MANILA — Channeling her serpent-haired character Valentina, Janella Salvador drew audible gasps on Monday as she walked the red carpet of the media launch of “Mars Ravelo’s Darna” — not just with her glamorous look, but with her pet snake in tow.
Donning an all-black, figure-hugging outfit, Salvador arrived at the Dolphy Theater with a snake wrapped around her left arm. Posing for the cameras, the actress at one pretended to kiss the reptile.
To the relief of her fellow cast members (they joked later on), Salvador set aside the snake when it was time to assemble on stage for the press conference.
Only brief glimpses of Salvador as Valentina and her human form Regina have been shown in trailers of “Darna,” but those few instances have gone viral on social media.
Salvador admitted feeling “pressure,” in light of the character’s popularity and the past actresses who took on the role — Celia Rodriguez, Pilar Pilapil, Pilita Corrales, and Alessandra de Rossi among them.
“We all know how iconic the role of Valentina is,” Salvador said during the media launch. “Knowing that the previous Valentinas were all so amazing and [the character] became iconic because of the way they portrayed it, of course I want to make it my own. At the same time, gusto ko tumatak siya. Nandoon ‘yung pressure.”
In the ABS-CBN adaptation, Valentina’s human alter ego is Regina, a lawyer and vlogger whose crusade for justice leads her to becoming friends with Narda (Jane de Leon). As their respective superhuman forms Valentina and Darna, the two, however, become at odds.
“Aside from the fact that it’s physically draining, it’s actually a very complex character. It’s quite difficult to act [as her]. It’s emotionally draining as well,” Salvador said.
Helmed by acclaimed filmmaker Chito S. Roño with Avel Sunpongco and Benedict Mique, “Mars Ravelo’s Darna” is set to premiere on August 15 on Kapamilya Channel, TV5, A2Z, Kapamilya Online Live, and iWantTFC.