(SPOT.ph) In 2016, it was announced that Erik Matti (Honor Thy Father, On the Job, Buybust) will be directing the latest adaptation of Darna. Liza Soberano, who's set to play the titular role, has already been training for the movie. (She even got the blessings of both Vilma Santos and Angel Locsin!) And it was just in August of 2018 when it was announced that the cast is finally complete. But it seems that plans have changed because in an official statement by ABS-CBN's Integrated Corporate Communications Division, Matti will no longer be directing the film.
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"ABS-CBN, Star Cinema, and director Erik Matti have mutually decided to part ways in the filming of Darna because of creative differences and to allow the filmmaker to work on his other projects under his own production company, Reality Entertainment," the statement says.
The acclaimed director has been open about his vision for the movie. In an interview with SPOT.ph, he said, "It's going to be more serious, but we wouldn't make it something too serious like the Batman trilogy. It still has to appeal to a wide Filipino audience and be popcorn entertainment. But we're not going to put baduy na costumes or cheesy action scenes tapos idadaan na lang sa jokes kasi walang budget." Matti is also working on a sequel for On the Job.
The statement continues, "ABS-CBN and Star Cinema, however, are fully committed to bringing the iconic character to the big screen for today's generation of moviegoers to witness the story of the well-loved Pinoy comics superhero. The new Darna director will be announced soon."
Matti also released his own statement on his Facebook page, saying, "As it has been announced, I have officially resigned from the movie Darna. It’s been five years and how I wish I [could] have finished it after all the hard work that went into preparing and putting it together. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out ideally for both parties."
He talks about why he wanted to work on the highly anticipated film. "Darna is personal to me. My first project in the industry was as continuity supervisor for Peque Gallaga’s Darna with Anjanette Abayari. And doing this modern reboot of the classic superhero, I feel that I have come full circle in this industry."
He ends his statement by thanking the people he worked with on the film. "I would like to thank my staff and crew who have toiled through the process bringing forth brilliant design and execution ideas as to how we can bring to life a uniquely modern take of our iconic Filipino superhero that can be relevant to the times."
Still, he thinks that Soberano will do great in the role. "To Liza Soberano, thank you for the dedication and commitment. I’m sure you’ll be a kickass Darna. To Star Cinema, ABS-CBN, and the next director, I wish you all the best for this project."
While the director hasn't been announced yet, let's just hope they'll be able to do the comic-book icon justice.