MANILA — "Darna" director Jerrold Tarog is raring to continue filming once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, as he shared on Wednesday being "really happy" with a rough cut of the movie drawn from weeks of production.
The "Heneral Luna" filmmaker spoke at length about his latest project via #KuwentuhanLang, a fundraiser that aims to help film industry workers whose livelihood have been affected by the pandemic.
The program, spearheaded by Cinema '76 in collaboration with Lockdown Cinema Club, interviews filmmakers on their body of work through Facebook Live.
One of the topics Tarog discussed was the production of "Darna" prior to the Luzon-wide quarantine.
"We were doing really well before the lockdown," he said, counting 16 days of filming.
"Sayang, kasi before nag-quarantine, we were already about to shoot one of the biggest action scenes doon sa pelikula. May fight scene na sana kaming isu-shoot noong end of March," he added.
ABS-CBN, which is producing "Darna" through its film outfit Star Cinema, halted all its entertainment productions and live programs in light of the government lockdown, and as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19.
While Tarog's team will have a while to wait before being able to resume production on "Darna," he mentioned being pleased with the progress of the long-stalled project.
"Base doon sa mga na-edit na namin na rough cut, I'm really happy with how it's going so far. Jane de Leon is doing really, really good," he said, referring to the lead actress.
"Nae-excite ako for Jane. Gusto ko matapos 'yung pelikula para makita ng mga tao 'yung trabaho niya," Tarog added.
Recalling that de Leon was a unanimous pick for the role out of the 300 who auditioned, Tarog explained that de Leon delivers an "instinctive" portrayal that blends drama and action — ideal for "Darna's" genre.
" 'Pag kinilig ka na sa audition pa lang, alam mo na na may magagawa siyang maganda. That's what happened with Jane actually. May ginawa siyang mga bagay na nakakakilig panoorin," Tarog said.
"May mga iba na magagaling din, pero si Jane 'yung pinaka may tamang balance ng qualities para makuwento 'yung coming-of-age story na gagawin namin for Darna," he said.
Without revealing details of the storyline, Tarog shared that aside from Darna coming to terms with her power, her struggles reflect or are tied with societal problems.
Tarog came on board the project in late 2018, replacing Erik Matti. Matti's group, Tarog explained, had a total of 9 draft scripts. Two of those, Tarog reworked and updated.
"I rewrote the entire thing, but also while rewriting, binalikan ko 'yung comics. Wala akong pinanood na pelikula or series ng Darna. It's mostly, bumalik ako doon sa comics na original. Kumuha ako ng mga elements na puwede ko gamitin," Tarog said.
"Nag-transform 'yung original na sinulat nila Erik into something na makikuwento ko nang galing sa puso."