'Darna' a coming-of-age film for Liza Soberano, says Erik Matti

MANILA, Philippines – Director Erik Matti said the approach for the upcoming Darna film starring Liza Soberano will be very different from past movies featuring the iconic superhero.

"Look at this as a coming-of-age film. Not just for Narda to Darna but also for Liza becoming a serious actor," Erik said on the sidelines of the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild on Monday, July 3.

"It's a coming-of-age film. You know the amount of challenge that she's facing not just emotionally, [but also] psychologically, physically. So it's her coming-of-age film. All these years she's been doing light teen romance," he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Erik said he will make sure that the film they are doing will be unique.

"The story that we have has some serious notes in it but it's really told in an epic. If you saw the teaser that we made, add a bit of spunk and hip to it, that’s the movie."

Casting clarifications

Erik also clarified reports that came out about the movie's casting. A report by the Philippine Star on June 27 had said Liza's perennial screen partner Enrique Gil would be part of the cast. 

"Nagulat ako nung last meeting namin may nag-announce … no'ng Enrique Gil, eh wala pa nga kaming final na casting," he said.

(I was surprised during our last meeting that something was announced ... about Enrique Gil, because we have no final casting yet.)

Erik said they have yet to finalize other details but are already thinking of the characters who will be in the film.

"We know some characters already that we're bringing in but we're in the middle of developing the material. Later on, I'll be having some design meetings," he said.

While the director stayed mum on who would take on the role of Valentina, he said there is a possibility that other villains would appear in the film.

"Siyempre Darna iyan, so kailangan you (Of course that's Darna so you need to) pick her nemesis one by one and then push them as well. The superhero is only as good as the villain," Erik noted.

He also shared that he has spoken with Liza a number of times and given her a lot of tips.

"And you know, Liza – she's this parang determined na babae (determined woman), so I think she's gonna be good, a really great Darna for this."

Top-notch production

Erik also expressed appreciation for the various Darna costumes drawn and posted online by artists.

"Ang gaganda. Actually career talaga," he said. "We actually had initial drawings already in the previous scripts but having Liza on board, we're reimagining it for her para match naman. Wala pa kaming style na iniisip because I wanna see her body and I want to see what kind of a silhouette would fit her."

(Their drawings are beautiful. They really put a lot of effort into creating those. We actually had initial drawings in the previous scripts, but having Liza on board, we're reimagining it so the costume would match her. We have no style in mind yet because I wanna see her body and I want to see what kind of silhouette would fit her.)

Erik also said they are looking into every aspect of the production to make sure the visual effects, fight scenes, and costumes would be top-notch.

Auditions of the other characters like Ding, according to the director, will be announced soon.

Liza was announced as the new Darna in June, replacing Angel Locsin, who had to bow out due to health reasons. – Rappler.com