Thirty-one years after its film version shocked audiences, Maligno is brought to life on the small screen as the second feature presentation of Sineserye Presents: the Susan Roces Cinema Collection.
Maligno is the follow-up to the series's previous adaptation of another Susan Roces film classic, Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, which starred Kris Aquino. This horror series is topbilled by Claudine Barretto, Diether Ocampo, and Rafael Rosell, under the direction of Wenn Deramas.
ABS-CBN chooses Direk Wenn to helm the television remake of Celso Ad. Castillo's film of the same title. The 1977 movie earned lead star Susan Roces a Best Actress trophy in the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).
What can viewers expect from the television remake of Maligno?
In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last April 16, Direk Wenn pointed out, "Una sa lahat, kailangan siyempre updated yung lahat. Yung character ni Claudine, newscaster ng isang magazine show. Yung character ni Eddie Garcia, [proven] talaga namin na siya yung demonyo, ‘eto yung kay Rafael Rosell.
"Yung kuwento ng Maligno, yun talaga ‘yon. Masasabi natin na 100 percent ginawa namin yung kuwentong yon. Ang binago lang namin ay yung treatment kung paano muling ikukuwento yung kuwento ng pelikulang Maligno."
Direk Wenn is all praises for the innocent-looking young boy who is actually the spawn of the devil in Maligno.
"Yung bata [referring to newcomer Carlo Pacana], tignan n'yo naman. Sino mag-iisip na demonyo siya? Mahusay. Kung merong isang dapat na panoorin n'yo dito, yung bagong tuklas na bata na nakaka-deceive yung kaguwapuhan. ‘Pag umarte, nakakatakot."
The eight-year old Carlo started out as a TV commercial model before getting this big break through an audition.
MODERN APPROACH. In preparation for their roles, the three lead actors didn't completely refer to the 1977 film. Both Rafael and Diether revealed that they didn't watch the original Maligno for fear that it would prevent them from giving a more updated approach to their characters.
Claudine, on the other hand, had a slightly different approach. "I asked for the video, pinanood ko kalahati, and then I realized na parang ayoko nang tapusin kasi unang-una, natakot na ako. Pangalawa, mahirap to live up dun sa mga expectations of how Tita Susan attacked her role sa Maligno and sa sobrang nerbiyos ko nga, ayoko na magaya ko yung acting niya. I wanted something different para na rin sa sarili ko kasi mahirap kapag masyado mong gagayahin. Mahirap."
The actress pointed out how giving birth to Rodrigo Santino, her second child with actor Raymart Santiago, has affected her work.
"Ngayon, mas nadagdagan yung inspiration ko to do better and after manganak ka mas nakakatakot dahil mas nagiging malalim yung pagiging artista mo. It's true, mas na-inspire pa ako to do better after Sabina and Santino and to give my best sa audience ko, sa fans ko, sa mga kaibigan ko na matagal nang sumusuporta na even after giving birth, nandyan pa rin sila."
For someone like Claudine who is a devout Born-Again Christian, how was it like for her to be part of Maligno?
"It was very difficult for me. When we had our story conference, I asked our pastor from Victory Christian Fellowship for advice if I should go on and his answer was that he believed that I am emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally equipped as a Christian to do this role."
The press then asked how young stars Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson feel about their performance in Maligno, which marks their transition to more mature roles.
Kim, who plays an ambitious production assistant turned reporter for a local TV network, replied,"Nung una po, kinakabahan na medyo mature yung role kasi nasanay nga po kami sa medyo teenage cutie [roles and] mga loveteams tapos pinasok kami sa Maligno tapos kasama si Direk Wenn, si Ms. Claudine, si Diether, silang lahat kaya sobrang nakakatuwa at nakakakaba lalo na nung first taping day namin."
In his portrayal as the cameraman assigned to follow Kim's character, Gerald couldn't hide his excitement from the press. "[I'm] very, very privileged at thankful kasi ito po'y first time namin mag-horror, it's our first mature role and [I'm] very happy and privileged to work with people like Ms. Claudine, si Diet. So very happy po, very happy."
What is Tita Susan's final verdict on the finished product?
"Tila katulad ng Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, ay lalo pa nilang napaganda ang Maligno. Labis akong natutuwa sa respeto at paggalang hindi lang para sa ‘kin kung hindi para sa mga pelikulang isinasalin nila bilang sineserye."
Other members of the cast include Ms. Susan Roces herself, who will play a very special role, DJ Durano, Arlene Tolibas, Empoy, plus a special participation from Ms. Rio Locsin.
Be sure to catch Maligno as it starts its terrifying 4-week run starting this Monday, April 28, on ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida.
Click HERE to view photos of the cast members of Maligno.