MANILA — Star Cinema is not leaving any stones unturned in its search for the next Darna as it is set to open auditions to undiscovered talents who believe they can do justice to the iconic character.
Immediately after Liza Soberano’s announcement of her withdrawal from the high-profile project, the ABS-CBN film outfit launched its selection process for the new actress to take on the coveted role.
The casting call, according to Star Cinema head Olivia Lamasan, was not only open to Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN, but also to agencies outside the company.
“We’ve had several auditions from our very own artists from Star Magic,” she told ABS-CBN News’ MJ Felipe. “Nagpatawag din kami from several talent scouts, modeling agencies, talent agencies. Kahit mga past contestants of beauty pageants, kahit sa field of sports — may athletes din na nakapag-audition na.”
Following Soberano’s exit from the project, several big-name stars ranked in fan polls on who could take on the Mars Ravelo character.
Among them were Soberano’s fellow Star Magic artists Maja Salvador and Julia Barretto, and Viva Artists Agency’s Nadine Lustre. The likes of Yam Concepcion of the “Halik” fame, and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, meanwhile, expressed willingness to audition for the role.
Lamasan did not identify talents who have so far auditioned.
The casting call, she said, has resulted in a shortlist for director Jerrold Tarog, who is eyeing a coming-of-age story for the movie. The “Heneral Luna” filmmaker, in a separate interview, said among his deciding factors are acting talent and charm.
While Tarog and Star Cinema have narrowed the list of potential Darnas from the first round of auditions, “we would want to keep the field open,” Lamasan said.
Now, the search is set to open to the public via Star Hunt, ABS-CBN’s branded audition caravan that has recruited talents for shows like “Pinoy Big Brother,” “The Voice of the Philippines,” and “Pilipinas Got Talent,” among others.
According to ABS-CBN’s Head of TV Entertainment Laurenti Dyogi, the mind behind Star Hunt, auditions for the role of Darna will be held as early as this coming weekend.
Aspirants can audition on May 4 and 5 at the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City. Further details are set to be announced.
“Baka naman doon natin mahanap si Darna,” Dyogi said. “Ito ay pagkakataon sa ating mga kababayan, na sa tingin nila, sila ang tamang Darna na hahangaan ng mga manonood. Baka may higit pang tamang Darna na makuha, ‘yung undiscovered, untapped talent na nandiyan lang.”
Dyogi, however, clarified that the Star Hunt auditions for Darna do not necessarily mean that the final actress who will portray the superhero will come from that public search.
“Hindi lang ito ang effort in finding Darna,” he said. “The Star Hunt audition is not a promise, it’s not a commitment na doon makukuha ang Darna. Ito lang ay isang pagkakataon para sa ating mga kababayan na mag-audition at umapela na sila ang tamang Darna.”
Asked what the qualifications are for latest big-screen iteration of Darna, Lamasan said: “Darna is a very big character to play and could be challenging for any artist. Ako, personally, we would want to keep our minds open. Minsan kasi, ‘pag may nag-o-audition, parang sa pigura, parang hindi, pero ‘pag nagsalita, ‘pag tiningnan mo sa mata, ‘pag nagsimulang umarte, even in her very rawness, may dating.”