In an effort to help raise funds for film workers left without work during quarantine, Director Jerrold Tarog joined in on a livestream session with the Cinema '76 Film Society. In the episode #KwentuhanLang, Tarog answered netizens' questions, including one on the progress of the Jane de Leon-led Darna movie. The director, of course, took on the project, set for a to-be-confirmed release date now facing further delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. He replaced Erik Matti, who left last October because of "creative differences."
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks: Jane De Leon Answers Everything—Slam Book Style!]
"We were doing really well before the lockdown," Tarog explained how the production's been coming along. "Mga 15 or 16 days na ata 'yung shooting namin. Base sa na-edit namin na rough cut, I'm really happy with how it's going so far, and Jane de Leon is doing really good... Sayang, kasi before nag-quarantine, we were about to shoot one of the biggest action scenes."
On the topic of plot, Tarog spoke of it as a coming-of-age story, but bent slightly differently since "It's a superhero movie, mayroon syang mga kailangang daanan para maging superhero." Stressed the man behind critical success Heneral Luna, "Nakatali 'yung struggles ni Darna sa mga problema ng society."
Tarog said the source material used for the film took inspiration from two of the nine screenplay drafts that Matti earlier wrote in preparation. "Kinuha ko 'yung dalawang drafts, and I rewrote the entire thing, para sariling approach ko 'yung kuwento," he said about his process. "While rewriting, binalikan ko 'yung komiks. Wala akong pinanoonod na pelikula or scenes ni Darna. Bumalik ako sa original komiks, and then kumuha ako ng mga elements na pwede kong gamitin. Nag-transform 'yung original na sinulat nila Erik into something na maiku-kwento ko nang galing sa puso."
[related: #ABSCBNLifestyleInspo Jane De Leon: The Secrets To My Darna Bod Revealed!]
Tarog further praised newbie de Leon, who for the role had replaced Liza Soberano who then quit due to an injury. Out of the 400 actresses who auditioned, the director narrated how the former GirlTrends member made the top six. He then said that of those top rankers, she was the only one to get the casting team's unanimous vote. "Mayroon syang ginagawa during the auditions na parang instinctive sa kanya na drama and action 'yung pelikula. Napakita nya 'yan through just the audition!" he said. "Si Jane 'yung may tamang balance ng qualities para maikwento 'yung coming-of-age story na gagawin namin for Darna."
While Darna could be the start of a Mars Ravelo "cinematic universe" a la Marvel's very own, Tarog quickly cautioned fans to not get that far ahead. "'Yung near future na lang ang pag-usapan natin, kasi in the far, far future pa 'yan. Tapusin muna natin 'yung unang Darna, and then let's see kung anong mangyayari after that!"
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Banner image taken from the Instagram account of Jerrold Tarog