Entertainment

The Actors Of ‘Blood In Blood Out’ Lived With Real Gang Members For Months To Prep For The Film And Other Facts

Believe it or not, it’s been 26 years since Blood In Blood Out was released. Does that mean we’re over it? Nope. So we’ve put together a list of 25 facts about the movie for all of you stans out there.

1. Even though the prison gangs in the film are fictional, they were based on real gangs.

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The Aryan Vanguard represents the Aryan Brotherhood, while the Black Guerrilla Army is a stand-in for the Black Guerrilla Family, and La Onda is based on the Mexican Mafia. 

2. Technically speaking, it’s actually a Disney film.

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It was published under Hollywood Pictures – but Hollywood Pictures is a subsidiary of Disney!

3. Blood In Blood Out is also the name of a gang initiation ritual.

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“Blood in blood out” is another way of describing what’s essentially the membership process for a gang. The first step for an aspiring gang member to gain admission is that they have to kill someone before they are accepted. The second part to gang membership, once someone’s been accepted, is that the only way to leave for good is through dying. “Blood in blood out” is basically like the world’s most hardcore set of wedding vows.

4. Blood In Blood Out is also known as Bound By Honor.

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The film was renamed after the studio became skittish over the meaning of the original title.

5. Two soundtracks were produced for the film.

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One soundtrack was released by Hollywood Pictures for purchase and used in the film after its re-titling. But, the second soundtrack, which was originally commissioned for the film, was dropped after the film was renamed. Apparently, the dropped soundtrack, composed by Bill Conti, is rumored to still exist, somewhere … but it was never officially released.

6. The movie was filmed in 1991.

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And the filmmakers chose to film in the Spanish-speaking areas of Los Angeles, and inside California’s San Quentin State Prison. Clearly, they had a commitment to authenticity.

7. There was a lot of contention over whether the film would even be released.

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This was because the LA riots happened while the film was in post-production, and Disney was concerned that it was about to release a movie that encouraged gang warfare. The director, Taylor Hackford, got pretty upset over this because this was completely opposite to the actual ethos of the film.

8. The film made … a loss.

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The budget for the film was $35 million. But, once released, its gross revenue was only $4.5 million. Ouch.

9. It’s a pretty long movie.

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Its running time is 180 minutes. To put it in context, Avengers: Endgame runs for 182 minutes. The director’s cut goes for even longer, at an impressive 190 minutes.

10. One of the actors, Theodore Wilson, died shortly after finishing filming his scenes for Blood In Blood Out.

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Wilson died in July 1991, which meant that he didn’t get to see Blood In Blood Out in its final, post-production glory. He played Wallace in the movie.

11. Adan Hernandez, a Latino artist, was brought onboard to create the paintings the character of Cruz Candelaria was supposed to have painted.

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In fact, all of the paintings used in Blood In Blood Out were created by Hernandez. Unfortunately, the mural shown during the film’s climax, in the reservoir, has since been painted over. Hernandez himself actually made a cameo in the film, playing a drug dealer, Gilbert, in the art gallery scene.

12. Several of the then-inmates of San Quentin State Prison appear as extras in the film.

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The prison’s staff were also recruited as extras and advisors during production, too. Some staff members were even given small lines in the film.

13. One of the film’s actors had actually served time in San Quentin before his career as an actor.

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Danny Trejo, the actor who played Geronimo in Blood In Blood Out, spent time in the jail during the 1960s. On a related note, you might also know Trejo from his roles in the Spy Kids movies, and Breaking Bad.  

14. The screenwriter for Blood In Blood Out also makes a cameo as a prison inmate in the film.

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Jimmy Santiago Baca actually plays two roles in the film. Aside from appearing a prison inmate, he is also a member of the La Onda council. Clearly, he’s a jack-of-all-trades, since Jimmy Santiago Baca is also a poet.

15. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave the film a score of 55 percent.

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And the audience score says that 94 percent of people liked it. That is 94 percent of the 49,125 people who watched it. Sorry to those 11 reviewers who weren’t really fussed on the film, but in this case, the majority rules.

16. The director wanted to ensure that the film authentically reflected the “Raza” culture. 

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“When you are not of that, you trust the people around you,” Jimmy Hackford said in a recent interview.

17. You’ve definitely seen one of the stars, Benjamin Bratt, in other films.

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Bratt played Paco Aguilar in Blood In Blood Out. He’s scored both silver screen and movie roles since then, playing characters in Law and OrderTraffic,and even Sandra Bullock’s love interest in Miss Congeniality.

18. Blood In Blood Out was the first drama released by Hollywood Pictures that was about East Los Angeles Latinos.

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Let’s face it, even though it was released 26 years ago, it’s not like as if the market’s been saturated with Latino stories since. Maybe it’s time for a sequel or a remake?

19. The film had a very limited release.

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It was released only for a week in Rochester, New York, Tucson, and Las Vegas. This was mainly because the studio was nervous about stirring up controversy with the film’s subject matter and inciting violence at the theatres.

20. Blood In Blood Out also had a very short promotional campaign.

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They started on the 10th January 1993 – and the movie opened ten days later, on the 20th. When it did open, it only played at two to three theatres in each of the cities that it was released in. Again, Hollywood Pictures was clearly very nervous about the film’s release.

21. While the film isn’t a “true story”, it is based on real-life experiences.

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The screenwriter, Jimmy Santiago Baca, based it off of his own background.

22. A whole subplot involving Paco’s girlfriend/wife was cut from the final version of the film.

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This was probably just as well, considering that there was originally over 300 minutes worth of footage that was available for Blood In Blood Out before bits and pieces were culled for the final version of the film.

23. The main actors lived with real gang members to inform their acting for the film.

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Before filming started, Damian Chapa, Benjamin Bratt, and Jesse Borrego developed and perfected their characters over the three months that they stayed with gang members. 

24. Damien Chapa really connected with his character, Miklo.

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Chapa said this was because both he and Miklo were of Caucasian and Latino descent, and Miklo’s relationships and experiences seemed to parallel a lot of Chapa’s own relationships and experiences.

25. Paulo Tocha, the actor who plays Apache, was once in a gang himself.

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This turned around for him, however, when he decided to become a professional Muay Thai fighter.

So what surprised you about these facts? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

These Spanish-Language Films Were Some Of The Best Movies Of 2019 And Need To Be On Your Watch List

Entertainment

These Spanish-Language Films Were Some Of The Best Movies Of 2019 And Need To Be On Your Watch List

El Deseo Productions

Spanish-speaking cinema is perhaps in one of its best moments ever. After the huge success of the Mexican film Roma in the Academy Awards, the film industry’s spotlight has been placed on Spanish-speaking filmmaking coming from Spain and Latin America. Distributors and producers scramble to find the next big thing that can disrupt the status quo. We have selected a handful of movies that show that the region is one of the most interesting today when it comes to film productions.

Latin America is still coming to terms with the colonial past that still shapes everyday interactions, and also with military dictatorships whose right-wing politics are now resurfacing much to the disdain of activists and large segments of the population. Spain has also experienced recent turbulent years that have made Spanish citizens look at the mirror and question who they are.

But there is a common denominator in these films: Spanish language, perhaps one of the most expressive in the world. Some of these films were released in their home countries in the second half of 2018, but only travelled the festival circuit or were released in 2019 in other markets such as the United States and Europe.

Araña (Spider)
Country: Chile
Director: Andrés Wood
Cast: María Valverde, Mercedes Morán, Caio Blat

Credit: Arana Bossa Nova Films

A thriller that looks into the fascist right-wing CIA supported groups that did the dirty work for the government during the Pinochet years in Chile. A testament of the dangers of extremism in the South American country that gains relevance given the current sociopolitical climate, where activists are protesting against the neoliberal policies of president Sebastian Piñera. Wood is one of the most interesting Chilean filmmakers of the past decade and joins others like Sebastian Lelio and Pablo Larrain as the next big thing in the industry, 

Así habló el cambista (The Moneychanger
Country: Uruguay
Director: Federico Veiroj
Cast: Germán de Silva, Dolores Fonzi, Daniel Hendler 

Credit: El Cambista Oriental Features

Uruguay is not what you would call a filmmaking powerhouse, but when one of its films makes it to the festival circuit it is usually with surprising results. This comedy of errors follows a master manipulator and schemer through two decades, from the fifties to the seventies, as the main character finds increasingly convoluted and shady ways to hide money in Swiss accounts. A delicate indictment of capitalist greed. 

La Flor
Country: Argentina
Director: Mariano Llinás
Cast: Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa

Credit: El Pampero Chile

A kaleidoscope in narrative terms, this Argentinian film is made up of six episodes connected by four actresses. This film is as inventive as it gets, as each episode corresponds to a cinematic genre… this movie is film history packaged in a colorful and inventive audiovisual box. The film reminds us of the playful Historias extraordinarias, an episodic movie that reminded viewers of early Quentin Tarantino and his deconstructed storytelling, 

Monos
Country: Colombia
Director: Alejandro Landes
Cast: Sofia Buenaventura, Julian Giraldo, Karen Quintero

Credit: Stela Cine

An intimate war film that follows a group of teenagers who train as commandos in the jungle. Evocative and high in symbolism, this Colombian film reminds us of the intense yet contemplative nature of Coppola and his Apocalypse Now. Colombian cinema is alive and well, and Monos is proof of this. Colombian filmmakers have done wonders recently in showcasing rural identities… please watch The Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente) if you have not already done so. 

La camarista (The Chambermaid)
Country: Mexico
Director: Lila Avilés
Cast: Gabriela Cartol, Agustina Quinci, Teresa Sánchez

Credit: La Pantera

After Alfonso Cuarón revealed how complex the lives of domestic workers, generally indigenous women, is in Mexico, Lila Avilés offers us an intimate look into the soul of a chambermaid who works in a high end hotel. Practically invisible to the people for whom she makes beds and cleans rooms, her existence is an intricate dance of entering and exiting spaces of luxury and the labyrinth-like entrails of the hotel. Unmissable. Lila Avilés will surely become a strong voice in the Mexican and international film industries. 

Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory)
Country: Spain
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas

Credit: El Deseo Productions

The great Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar gives us what is perhaps his most personal film to date, and finds the perfect alter ego in one of his old collaborators, actor Antonio Banderas in what is perhaps the best role un his already legendary career. Perhaps the best film of the year regardless of language. And you know what to expect from Pedro: a colorful film with exuberant and sexy settings, gorgeous people, stabs at Spain’s fascist past and plenty of double entendres. 

President Trump Is Pushing Idea That MS-13 Is A Big National Threat

Things That Matter

President Trump Is Pushing Idea That MS-13 Is A Big National Threat

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This week, the White House has been dealing with the ongoing Russian investigation, a revised health care bill, a new communications director, the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer and the possible firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, in the midst of this government tumult, President Donald Trump cannot stop talking about the Salvadorian gang MS-13.

Trump, who tweeted this statement out earlier today, could be doing it to deflect attention from his embattled administration. It’s a tactic that he appears to employ often. For example, yesterday Trump tweeted that transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military. He didn’t give any more information about it. The U.S. Joint Chiefs were not given notice about the ban. Trump just sent out a tweet and that was the end of it.

Trump’s statements on MS-13 are being interpreted by some as a tactic to control the narrative about his administration.

Although MS-13 is a violent gang with thousands of members, Trump’s statements appear to imply that they are a significant source of this country’s violence. Painting the gang as a “widely known scourge,” as journalist Adrian Carrasquillo described it, gives the Trump administration a clear “enemy” that they can battle against.

Earlier this week, Trump lumped undocumented immigrants and MS-13 gang members together at a rally in Ohio, saying “illegal gang members” were “animals.”

“And you’ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don’t want to use guns, because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough. So they’ll take a young, beautiful girl—16, 15 and others—and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long. Well, they’re not being protected anymore, folks.”

We do know that the number of deportations has increased since Trump became president. But out of that increase, it has not been made clear how many of them are actual criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers or MS-13 gang members.

Attorney General Sessions, who may or may not be out of work soon, has been somewhat laying low — at least in regards to his job. But one thing we do know about Sessions is that he’s always been “tough” on crime, especially when the culprits are Latinos. According to NPR, Sessions once claimed MS-13 was smuggling gang members into the U.S. as “unaccompanied minors.” American University research fellow Hector Silva Avalos told NPR there was no proof to back up Sessions’ statement. Sessions is in El Salvador right now, most likely working on Trump’s promise to “make America safe again.” Because if they can’t accomplish this, the Trump administration may continue to get criticism for not passing any major legislation for the last six months.

The Hill is reporting that Sessions is meeting with El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Meléndez and other authorities to discuss ways to eliminate MS-13. It should be mention that Sessions will supposedly be in the same room with former MS-13 gang members.

The Trump Administration announced the recent arrest of nearly 600 gang members by El Salvador’s government.

The Trump administration’s rhetoric about a supposed rising threat from MS-13 in the U.S. isn’t backed by statistics. For starters, violence has decreased considerably since the ’90s, despite a recent overall increase.

CREDIT: Major Cities Chiefs Association

Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, told Time Magazine that it’s too soon to tell if our current increase in violence will be a trend because it takes criminologists about three to five years of data to get an overall picture.

“We’ve had at least two years running now where there’s been an increase in 35 to 45 major cities,” Stephens tells Time. “It’s a major issue and should be in the cities where it’s taking place. But it’s not anywhere near the kind of violence that we had in the 1990s.”

The chart above shows that violence has increased in major parts of middle America, which aren’t usually areas with very large populations of Latino immigrants.

The American Immigration Council, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, also reports that “immigrants are less likely to be criminals than the native-born.”

“The evidence that immigrants tend not to be criminals is overwhelming,” reports The American Immigration Council. “To begin with, there is an inverse relationship between crime and immigration. Crime rates in the United States have trended downward for many years at the same time that the number of immigrants has grown. Second, immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born. And, third, immigrants are less likely than the native-born to engage in the criminal behaviors that tend to land one in prison. No matter how you look at the issue, the inescapable conclusion is that immigrants are, on average, less prone to criminality than the U.S. native-born population.”

But it appears that’s not what Trump would have you believe.

READ: Could the U.S. be Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador?

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