Latino Actors in Guardians of the Galaxy Speak Out without words
LATINOS, LIGHTS, CAMERA, STRUGGLE?
A recent article by NBCnews “Lights, camera, Struggle?” discusses the controversial point about how Latinos get cast in Hollywood films.
WE CAN’T SEEM TO AVOID LATINO ACTOR STEREOTYPES
It makes the strong argument that Latinos are indeed cast, but usually according to the stereotypes they are famously known for, the cleaning lady, the janitor, the forbidden lover, the sexy villain or the ugly villain (or both, think Antonio Banderas, in the new Sponge Bob movie.)
In the article, Latino actor and film veteran Esai Morales, makes a remarkable comment, “We have been having these conversations for a long time. I am tired of our characters being so incomplete. When do we ever save the day in a film? When does a Latino actor get to be the hero?”
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, HAS LATINO ACTORS IN IT?
This makes me think of the recent Marvel studios hit: The Guardians of the Galaxy where 2 of the 5 team members are Latino actors, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Dave Bautista’s Drax. The movie is being hailed by THR as “the top grossing film of the summer in North America” with a domestic total of roughly $246 million.
Clearly, the press events the Latin stars put out worked. The hit Latin morning show, Despierta America, invited the on-screen hero Dave Bautista to the show.
Interesting how Dave has to express himself only in English, although he clearly understands Spanish. Notice, no one is translating his awesome journey from the WWE to the big screen. And Zoe Saldana had a great conversation on GMA (Good Morning America).
Did you hear what she said? “When I was deciding to do Guardians or not…?”
So she’s not waiting to be cast? She gets to choose! And she’s apparently playing Nina Simone, the Jazz singer in her next film? Impressive.
HOW ABOUT THAT LATINO ACTOR STRUGGLE?
So are Latino Actors really struggling? There’s a new show premiering on the CW called Jane the Virgin and when you look into the career of the young lady, Gina Rodriguez, who booked the starring role you can see she earned her stripes in New York before being cast in the lead role of “Jane.”
In this THR video introducing Gina Rodriguez as ‘Jane’, you can get a glimpse of her outlook on her recent role and how much it means to her to play such a strong female character. A character based on cultural truths, that if accurately portrayed can add a layer of genuine diversity to the Hollywood stream.
These leading ladies and actors like Esai Morales, and Dave Bautista taking these roles and bringing the best of their craft would suggest Latinos are doing just fine in Hollywood, but
Actress Elaine Del Valle believes the lack of Latinos in film has a simple explanation.
“We are not being cast by us, we are not being produced by us, we are not being written by us, so the only thing that people dowith us is based on stereotypes.”
LATINO FILMMAKERS TAKE THE CALL
A legit question and a call to action to us Latino filmmakers: Get writing! Write your stories and tell them for the world to see.
The sad truth, films like Andy Garcia’s The Lost City, don’t get the attention they deserve. Call it marketing flaws or any other justification, but in the end, these specific stories are based on real life players in the Latin culture making it to the big screen.
Now when you look at films like Bella, you get a glimpse of the potential for making an impactful film with a Latin hero.
Perhaps the majority of Latinos are struggling to put together stories that impact the industry as a whole. Maybe we’re missing a sense of adaptability, where our audience can see themselves in the tale, regardless of skin color or ethnicity? It’s hard to figure out, but perhaps we don’t have to. Let’s just keep writing and producing our films. Each of our individual successes as Latin actors and filmmakers means success for us all. Now that we’re done venting, let’s get back to work!