Liza Soberano to play Darna on the big screen

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Liza Soberano shows off the Darna comic books given to her by Angel Locsin (Photo from the Facebook page of manager Ogie Diaz)

It’s official. Liza Soberano will be the next big screen Darna.

This was posted by no less than director Erik Matti and Liza’s manager, Ogie Diaz on separate posts on Facebook on Tuesday.

“And it’s out of the bag. #Darna,” Matti posted.

Liza herself confirmed the news in an interview with ABS-CBN News while Diaz posted photos of his ward holding Darna comic books given to her by fellow actress Angel Locsin. Angel was previously attached to the highly-anticipated project but had to give it up after developing a spine injury she developed over the years as a result of her preference to do her own stunts.

Angel tried to recover and held on to the role but when her training for the film began, she experienced back pains prompting her to finally drop out of the project for good after consulting with her doctors.

Based on Diaz’s post, it seems that Angel, who already played the iconic superheroine in a GMA fantaserye in 2015, is very much okay with Liza taking over the Darna mantle.

“Yang mga magazines na yan, bigay sa kanya ni Angel Locsin. Ibig sabihin, gusto ni Angel si Liza gumanap na Darna,” Diaz wrote.

As quoted by Diaz, Liza was very pleased with Angel’s gesture.

“Di pa po kami uli nagkikita. Pero pag nakita ko po siya, i will thank her po for the opportunity and these Darna komiks,” Liza was quoted as saying.

In a separate post, Diaz likewise slammed the naysayers who accused him of lobbying for the role in behalf of his talent.

“Ginapang ko daw yung Darna para mapunta kay Liza Soberano. Sorry po, hindi naman ako ganun ka-powerful para manggapang ng project para sa alaga ko. Eh, kung nakuha lang pala sa gapangan yang Darna eh di sana, nabalitaan nyo na rin na ako ang gaganap na Ding,” Diaz wrote.

Created in 1947 by legendary komiks storyteller Mars Ravelo in collaboration with artist Nestor Redondo, Darna is regarded as the Philippines answer to DC Comics’ Wonder Woman.

In the serialized komiks novels, a crippled young woman named Narda transforms into the superpowered Darna upon shouting her name backwards after swallowing a mystical white stone. She then battles supernatural villains, the most infamous of which is the Medusa-like Valentina.

Clad in a skimpy red and gold costume, Darna made her big screen debut in 1951 when she was portrayed by Rosa del Rosario who also reprised the role in “Darna at ang Babaing Lawin” the following year.

Over the years, actresses who also played Darna on film and television include Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, Gina Pareño, Vilma Santos, Lorna Tolentino, Rio Locsin, Sharon Cuneta, Nanette Medved, Anjanette Abayari, Regine Velasquez and Marian Rivera.

Even the late Comedy King Dolphy played Darna in the comedy spoof, “Darna, Kuno?” in 1979.

The latest “Darna” movie will be a joint production between ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema and Reality Entertainment of Matti and producer Dondon Monteverde.