Director Erik Matti revealed that meetings are still ongoing for Star Cinema’s adaptation of Darna which has Liza Soberano in the titular role.
Currently, his team is still developing the screenplay while keeping themselves busy in negotiations with visual effects companies.
Direk Erik narrated, "We’re doing our assignments. We’re hiring big visual effects companies, we’re also hiring a few professionals in terms of costumes, wigs, graphics and post-production.
"Siyempre, superhero movie di ba? The story that we have has some serious notes on it but it’s really told in an epic."
According to Direk Erik, the teaser shown during the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival is a close hint regarding the look of the movie adaptation of the classic superhero komiks.
"If you saw the teaser that we made, add a bit of spunk and hip to it, that’s the movie."
Being the captain of the ship, Direk Erik admitted that big pressure is on his shoulders, especially since a lot of superhero movies already came out on the silver screen.
He said, "Oo. Yun na nga, e. Hirap na hirap na nga ako, e. Matindi… the pressure.
"But superhero talaga, I mean, I’m a superhero fan [ever] since so I think I know how to go about pushing it for the local minds.
"And I think the main job that we had early on, writing the story, is how to come up with a story that’s fresh and unique kasi ang daming Marvel stories, di ba?
"[Sa] visual effects, ayaw mong sabihang nangopya, na yung tono niya, parang ganito.
"It’s tough in this day and age. Kung nangyari ito 10 years ago, walang problema, e."
He also recalled that in the past, movie outfits cannot afford the production of epic superhero films that is why the resorted to campy, comic treatment of these films and it worked.
However, this time, his team aims to up their game.
"Ang dugo nito. Sobra, because we cannot just come up with another superhero movie na cute-cute, may bading-bading na joke. Hindi pupwede talaga, knowing the superhero movies that’s out there.
"Yan yung problema natin when we did superhero movies, e, ginawa nating campy because we know our resources couldn’t afford.
"Now, the attempt with Darna is to really really make it a real superhero movie.
"Fun siya, exciting, epic, pero hindi siya parang nagpapajoke-joke lang, na pangit na costume, ganyan siya, e. Kengkoy na superhero.
"[Ito], modern talaga. I think that’s the tough part to execute it properly na elegante."
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other entertainment reporters spoke to Direk Erik during a project launch of a video-on-demand platform last July 5.
LIZA AS DARNA. The seasoned director believes that Liza Soberano as Darna will also be remarkable just like her predecessors.
He happily told the press, "You know, Liza, she’s always this parang determined na babae ano? I think she’s gonna do a really great Darna."
According to him, the story of the transformation of Darna’s alter-ego Narda can be compared to Liza’s situation in real life.
He pointed out, "Look at this as a coming-of-age film. Not just for Narda to Darna but also Liza to becoming a serious actor. Parang ganon. It’s a coming-of-age film.
"You know the amount of challenge that she’s facing. Not just emotionally, psychologically, physically. So coming-of-age na yun.
"All these years, she’s been doing, hinahasa siya on light stuff. But now, coming-of-age na rin, if you liken her to Darna. Narda to Darna - Liza.”
With regards to Darna’s costume, Direk Erik has to see yet Liza’s physical build before they can decide with the final look.
"We actually had initial drawings in the previous scripts that we had.
"But having Liza on board, we’re reimagining it for her para match naman.
"We’re not… wala pa kaming style na iniisip because I wanna see her body and I wanna see what kind of a silhouette will be best for her.”
CASTING. In terms of casting, Direk Erik said that he was shocked when a report came out that Liza’s rumored boyfriend Enrique Gil will be part of the project.
He said, "Grabe nga, e, nagulat ako. Noong last meeting namin, may nag-announce na palang Enrique Gil.
"E, wala pa nga kaming final na casting, e. Wala pa kami, hindi pa finalized.”
Currently, the whole production team is still searching for the major characters of the Darna movie.
"We know some characters already who we are bringing in but we’re in the middle of developing the material. Later on, I’ll be having some design meetings."
The Ding character, who will serve as Darna’s young sidekick, will also be chosen through a series of auditions.
Direk Erik also cannot confirm yet if Iza Calzado, who is being rumored to be part of the movie, will really be part of the final cast.
On the other hand, Anne Curtis and Sarah Lahbati are some of those being talked about as actresses who might portray Darna’s archrival Valentina.
When asked about this, Direk Erik let out a laugh.
He then said, "Siyempre, napapag-usapan na naman yung mga casting pero wala pa kaming ma-announce.
"Basta sure ako na babae siya," he quipped.