Ogie Diaz was brief in his answer when asked why his talent, Liza Soberano, backed out of Darna.
“Kapag hindi ukol, di bubukol.”
In 2017, Liza was chosen to replace Angel Locsin in Star Cinema’s movie adaptation of the Mars Ravelo comics classic.
However, in 2019, Liza withdrew from the project because of a finger injury she incurred on the set of her 2018 action series, Bagani.
Ogie recalled to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during a Calamansi live cast session last April 19, 2021, his conversation with Liza that led her to make a crucial decision.
Ogie narrated, “Willing si Liza to do it. Sabi ko, ‘Nak, huwag na nating gawin. Alam mo bakit? Nadisgrasya ka na sa Bagani, baka ito’y kalabit na huwag niyo nang gawin ang Darna.'
“’Kasi ito nga oh, parang sabi ng tadhana sinugatan na kita, parang kinurot na kita ngayon, huwag mo nang gawin.’”
He reminded Liza that doing the Darna movie would require her to do rougher action stunts— wearing a harness as a flying superhero, for starter—than what she did in Bagani.
Ogie continued, “Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Kunyari lang, mag-Darna ka, ituluy-tuloy mo kasi nakapangako ka na.
“’E, paano kapag nag-harness ka, bumagsak? Di ba? At least ito, daliri pa lang iyong nadali sa iyo.’
"Sabi ko, ‘Huwag na, huwag nating ipilit, baka hindi ito para sa iyo, di ba?’”
According to Ogie, he was not thinking about the huge commission due him as Liza's manager from such a major project.
He said, “Ako, naniniwala ako sa ganyan kasi kung ang utak ko, ‘Sayang din ang komisyon ko kung hindi natin ito gagawin!’
“Kung ganon ang utak ko, hindi ako para sa long term, e. Para ako sa short term, kaya okay lang na hindi namin magawa iyon.”
After Liza’s withdrawal from the project, Star Cinema held auditions to look for the new Darna.
Star Magic talent Jane de Leon was later chosen to play Darna in what has been since decided as a TV series on ABS-CBN’s broadcast platforms this 2021.