Jane de Leon

I hope to be able to meet his expectations of me,” said Jane de Leon, lead star of “Darna: The TV Series,” when Inquirer Entertainment sought her reaction to the news that highly acclaimed director Chito Roño would be officially taking the helm in the much-awaited TV adaptation of the country’s iconic superheroine.

Jane said the news also made her “quite nervous.” This was because she admitted that she “asked around and was told that he is very strict when it comes to work.”

“To be honest, I am really excited to work with him because I know I will be able to learn a lot from him professionally. I look forward to our taping,” stressed Jane, who added that she still couldn’t say when this would happen because taping schedules are still being arranged by the production team.

When sought for comments, Roño promised to talk again with Inquirer Entertainment after he has already met with his Kapamilya bosses in relation to the series.

Roño is behind hit ABS-CBN series such as “Imortal,” “Lastikman” and “Spirits.” He made his last TV show “Maria Mercedes” back in 2013. He is also known for being the “master of scare” on the big screen with hit horror flicks like “Feng Shui” and “The Ghost Bride” under his belt. He was also the director of award-winning drama films “Dekada ‘70” and “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?”

‘Obvious choice’

Meanwhile, Erik Matti, who was the first choice to direct the project that was originally a film version in 2019, said that Roño was “the obvious choice.”

“Direk Chito knows this genre well. He is considered an expert, with all the successful fantasy projects he’s done in the past,” said Matti, referring to Roño’s “Spirit Warriors” series released in the early 2000s.

In June 2014, ABS-CBN announced that Matti would be directing the movie, with Angel Locsin in the title role. After working on the project for five years, Matti bowed out of it, with the Kapamilya network citing “creative differences” as the reason.

Chito Roño

On Monday, Matti expressed his concern about how the new production team would “modernize” the story of Darna that he began writing in 2014. “The question here is will the story be something fresh and modern? I’m sure Direk Chito will offer new insights if he would be given the chance to discuss the story with the producers, but not if he’d simply jump into it and proceed to shoot,” Matti observed.

Before Roño, Star Cinema announced in October 2018 that Jerrold Tarog (“Heneral Luna”), would replace Matti.

Casting changes

In January, Tarog said on Twitter that he would no longer be the director due to “scheduling conflicts,” about the same time when ABS-CBN said the project would no longer be a movie but a TV series.

Erik Matti

In October 2015, Angel decided to let go of the project due to a spine injury. Two years later, in May, Liza Soberano was introduced as the new Darna. After filming a few scenes for the film, however, Liza also exited from “Darna” in April 2019, citing a fractured finger.

In July 2019, ABS-CBN formally introduced Jane de Leon as the new Darna.

In terms of how she has been preparing for the role, Jane said she has long begun physical training with specific workout regimens. “I’m about to start working on my stunts, too,” she told Inquirer Entertainment on Monday. “I should say I also need to be emotionally prepared so that I can deliver all the things required from me at work.”

Cameras are set to roll in November. “Darna: The TV Series” is produced by ABS-CBN’s JRB Creative Production. INQ

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