akong mahihiling pagkatapos nito. Parang ano kasi... Sobrang -- pasensya na kayo, ha! Nalulula kasi talaga ako. Sobrang laki niya. Ang laki niya talaga. Right now, sobrang kontento na ako sa nangyayari at sobra-sobra pa nga ang nangyayari," she said.
Coming full circle
Darna, along with 12 other Ravelo creations, became contract properties of ABS-CBN in April 2013. The mermaid Dyesebel, portrayed by Anne Curtis in an ongoing TV series, was part of the deal signed by the late novelist's children Rita and Rex.
"ABS-CBN is an institution, and based on their products, I think mas maganda talaga na sa kanila mapunta 'yung projects," Rex Ravelo said at the time. "Hindi lang ABS-CBN ang option namin, but the best option is ABS-CBN."
The first pages of the original 'Darna' comics by Mars Ravelo. Images courtesy of film archive website Video48
Since her 1950 comic book debut, Darna has been played by over 15 different actresses on TV and in films, with the most recent being Marian Rivera's 2009 portrayal.
In the original lore, Darna is a warrior from Planet Marte who manifests herself in a village girl from Earth named Narda. In order to transform into the heroine and defend humans from evil forces, Narda swallows a tiny meteorite and shouts "Darna!" -- a small scene which has since been embedded in local pop culture.
"Puwede ko na siguro sabihin. It's official, nasa sa akin na ulit ang bato!" Locsin said of bagging the role anew.
The actress turned emotional over coming full circle, saying the Darna character has changed her life since she first wore the iconic winged headdress and gold-and-red battle gear.
"Ang laki ng respeto ko kay Darna. Iningatan ko si Darna noong ginagawa ko palang siya. And kahit noong hindi ko na siya ginagawa, isinapuso ko talaga si Darna," she said.
Locsin added: "Pasasalamat narin ito sa mga tao dahil dito nag-boom 'yung career ko. Nakilala ako, nagkaroon ako ng magandang trabaho, nabubuhay ko nang komportable ang pamilya ko. Pasasalamat ko talaga ito sa kanila."