How to be a Latin Lover follows the story of Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) a vivacious trophy husband who has the rug pulled out from under him when his eighty-year-old meal ticket kicks him out of his mansion and accustomed lifestyle.
With the help of his partner-in-crime (Rob Lowe) and his brutally honest sister (Salma Hayek) Maximo attempts to figure out adult life and schemes to get back into the lap of luxury. Our very own Nicolette Acosta was able to sit down with the cast and director of How to be a Latin Lover, watch part one of the interview below:
NA: How did you feel when you first read the script? What made you excited about it and about playing Maximo?
Eugenio Derbez: We were so excited because- we were developing like four scripts at the same time and honestly we never thought it was going to be the first one, we were focused on another one, but this one came like-it was like natural. When we had the first table read, it was amazing, everyone was cracking up so I said, “This script has something special.” So we decided to go with this for my firs movie here in the US. I’ve been working my entire life you know for Latin America and this is my first movie starring in English here in the US, so I’m very happy.
NA: That’s amazing and one of the things I think was so special about it, is that it challenges so many- it makes fun of so many Latino stereotypes. Can you talk about that and about really changing up the stereotypes and the tropes?
ED: Well, first of all, I decided to develop my own material because I was tired of getting the same roles over and over. They’d just call me to do the drug lord, the criminal, the murderer, and I wanted to portray a different face for Latino’s. So in my last movie, Instructions Not Included, one thing Latino’s told me they were really proud to see on screen finally, in the US, a Latino who was finally a good guy, a nice guy. He was also a rich guy and good dad. So I decided to go that way. And Maximo-he’s not a great guy, because he has a lot of flaws, but he’s amazing! And the only way to break down a stereotype is making fun of it, so I decided to do this version of the Latin Lover. Because I’m Latino, so I need to do something funny and different.
NA: Absolutely and you still root for him, you want him to win in the end!
ED: Yeah, he’s nice. It was hard to play a guy who, in a certain way he’s living from all these rich ladies and to love him was hard to do. But I think that he’s so charming, that in the end you’re for him instead of against him.
NA: In the blooper reel you can tell the cast had so much fun together, you guys really seem to bond together like a family, what was one of your favorite moments on set?
ED: Oh my God! I swear I’m not telling lies- it was so much fun! It’s probably one of the most fun shooting’s I’ve ever had in my entire career. Every single guy is amazing! I mean Rob Riggle, Rob Corddry, Raquel Welch, Kristen Bell- my God, Rob Lowe, everyone is so funny! We had a blast when we were shooting!
The pool scene was one of my favorites, the pool scene is hilarious! At the same time it was so embarrassing because- imagine I met Raquel when I was on set, wearing the tiny, yellow speedo and they said to me, “Raquel is here for the first time.”
She was my crush when I was a kid and I want to meet her. But I’m like, “I’m not going to meet Raquel Welch in a tiny speedo, with a big belly, because I gained weight for this role. So it was so embarrassing to meet Raquel looking like that. It was embarrassing- I was dying.
NA: You and Eugenio have been friends for over 30 years and you’re finally getting to work together. What was it like, especially to be able to play siblings with someone you’re so close with?
Salma Hayek: That’s perfect because we have really good sibling energy anyway. So he wrote me in as the sibling and I’m so happy to be able to be in this film and support this incredible Latin talent that has been huge in Latin America forever and now he’s finally having his crossover and I am so honored to be able to be a part of it. Because you know, you want talented people to do well but when they’re so nice, you really thrive- you really want it more than ever and you know, and he’s so lovely.
NA: I love that; it’s that extra thing that makes you want to work even harder on set. With diversity in Hollywood being such a big conversation now, finally, how do you feel films like How to be a Latin Lover can continue that dialogue?
SH: Well I think the film has a lot to contribute because it is maybe the first time that it’s a balancing act between Latin American humor, like authentic, and American humor. And it’s such a beautiful combination. So I think it’s funny in new ways also that you’re not used to seeing in the typical comedies and it also shows a lot of positive things about being a Latino in America and also we make fun of a lot of negative things too that are all in his character, because he’s an awful human being.
NA: Absolutely, it sort of just turns everything on its head and it’s so great, what was it like working with Ken Marino on his directorial debut with a feature film?
SH: Oh my god! We got along so well! We got along so well, I love Ken! He’s a stand up comedian himself, so you were always laughing on that set no matter what. We kind of drove him crazy at moments, because we would improvise in Spanish and he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish. And so he was so smart, what he’d do on those occasions, when he can see that what was written in Spanish and nothing sounds like what is there, he would look at the set and if they were holding the laughter or really- he would just not cut and let it go forever and then come afterwards and say, “OK guys what was that? What did you just say?” So he was game, and he was fun. So kind, great energy every day.
NA: What was it like shooting on set with Eugenio and Salma?
Raphael Alejandro: Well it was really great because Eugenio, he taught me like a lot of stuff. And Salma too- not like meant to, but she did teach me because I saw her acting and everything so yeah.
NA: So I’m guessing they gave you a lot of acting advice, but in the movie he gives you a lot of advice on being a ladies’ man, did you pick up anything on that?
RA: Well, I don’t really think- I don’t really believe in that. Yes you can get some tips on how to be gentleman like opening the door, ladies first, everything like that. But I don’t believe in the Latin lover stuff I think you just have to be yourself, and if the girl doesn’t like you then she’s not the right girl.
NA: That sounds like some really good advice. What was one of your favorite scenes to shoot?
RA: Well, it was the eye contact scene, where like he’s teaching me the eye contact, but he’s throwing the gummy bears in my face because I had to keep serious because I couldn’t laugh about how he was throwing the gummy bears, but I also had to look at his face and keep my eye contact lock on his.
NA: So how did you become passionate about acting so early? How did you get started?
RA: Well it started with my sister, my older sister, and then my older brother, and then me.
NA: What would you like do in the future? You want to keep going with movies? You’ve done work with Once Upon a Time which is super exciting, what do you see next?
RA: Well I want to go to university to study to be an archaeologist about dinosaurs, but I’m not going to stop acting, like I might do a dinosaur movie or like a prehistoric movie, but yeah I’m not gonna stop the acting business.
The film hits theaters this Friday.