Director ready for backlash vs Norse mythology show

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DOMINIC ZAPATA, with his two decades-long career directing film and television, is no stranger to large-scale productions with the most recent being GMA’s Alyas Robinhood (seasons 1 and 2) and Mulawin vs. Ravena in 2017, but his newest foray into fantasy series — Victor Magtanggol — is proving to be his biggest work to date.

“I hadn’t utilized motion capture as much as I have here definitely not for television yet — this is the first time,” Mr. Zapata told reporters shortly before the show’s launch on July 23 in GMA Network Center, Quezon City.

“The magnitude of the work goes beyond production. It also includes the kind of bashing we had to confront because of what we decided to pull off,” he added.

Victor Magtanggol, which airs starting July 30 on GMA’s Primetime block, takes inspiration from Norse myths and legends and follows the titular character (played by Alden Richards) as he tries to save the world from the encroaching evil caused by Loki (played by John Estrada) while maintaining his alter-ego, a carpenter who is looking for his mother in Japan.

Loki is the brother of the god of thunder Thor, who perished in the events of Ragnarok — a cataclysmic battle which ended the earth and killed many of the major Norse gods. Loki aims to get his hands on Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to create monstrous offsprings to spread evil in the world.

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The show was first announced earlier this month and almost immediately, people compared the show to Marvel’s Thor because both shows use Norse mythology as their basis.

Mr. Zapata clarified that while both shows use the same myths and legends, Victor Magtanggol is set after the events of Ragnarok while the Thor film series never goes beyond the event.

He expected the negative reactions and comparisons the moment he read the script, but he loved it so much that he went with it.

“The challenge is the beauty of it,” he explained.

It should be mentioned that Mr. Zapata faced similar backlash in 2017’s Alyas Robinhood which was compared to CW’s ongoing series, Arrow, as both feature vigilantes using bows and arrows as their main weapons

The breadth of Victor Magtanggol, which was shot entirely in 4K resolution and is special effects heavy (the pilot alone, he said, has about 15 minutes of special effects) was ultimately meant to encourage a generation who are growing up watching streaming services such as Netflix, HOOQ, and iflix, to watch regular TV.

“How I intend to arrest the situation is by coming up with productions that are so massive that you cannot afford it making it only a streamed content production,” he said.

The series was shot both in Japan and the Philippines and is scheduled to air for 16 weeks minimum.

Joining Mr. Richards in the series are John Estrada as Loki, Andrea Torres as Sif (Thor’s last wife and Victor Magtanggol’s trainer), Pancho Magno as Modi (one of Thor’s sons and Magtanggol’s rival), Conan Stevens as Thor, and Miguel Faustmann as Magni/Magnus (another of Thor’s sons and keeper of Mjolnir).

Also in the cast are Al Tantay, Coney Reyes, Eric Quizon, Janine Guttierez, and Maritoni Fernandez, among others.

Victor Magtanggol airs starting July 30 on GMA’s Telebabad Primetime block. — Zsarlene B. Chua

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