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Darna: Marian Rivera Flying High

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After ruling the ratings as the half-fish/half-humanDyesebel, local TV’s ‘primetime block’ queen is set to soar even higher playing another well-loved Pinoy superheroineCONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo 
July 05, 2009 12:00 AM 

Let’s call the roll: Rosa del Rosario, Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, Gina Pareño, Vilma Santos, Rio Locsin, Anjanette Abayari, Nanette Medved, and Angel Locsin.

Not to mention Regine Velasquez (spoof) in the Bong Revilla topbiller Captain Barbell and Sharon Cuneta (also a spoof) in the Herbert Bautista starrer Captain Barbell, and even Dolphy in the gay-spoof version.

Yes, they have all played...Darna!!!

And here comes Marian Rivera in the latest reincarnation of the Mars Ravelo komiks super-heroine, also by GMA which produced the Angel Locsin starrer, which is set to soar (in the ratings, yes!) starting sometime in August.

“She’s the most playful Darna,” said Wilma Galvante, GMA’s SVP for Entertainment TV. “Mukha siyang manyika! And it’s very obvious how she thoroughly enjoys the role and that she’s having fun despite the production’s rigorous demands.”

As in the case of the top-rating Marimar, not to say Dyesebel, it feels like deja vu: Angel’s big loss is Marian’s big gain. Well, win some, lose some.

The new Darna is unlike the rest. Or so claims Chito Sumera, production designer (who also acted as one in the Nanette Medved version, produced by Viva Films): “The production design in this Darna is timeless. It showcases the original Filipino heroine in actual Philippine setting — country look, that is, may pagka-Amorsolo-postcard look yet colorful na may pagka-komiks ang atake so it’s more realistic. Generally, the over-all production design will support and enhance the story on the visual level. Possible locales are San Miguel (Bulacan), Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. Darna is memorable to me because it (the Nanette Medved version) was my first showbiz job as art director.”

You are seeing the pictures of Marian Rivera in Darna costume for the first time only here in The STAR.

Said designer Pepsi Herrera, “The costume is made of the following pieces: A metallic bustier bra top with 30 brass trimmings and a high-cut bikini bottom with a belt trimmed with oval and round brass pieces. A yellow loin cloth printed with a sun and its rays is also attached to the belt. The knee-high boots are also trimmed with 3D brass trimmings. To complete the look, brass wrist and arm bands are added.”

After ruling the ratings as the half-fish/half-humanDyesebel, local TV’s ‘primetime block’ queen is set to soar even higher playing another well-loved Pinoy superheroineThe cast includes Mark Anthony as Efren; Iwa Moto as Valentina; Nadine Samonte, Isabel Oli and Ehra Madrigal as Darna’s foes; Rita Avila and Jestoni Alarcon as the parents of Narda, Darna’s alter-ego; Janice de Belen as Valentina’s mother; Paolo Contis as Valentina’s father, King of the Snakes; Celia Rodriguez (who once played Valentina) as the caretaker of the orphanage where Narda grows up; and Robert “Buboy” Villar as Ding. Others in the cast: Alfred Vargas, Bearwin Meily, Angel Aquino, Maggie Wilson, Caridad Sanchez, Gabby Eigenmann and Roxanne Barcelo. Directors are Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez.
How many weeks did you train for Darna?

“Almost one month, but not continuous. Mga once or twice a week lang. I trained in wushu and harness, mga routine ng fight scenes. Medyo mahirap.”

Was it harder than your training for Dyesebel?

“Actually. I knew how to swim pero hindi ako magaling; kapag malalim na hindi ko na kaya. So for Dyesebel, I had to train sa swimming with the Philippine Team. I had to learn how to swim wearing a tail. Training for Darna is harder. Mas mahirap ‘yung harness kaysa lumangoy, lalo na kapag naka-costume ka.” (Said Michael Roy, the wushu trainor: “Marian is awesome, She’s fun to work with. She’s always on time and she’s a really fast learner, considering wushu is one of the toughest martial arts we know. That’s why we’re so proud of her. I’m pretty sure that she’s the best Darna we will ever have.”)

In which costume is it harder to move, Dyesebel with tail or Darna which is tight-fitting?

“Darna, definitely! ‘Yung Dyesebel, ang taas lang ang nakikita. But in Darna, kita from head to foot.”

Your costume in Darna is talagang very tight. How did you prepare for that?

“Actually, I wasn’t used to exercising. Pero for Darna, I learned how to work out in the gym. I do the treadmill and abs exercises. I have to work on my back, kailangan matigas. Wino-workout ang likod ko because it’s weak. Sa harness, your back must be hard para hindi ka bumagsak...you must be balanced. During the wushu training, there are so many stretching exercises lalo na kapag nagha-harness ka; your body must be flexible.” (Said harness supervisor Tony Gapo: “Okay naman po siya. Desidido siya sa ginagawa niya kaya madali niya makuha ang instructions. Malaking factor po sa kanya ‘yung pagiging dancer niya.”)

Is there part of your body that you have to be careful with?

“My right foot. Di ba napilayan ako noon? It happened late last year during the shooting of Desperadas 2. My foot was in plaster cast and I had to be on crutches. So when I have to land on my feet, I have to do it with my left foot first. My right foot still aches especially when it’s cold, kumikirot.”
And what kind of diet do you have for Darna?

After ruling the ratings as the half-fish/half-humanDyesebel, local TV’s ‘primetime block’ queen is set to soar even higher playing another well-loved Pinoy superheroine“Before, I really ate and ate kahit ano; kain kung kain. But now, nagbabawas na ako. I can’t eat anything that I like. I have to control myself, especially at night. Noon, maski gabi na kumakain pa rin ako.”

Do you starve yourself?

“No naman. I still take three square meals a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner. But dinner is very light, with very little rice or none at all.”

So what are your present vital statistics?

“Teka...siguro 33-23-34. Tama lang for my height, 5’4".”

Is it true that Dingdong helped in your training?

“Not naman help. Nagkataon lang na napasama ako sa kanya sa gym. He told me which part of my body to concentrate the workout on — unahin mo ‘yung abs, palakasin mo ang back mo, mga ganoon lang.”

Wow, concerned siya, ‘no?

“Dapat lang, di ba?” (Laughs self-consciously)

Once and for all, kayo ba talaga?

“Ay...a, basta...All I can is this: Siya ang pinaka-importanteng lalaki sa akin.”


“Alam na nila ‘yon. I don’t have to elaborate or to explain. Basta, siya ang pinakamahalagang lalaki sa buhay ko ngayon.”

Have you discovered anything new about each other so far?

“He hasn’t changed. Lahat ng sinabi niya tinutupad niya. At lahat ‘yon ay totoo kasi totoong tao siya, eh. Remember what he said in an interview? ‘If she needs me, I’ll always be there for her; never ko siyang iiwanan.’ What he said is true. He has been consistent all along. He’s really a true friend; he will stick to you through thick and thin.”

So he’s true to his word?

“Oo naman. At mabait siya.”

Do you think he’s faithful?

“Hmmmmm. Ewan ko sa kanya.” (And she starts to laugh again)

“Siguro naman.”

Did he say in an interview that he doesn’t look at other women anymore?

“Hmmmm. What I know is that he’s focused on his career. Whether or not he still looks or doesn’t look at other women...ewan ko lang.”
(Laughs and laughs) “What I know is that we regularly exchange text messages; nagkukumustahan kami, you know: ‘Ano’ng ginagawa mo? Nasaan ka? Kumain ka na ba?’ Mga ganoon. Sometimes, we eat out. ‘O, are you free today? Halika, kain tayo sa labas’.”

Are you possessive...the jealous type?

“Selosa? Hehehehe! Yes, selosa ako sa lahat, pati sa Lola ko. But to a certain point. Hindi naman unreasonable. Alam ko kung hanggang saan lang. Kung sa selosa, oo, talagang totoong selosa ako.”

Have you and Karylle met since last year’s controversy?

“Not yet.”

Karylle said that she will say “Hi!” to you and, why not, maybe give you a hug. Ikaw, ano kaya ang magiging reaction mo?

“Talaga? With me, it’s hard to say. Mahirap pangunahan ang situwasyon. But I would know how to react kapag nangyari na.

Ito lang ang masasabi ko: Wala naman kasi akong ginawang masama sa kanya para iwasan ko siya. Alam ko at alam niya na wala akong intensyon kahit dati pa. I know the whole truth, Dingdong knows the whole truth and she knows the whole truth. Alam naming tatlo kung ano ang tunay na pangyayari. I’m sure time will come when we will meet. I have a clear conscience, kaya taas-noo ko siyang haharapin.”

You don’t have a guilty conscience?

“None. I have nothing to be guilty of.”

What about the issue about Katrina (Halili, who was rumored to be playing Valentina, the snake-haired villainess in Darna)?

“Actually, nobody told me that Katrina would be my kontrabida. ‘Yung kabilang estasyon (read: ABS-CBN) yata ang pilit gumagawa ng isyu — you know, na kesyo tinanggihan ko daw si Katrina. It’s not true. Kahit sinong artista, me included, walang karapatang tumanggi sa kung sino ang isasama sa cast. Darna is Darna because of the kontrabidas.”

By the way, is it true that you made a (negative) comment about Katrina’s sex video with Dr. Hayden Kho?

“No, I did not. I didn’t even watch it. I don’t want to watch it. Ayokong dagdagan pa ang bilang ng mga nanonood. Nakita mo nga siya sa TV, nakakaawa siya. So why should I even watch the video?”

What about Angel (Locsin)? Don’t you think you have something to thank her for? (Angel played Darna in the first GMA series but turned down Marimar when she jumped ober da bakod to rival station ABS-CBN, so Marian, then a “supporting” player, got the role and became an overnight sensation.)

“Well, everybody knows that Marimar was really for her. But I think one of the reasons why the public accepted me as Marimar is that siguro nakita naman nila na talagang pinag-sikapan kong gampanan ‘yung role ng mabuti. I really worked hard for it. Ibinuhos ko ang sarili ko doon sa role. I believe na kung nasaan man ako ngayon, pinag-hirapan ko ‘yon.”

Did you see Angel in Darna?

“Every now and then.”

How was she?

“I can’t say dahil hindi ko naman napanood lahat.”

Come to think of it, how many endorsements do you have?


No wonder they are calling you The New Commercial Queen.

“Aray ko! Di ko alam ‘yon. Pero kung ganoon man, thank you talaga!””

But one of your endorsements, Blue Water Day Spa, went to, of all people, Karylle.

“A, okay lang ‘yon. It happens all the time. The Blue Water Day Spa people told me that every year talaga, nagpapalit sila ng endorser. It really doesn’t matter kung sino man ang ipinalit nila sa akin, kahit hindi si Kaye. They changed not only me, but also Piolo (Pascual, replaced by Japanese-Brazilian model Akihiro Sato). Before me, it was Toni (Gonzaga) who was the Blue Water endorser.”

With your volume of work, do you ever have time to relax and enjoy yourself?

“Yes, of course. Everytime I’m free, nagri-relax din naman ako. On Sundays, I usually spend time with my family in Cavite. Actually, on the set it doesn’t feel like work lalo na kapag kachika ko na ang mga kasama ko.”

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