MANILA -- Some have been hoping for a relatively unknown actress to play Darna, as a way to shift the focus towards exploring the iconic character more, especially under the lens of "Heneral Luna" director Jerrold Tarog, rather than on who will be playing it.
And Star Cinema seems to have come through: this Wednesday it was announced that Jane de Leon, whose perhaps most famous role is a supporting part in the hit primetime series "Halik," is going to be inheriting Darna's "bato."
"MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO SA TIWALA!" De Leon wrote on Instagram following the news, teasing that she will begin working on her new project "soon."
Among those who congratulated her was Angel Locsin, who was the original choice for the planned movie about the Pinay superhero. The "The General's Daughter" star had to beg off the role because of a back injury.
CURIOSITY OVER HER LOVE LIFE AND ACTING SKILLS
Right after the reveal was made, there were plenty of curiosity about De Leon with comments asking, 'who's here after she was cast as Darna?' on her videos on YouTube.
A particular one was an interview in January featuring her "Halik" love team partner, Gab Lagman, who answered a question about whether they are in a real-life relationship or not.
Lagman said then that he was not looking for a girlfriend, although he praised De Leon for how helpful she was when they were filming scenes as Gio and Maggie.
Fans have also begun watching a recap of their "kilig" moments on "Halik," and the episode of "Ipaglaban Mo" where she played a lesbian to catch glimpses of her acting skills.
According to Tarog, he was convinced that De Leon was a special actress who has the potential to pull off his vision for Darna after seeing her performance in "Halik."
It was also said that the decision to cast De Leon as a replacement for Liza Soberano, who, like Locsin, had to back out due to an injury, was a "unanimous one."
ABS-CBN Films managing director Olivia Lamasan said: "Natuwa nga ako na isa siya sa mga nag-audition. Sabi ko, 'there's something about her.' Bilang filmmakers, may nakikita kami.
"Malakas ang instinct ng bata."
Lamasan added that their version of the Darna story is a "coming of age" one," where "ang requirement is somebody young and with an air of innocence but at the same time a strength of character."