People have seen Vhong Navarro play several characters in movies like Mr. Suave and Agent X44. He was also an effective superhero in Gagamboy. This September, Vhong will take part in his first fantaserye on television as Mars Ravelo's Lastikman.
Lastikman has already had three versions on the big screen, which was played by the late Von Serna, three-time Box Office King Vic Sotto, and most recently by Mark Bautista. Of these three movies, Vhong has seen only Vic Sotto's version of Lastikman.
Is he prepared for his show to be compared with Vic's movie version?
Vhong answered, "Si Bossing Vic ay, kumbaga, haligi na iyan and nauna talaga siya sa Lastikman. Siguro po ang pagkakaiba lang namin ay talagang movie ang ginawa niya at ako sa TV.
"Kung ikukumpara kami magkaiba kami kasi iyong movie niya ay talagang blockbuster iyan and sa TV iba talaga ang pinagbabasehan ng ratings."
Vhong added that he would not get offended if his acting would be compared with Vic's. "Hindi ako mao-offend kasi number one idol ko iyong si Bossing Vic at saka magkaiba ang style namin."
Vhong was excited when he the role was offered to him. "Napakalaking project, di ba? Para ipagkatiwala sa'yo ng ABS-CBN ang ganitong soap na fantaserye, iba iyong pakiramdam na nararamdaman ko."
He admitted, however, that he was worried about the reaction of the viewers. "Hindi natin alam kung ano pa ang gusto ng mga tao kasi marami pa tayong mga pinalabas sa ABS-CBN na magaganda talaga ang mga soap, iyong mga fantasy, pero iba iyong gusto nila. So hindi natin alam, ine-experiment hanggang ngayon kung ano ba talaga ang gusto ng mga tao," explained Vhong.
PREPARATION FOR THE ROLE. Since Vhong would be wearing a tight-fitting costume for Lastikman, the comedian confessed that before they began taping he focused on losing some weight.
"May part kasi dito [Lastikman] na tumaba ako, e. Sa payat kong ito, nag-diet pa rin ako, nagpapayat pa ako, nag-gym ako. So ang hirap, palagi akong kumakain ng gulay, hindi ako nagra-rice, nagpo-pork, para ma-maintain ang katawan na slim para sa costume. Pangit naman na naka-costume na malaki ang tiyan so tinanggal ko iyon," said Vhong.
Unlike his movie Gagamboy, Vhong admitted that Lastikman was harder for him.
"Yung Gagamboy kasi nalaro namin kasi comedy talaga siya, 'yung atake niya pambata kasi 'yun naman talaga ang market ko. Sa Lastikman naman kasi, first time ko mag-soap, 'yun nga, superhero and drama.
May mga emotions ka, like kapag tao siya as Miguel, na bawat lines niya may emotions talaga. Kapag sa sine kasi hindi, e, nalalaro ko pa. Dito talaga dapat focus, e."
Kapag Lastikman ka pa nandoon na lahat ng init, 'yung hirap ng costumes. 'Yung maskara ko walang tali, nakadikit sa mukha ko iyon."
Despite all these, Vhong still gave his best for this show. "Ibinuhos ko po talaga lahat ng lakas ko dito. 'Yung emotions ng magkaibang characters iba rin po, tapos 'yung fight scenes, 'yung locations, sobrang ibinuhos ko talaga dito."
THE PLOT. After his birth, half-alien, half-human Eskappar (Vhong) is thrown out of Planet Harraio and sent to earth by his mother to escape death. A kind-hearted earthling (Jayson Gainza) adopts him and names him Miguel.
Growing up, he discovers that he has the ability to be elastic, unlike normal human beings. But Miguel keeps his powers to himself, afraid to embarrass his foster father and be considered a virus by the community. But he is forced to use his powers as Lastikman when he finds out that aliens, disguised as mad scientists, are also here on earth and they threaten the safety of his loved ones.
Joining Vhong in this newest fantaserye are Iya Villania, Roxanne Guinoo, Jake Cuenca, Danilo Barrios, Archie Alemania, John Estrada, Ian Veneracion, Empress Schuck, Enchong Dee, and Giorgia Ortega.
Veteran actresses Cherie Gil, Dawn Zulueta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Carmi Martin will also have a part in this fun-filled, action-packed teleserye.
Director Chito Roño, who is also the manager of Vhong, will direct the pilot episode of the show. Directors Jerome Pobocan and Toots Mariscal will work hand in hand for Lastikman.
Catch Lastikman this September in ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida.