HE might be the Filipino’s ultimate superhero, but upon Captain Barbell’s return, expect to see a lot of familiar places in Metro Manila to be blown apart and torn down into bits.
“Initially, we’re going to destroy several buildings at the Fort in Makati,” boasts series director Dominic Zapata.
Direk Dom said that the inspiration for destroying places that were familiar to viewers first came to him when he was vacationing in the US. “I just came from Manhattan, and when I got home I saw this movie where they were blowing up the Grand Central Station, and I was like, ‘Wow! I was just there!’ The feeling of awe was so intense,” he described.
“That feeling of amazement and wonder is what we’d like our viewers to experience when they watch Captain Barbell,” he continued. “We want to make the audience exclaim ‘Wow! Hollywood sa laki!’”
Richard Gutierrez, who plays the titular role and his alter ego Teng said that he agreed to do the sequel with the intention of making it even bigger and better than the original series.
“Captain Barbell is an icon and we wanted to do him justice with this new series,” he related.
To ensure that this sequel would have some of the most spectacular effects and production design in TV history, Direk Dom said that they were working with Australian production designer Peter Collias, who had worked on blockbuster movies such as The Matrix and Moulin Rouge.
Five years later
“The last Captain Barbell was five years ago, so we know na yung mga audiences namin before na mga kids, ngayon lumaki na sila. Mas mature na yung mga audience namin,” mused Richard.
“So kailangan mas mature na yung character ni Teng, even yung character ni Captain Barbell. Through the story we’re going to establish that he indeed has gone through a lot in those five years in terms of love and responsibility. Expect a more dramatic and refined story.”
The new series picks up several years after the original. Teng has left his small town and is now working in Manila as a delivery man for a company called RBC.
“The original series took place in a very small town. But now that Teng is in Manila, we had to create bigger scenes to match the greater scope of Captain Barbell’s responsibility,” narrated Richard.
“This greater sense of responsibility will sometimes cause him great misery and will test the resilience of his character, especially when it comes to dealing with his pseudo-adopted daughter [played by Jillian Ward],” he added.
The changes in Captain Barbell will be highlighted by his new costume, which is a more modern albeit darker version. The color pattern, Richard says, was done in a way to show the evolution of the superhero. The costumes were manufactured in Hong Kong by Walt Disney costume maker Emily Lai of Cubedecor.
This time around Captain Barbell also wouldn’t be the only one with super powers.
Joining him in his quest to save the city will be Michelle Madrigal as Blue Cyclone, Bea Binene as Blade Girl, Ellen Adarna as Fuega, Frencheska Farr as Sonica, Jhake Vargas as Spin Boy and Mike Tan as Anino. They will collectively be known as the “Liga ng Kalayaan,” and will be headed by Eddie Gutierrez as General Armando, with Bianca King as his assistant.
As for the villains, Christopher de Leon will play his arch nemesis Nero, TJ Trinidad as Metal Man, Sam Pinto as Sammy, Ervic Vijandre as Kidlat, Akihiro Sato as Bruno the Hulk man, Elvis Gutierrez as Black Angel and Paolo Paraiso as Rodel the Sandman.
Headwriter RJ Nuevas explained that in the original series, Leah Lazaro (played by Rhian Ramos) dies and donates her heart. Teng must now find who the recipient of Leah’s heart is—either Melanie (Isabel Oli) or Althea (Lovi Poe).
Besides Oli and Poe, Michelle Madrigal and Richard’s rumored girlfriend Solenn Heussaff play potential love interests for Teng/Captain Barbell.
“Each one will have her own storyline and depending on how the story unfolds, you can never tell kung kanino mag-e-end up si Captain Barbell,” teased Richard.
Direk Dom says the number of leading ladies does not mean that Captain Barbell is a playboy, but rather an attempt so that the audience can better identify with the characters. “Everyone aspires to be Captain Barbell.
Everyone wants to have super powers. If you’re a guy, you want to be like him, and if you’re a girl, you want to have him as your boyfriend. So, with all the females in the show, we are hoping that everyone can relate to a character or a woman who will fall in love with Captain Barbell.”
Captain Barbell premieres tomorrow, on GMA 7 after 24 Oras.