You can’t blame Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. if he feels anxious assuming the role originally popularized by the late action film king, Fernando Poe Jr.
Highly touted as one of the most recognizable and well-loved Pinoy superhero in local pop culture, Bong resurrects the Panday franchise for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival and consequently opening the door for expected comparisons between him and the iconic FPJ.
While the pressure is undeniable, Bong stressed that the team behind the modern version aims to put their own unique stamp without modifying the original plot as written by Carlo J. Caparas.
Although they remained loyal to the basic storyline as first presented on the big screen in 1981, the actor-turned-politician was very definite in making sure that this new installment carries more visual appeal than all the other previous retellings.
"Hindi ko alam kung anong magiging box-office results pero ang gina-guarantee ko lahat ng manunood ng Panday ay matutuwa sa kanilang makikita dahil sa pagkakataong ito ang mga manunood ay dadalhin ni Flavio sa isang karanasang hindi nila malilimutan," director Mac Alejandre assured the entertainment press during a lunch gathering held at Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, last December 10.
The film took a year to be completed, meaning that planning and negotiations were already taking place even while the 2008 MMFF entries were still slugging it out at the tills. Director Mac puts utmost emphasis on the long preparations and effort invested by the entire team on the project as a clear sign of their dedication.
"I’m glad to say that almost everything that was planned on that day was realized," said direk Mac. "Ang Panday ay isang pelikula ni Fernando Poe Jr. maliwanag itong sinabi ni Senator Revilla nung kami’y nag-uumpisa at hindi nga ito kinalimutan hanggang sa pagtatapos ng paggawa ng pelikula."
Ang Panday, according to Bong, is the best tribute he could possibly ever give the late action superstar whose death in 2004 undoubtedly left a huge void in Philippine cinema as a whole.
"Ito pong Panday na ito ay masasabi nating alay sa hari ng pelikulang Pilipino na siyang tunay na Panday. Hindi natin puwedeng gawin ng basta-basta ang Panday," explained Bong, who is very proud of the stunning special effects employed by the production team to bolster the film’s visual element.
Ang Panday—a joint venture of GMA Films and Imus Productions—also stars Iza Calzado, Rhian Ramos, Gladys Gueverra, Geoff Eigenmann, Robert Villar, Phillip Salvador, Jonee Gamboa, George Estregan Jr., Paulo Avelino, Stef Prescott, Pekto, Bellie, Carlene Aguilar, Carlos Morales and Luz Valdez.
It will open on Christmas Day, December 25, 2009.