GMA-7's DARNA - Starring Marian Rivera and Mark Anthony Fernandez - Thread 2
We do need another hero
Written by C. Mendez Legaspi
Thursday, 06 August 2009 20:15
WE are a nation of heroes. As the ultimate Super PinayPresident Corazon C. Aquinopasses on into legend, another one, the indestructible Darna, makes a comeback. Citing from The Manila Times archives, Darna is a cultural icon born at a time when the Philippines was struggling to come out of the devastation of World War II. She served as a salve to a country looking for champion. On the other hand, everyones Tita Cory became the galvanizing force who would save the country from a tyrannical dictatorship. Trying to find parallelisms between these two remarkable women may be too presumptuous but we cant help it. We are currently riding high on a crest of patriotism and newfound pride as a people.
In her latest incarnation, Darna returns to the small screen with no less than the Queen of Primetime as her vessel, Marian Rivera. The half-Spanish hot property wears the scarlet costume after stints in the top-rating Marimar and Dyesebel and the subpar-performing Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang, all on GMA. But after these emotion-drenched turns, Marian plunges into an infinitely more physically demanding role.
Ang puhunan ko talaga ay mahal ko ang aking trabaho. Binibigay ko talaga lahat, she said at the grand launch held recently at GMA Networks Studio 5, readily accepting that the role of a lifetime requires her to master the harness, engage in fight scenes and undergo grueling training. Just as she did with the Philippine swimming team for Dyesebel, she trained under the national wushu team in preparation for Mars Ravelos Darna, which premieres Monday night on the Kapuso Networks Telebabad prime-time block.
Bago ko gawin ang mga fight scenes, kelangan ko muna mag-stretching, at para ma-prepare din ako before ako mag-harness. Kelangan ko talaga i-kundisyon ang katawan at utak ko para sa action scenes, Marian excitedly revealed. Na-achieve ko tong katawan ko sa diet at gym. May mga scenes kasi ako na dapat mag-tumbling while nasa harness ako, so dapat magaan ako.
A brief rundown on Darna culled from various Internet literature: she is a fictional character and superheroine created by Filipino komiks legend Mars Ravelo, also the creator of Dyesebel and Captain Barbell (who was recently beaten for National Artist honors by Carlo J. Caparasugh!). She is sometimes portrayed as a warrior from outer space manifesting herself through a girl in Earth named Narda (actually an anagram). Originally known as Varga, she first appeared in Bulaklak Magazine, Volume 4, No. 17, on July 23, 1947. As Darna, she was relaunched on May 13, 1950.
Darna has the allure of Venus, the glory of Apollo and the strength of Samson. Once she swallows the Magic White Stone and shouts Darna, she acquires psionic abilities, a form of telekinesis that enhances her speed and strength, and allows her to fly. Her skins invulnerability is because of her alien race. With these attributes alone, any accusations of her being a Wonder Woman clone are easily dispelled. What the Ravelo family admits to is that the models for Darna were Superman and Captain Marvel, whose comics stories Ravelo favored. And because Ravelo grew up fatherless, his mother became his hero. Thus, the inspiration for Darna.
As the newest Darna, its inevitable that Marian will be compared with her predecessors. Di talaga maiiwasan na ikumpara ako kay Angel [Locsin, the 2005 Darna]. Basta sa mga nababasa ko, magaganda naman ang sinasabi niya at binabati niya na ako bilang bagong Darna, Marian said, adding that her approach to the role will be akin to that of Vilma Santoss, the Silver Age Darna, where Narda/Darna is played by one person and is transformed once she shouts the others name. In contrast, the Golden Age Darna, as originated by the goddess-like Rosa del Rosario in the 1951 Fernando Poe Sr.-directed film, she has a separate identity from Narda (Mila Nimfa).
The new series, which replaces the concluding ratings blockbuster Zorro, aims to humanize the Darna tale in manner of the Wolverine, Spiderman and Iron Man blockbusters. The hurdle is to make this version exciting, explained Wilma Galvante, GMA senior vice president for entertainment. Nandiyan na ang tensyon, ang takutin kayo, but never in the history of Darna na ikinuwento ang pinanggalingan niya. This storyline was agreed upon by the creative team. This is also our birthday gift to Marian. Ito ang bungisngis na Darna. She smiles when flying. Iba ang attack. She is delightful in the role.
Dominic Zapata, one of the seriess directors (along with Don Michael Perez), disclosed that it took years for the new show to be developed. After long deliberations, there is fun, anticipation and eagerness. Darna is the it comic book in our culture. This will be a long series. The cast is impressive, and the number of actors is second only to Thats [Entertainment], he laughed.
Eddie Garcia, as Padre Mateo, leads the stellar cast. Mark Anthony Fernandez is love interest Eduardo. Dark-skinned Buboy Villar plays Ding, the brother-sidekick. Caridad Sanchez is Lola Loleng. Jestoni Alarcon, Janice de Belen, Alfred Vargas, Raymart Santiago, Rufa Mae Quinto and Rita Avila are also in the cast.
Of course, Darnas greatness can only be measured by the quality of her villains. Iwa Moto, in her biggest break yet, plays archnemesis Valentina. Paolo Contis is supervillain Kobra. Ehra Madrigal is Babaeng Lawin; Francine Prieto is Babaeng Tuod; Maggie Wilson is Babaeng Linta; Nadine Samonte is Babaeng Impakta; and Ricky Davao is Dr. Morgan.
The eternally chic Celia Rodriguez, forever ingrained as Valentina, plays a good person this time. As Perfecta, she is the head of the orphanage where Narda grows up and serves as her second mother. I have been in four Darnas already [with Vilma in Lipad, Darna, Lipad!, 1973; with Dolphy, Brenda del Rio and Lotis Key in Darna Kuno?, 1979; and with Angel in the 2005 series], but Marian is the cutest and sexiest Darna Ive ever seen! She is grossly misunderstood. She is cariñosa. Ang kulit-kulit! Dapat talaga kilalanin muna.
While Marian will endear herself as Darna for several TV seasons, she is set to be seen in the horror flick Tarot with the delectable Dennis Trillo. By September she will reprise her Shake Rattle and Roll role as Nieves, the engkantolarya for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.
How does she feel to be regarded as the Queen of Prime Time? Naku nasa mga GMA bosses at sa press na po yun! She blushed. Any material thing that she wishes for her 25th birthday? Wala eh. Basta happy ako at sana mahalin ng tao ang Darna. At sana lalo kami magkakasundo sa set.
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