Can Maya Karin shine as the new 'Katerina'?

WHEN word that a sequel to the hit film, Lagenda Budak Setan, was in the works, fans became ecstatic. The film, based on a best-selling novel by Ahadiat Akasha, made RM4.3 million last year, becoming the most successful local love story.

But when news that actress Nur Fazura, who played the character of Katerina in the film, would not return for the sequel, fans went to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to express their concern.

Most were upset that Fazura, who gave one of her best performances as Katerina, had been replaced by Maya Karin.

Fortunately though, Farid Kamil would be reprising his role as Kasyah -- the budak setan -- while Lisa Surihani would be playing Ayu once again.

Since the Kasyah-Ayu storyline ends in Lagenda Budak Setan, the sequel would be focusing on the relationship between Kasyah and Katerina.

It is learnt that Fazura could not commit to the sequel because of her busy schedule.

The decision to proceed with the sequel was only made after the original film became a box-office hit.

Lagenda Budak Setan 2 is currently in production and it is directed by Sharad Sharan, who also helmed the first film.

Lagenda Budak Setan 2 is the second sequel in the history of Malaysian cinema in which one of the main characters is played by a different person.

The first was Ali Setan 2, a sequel to the 1985 hit film, Ali Setan.

In Ali Setan, Fauziah Ahmad Daud played the role of Asmidar, who had a love-hate relationship with Ali. In the sequel, Asmidar was played by a different actress, Shasha.

In fact, the role of Tipah, played by Sheila Majid in the original, was also given to another actress, Dayangku Intan in the sequel.

The hero, Ali Setan was played by Azmil Mustapha in both films.

Yet, despite losing two big names -- Fauziah Ahmad Daud and Sheila Majid, Ali Setan 2 (1986) managed to become that year's box-office winner.

While it is still too early to tell if Maya Karin will be able to fit into the shoes of Katerina, there is no doubt that fans will flock to see the sequel.

The decision by the producers, Astro Shaw and Tarantella Pictures; to replace Fazura with Maya Karin may be seen as a risky move in local cinema. Other local films producers would rather remove the main character in the sequel rather than use a different actor.

The most recent example was in Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2, in which the role of Johan, played by Shaheizy Sam in the original, was taken out days before shooting started when the actor could not commit to the film.

The sequel was still a big hit with box-office takings of RM4.2 million but it could not match the original's collection of RM6.1 million.

And the sequel to Sembilu and Sembilu 2, Tragedi Oktober did not include the character Ziana made popular by diva Ziana Zain. The producer, Skop Productions, instead opted to create another character, Farah in Tragedi Oktober, played by singer Amy Mastura.

Yet in Hollywood, having different actors play the same characters in sequels is not unusual.

The most recent example was when actress Rachelle Lefevre, who played the role of vampire Victoria in Twilight and New Moon, was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard in Eclipse.

There's also the Professor Dumbledore character from the Harry Potter series. In the first three films -- The Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban -- the role was played by the late Richard Harris. He was replaced by Micheal Gambon.

The most popular leading character played by different actors in Hollywood is, of course, James Bond. Six different actors have taken on the role -- Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

-New Straits Times