Director Chito S. Roño envisions ‘gritty, real’ ‘Darna’ series

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  • Growing up as a fan of Vilma Santos’ “Darna” films, acclaimed director Chito S. Roño finds a unique thrill in re-introducing the superhero to a new generation of viewers.

    Roño, in fact, had not directed a series for nearly a decade by choice, but was ultimately convinced to return to television, to helm “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series.”

    “I found the material very exciting. Ayoko na talaga mag-soap. Matagal ko nang iniwanan ang mundo ng soap,” he told ABS-CBN News.

    “When I heard the story, when I heard everything, nagustuhan ko. Tinanggap ko na rin,” Roño said.

    Roño is no stranger to helming a Ravelo property. In 2007, he directed the primetime series “Lastikman,” starring Vhong Navarro.

    “Pero siyempre ngayon, mas modern na ang technology, so mas bago na tingnan. Bago na ‘yung gagamitin namin. Hindi na ‘yung mga lumang technology. Exciting din ‘yun,” Roño said.

    For one, “Darna” is set to be filmed at the ABS-CBN sound stages in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, starting November. The sprawling, Hollywood-standard production hub is also seen as an ideal setup for quarantined filming, in line with prevailing pandemic protocols.

    Despite the limitations of new-normal productions, such as the prohibition of crowd scenes, Roño said “Darna” will be presented as “bigger than the usual soap that we see.”

    “Ang challenge ko talaga is to make sure that what we have and what is available to us is workable and will do well for the project,” he said.

    Joshua Garcia, Zaijan Jaranilla join cast of ‘Darna’ series

    Joshua Garcia and Zaijan Jaranilla were introduced Tuesday as part of the main cast of “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series,” joining Jane de Leon as the titular superheroine.

    Jaranilla will portray Ricardo Custodio, or Ding, Narda’s brother and Darna’s sidekick.

    “Mahilig siya sa technology at computer games,” Jaranilla said of his character, hinting at Ding’s skills as Darna’s trusty partner.

    Garcia, meanwhile, was announced as the “male lead” of the series. The acclaimed actor said his character is named Brian Samonte Robles, a police officer.

    Garcia and Jaranilla were announced as cast members through a virtual launch held from one of the ABS-CBN sound stages in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, where “Darna” will start production in November.

    Iza Calzado, who was previously announced as “the first Darna,” gave more details about her character. She will play Leonor Custodio, a “prime warrior” from Planet Marte and the mother of Ding and Darna’s human alter ego Narda.

    Other casts include Marvin Yap, Young JV, Rio Locsin, Kiko Estrada and many more.

    De Leon was also present during the cast announcement.

    Aside from the cast, Avel Sungpongco was announced as a second director of the series, joining acclaimed filmmaker Chito S. Roño.  (abs-cbn)

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