Entertainment

‘To Wong Foo’ Is An Undeniable Gay Cult Classic And John Leguizamo’s Role As A Drag Queen Is Still One Of The Best Performances

“To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Juli Newmar” is one of the greatest gay cult classics of the 20th century. The movie follows three drag queens, played by John Leguizamo, Patrick Swayze, and Wesley Snipes as they make their way from New York to California for a drag queen pageant. The movie, released in 1995, gave the drag queen and LGBTQ+ community a diverse and exceptionally rare moment of representation during the 1990s. Now, since the movie is being release in Blu-Ray, John Leguizamo sat down and told Shout! Factory what he did to get into the character of Chi Chi Rodriguez.

John Leguizamo gave Latina drag queens rare and exceptional representation during the 1995 gay cult classic “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.”

Credit: @mathewrodriguez / Twitter

For so many Latino fans of the movie, it is the first time they ever saw themselves represented in media. Chi Chi Rodriguez was a major moment for queer Latino representation in the 1990s when being gay was still taboo in mainstream media. Alongside co-stars Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze, Leguizamo was able to bring a Latina drag queen to a larger audience.

Now that the movie is being released on Blu-Ray, Leguizamo sat down with Shout! Factory and discussed what it took to be Chi Chi Rodriguez.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my God. Let me sink my teeth into this Chi Chi Rodriguez. I know how to bring her to life,” Leguizamo told Shout! Factory. “‘I know I can just ramp it up, man. Like, Chi Chi Rodriguez on steroids.’”

Leguizamo wanted to make sure that he truly captured what it meant to be a Latino drag queen.

“I’m a writer so I look at the three-act structure of a screenplay and I always want to have an arc to my character. If you’re the lead, you have a large arch, and that’s incredible,” Leguizamo explains. “But, you know, I was the third lead so my arc was a little smaller but it was good enough for me to go from being sort of rough around the edges to being this polished drag queen. That was my journey, you know, and it was all about accepting my ethnicity.”

Chi Chi Rodriguez’s story arc was hyper-focused on coming to terms with her identity.

“I had my face done really light all the time because I have family members who [have] issues with self-hate and race,” Leguizamo says. “So their face skin will be like five times lighter than the color of their neck. So, that always tripped me out so I wanted to put a little bit of that into it.”

Leguizamo brought his authentic experience to the role and it centered around makeup and colorism that is toxic within the Latino community.

“At the end of the movie, my neck and my face matched,” Leguizamo explains. “My face is much darker. So, that was the arc. Chi Chi becomes polished but accepting of herself, mature, romantically grows. She just becomes instead of a taker, she becomes a giver.”

You can watch Joh Leguizamo’s full interview below.

Check out “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” and get your pride celebrations started off right.

READ: The 24 Slayingest Latina Queens From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

Entertainment

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

posefx / onedayatatimepoptv / Instagram

Pride Month is here and that means it is time to highlight the already celebrated LGBTQ+ shows and movies that have made a mark on us. Since Pride and the COVID pandemic are coinciding, it is a good time to watch some of the best examples of LGBTQ+ Latino entertainment.

“Moonlight”

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, “Moonlight” brought Afro-Latino, Black, and queer storylines together. The movie follows a young Black man in Miami and his own trials and tribulations growing up with a mother who is addicted to drugs. His life is changed thanks to an Afro-Cuban man who takes him under his wing and shows him how to make it through his adolescents.

“To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar”

One of the most popular classic films in LGBTQ+ cinema. “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” follows three drag queens who drive from New York to Los Angeles for a national drag beauty pageant. Chi Chi Rodriguez, played by Joh Leguizamo, convinces the two competing queens to let him ride with them. Along the way, Rodriguez learns what it means to be a drag queen and the queens all learn a lot from a small, rural community filled with unexpected love and understanding.

“Pose”

“Pose” brings the ballroom culture straight to your living room. Set at the beginning in 1987 New York City during the peak of the AIDs epidemic, “Pose” empowers the queer people of color of the time. Ballroom culture is an underground dancing culture that has jumped into the mainstream because of “Pose.” The show takes the narrative of HIV-positive people of color in the time and empowers them rather than tears them down.

“Tangerine”

“Tangerine” is the story of a prostitute on a mission. The main character gets out of jail and learns that their boyfriend and pimp has started a new relationship with another woman. So, she and her friend set out to find him and teach the two a lesson for straying from her while she was incarcerated.

“Gentefied”

“Genetfied” is the latest Netflix hit and it is all about gentrification and the fight to keep Boyle Heights Latino. In the overall story, there is a lesbian relationship that is leaving everyone with all kinds of envy.

“One Day At A Time”

Netflix really misstepped here when they pulled the plug on their production of “One Day At A Time” but Pop TV saved the show. The first three seasons are currently on Netflix so you can still watch all of those episodes and enjoy the growing openness of Elena as she comes out.

“La casa de las flores”

This telenovela is truly one of the most incredible projects with LGBTQ+ characters today. Even Valentina, the famed drag queen from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in the latest season solidifying the shows LGBTQ+ status.

READ: The Trailer For The Final Season Of ‘La Casa De Las Flores’ Is Here And We’re Not Ready To Say Goodbye

There’s A Major Update About The ‘Avatar’ Movie Sequel And It Will Seriously Send You To The Moon

Entertainment

There’s A Major Update About The ‘Avatar’ Movie Sequel And It Will Seriously Send You To The Moon

@officialavatar / Twitter

If you’re a fan of the 2009 film “Avatar” by James Cameron, you’re likely a little over movie updates promising you that it will hit theaters soon.

In December 2009, the film smashed box office records and wrangled in a total of $2.7 billion worldwide. Soon after, Cameron revealed his plans for unleashing several sequels that would surmount the technological groundbreaker, and we were beyond elated. Which brings us to 2020.

For a literal DECADE, we’ve seen the film’s release date pushed further and further away from us and the current COVID-19 pandemic has put the fate of the franchise’s future up in the air once again.

Still, recent updates are giving us hope and some insight into what to expect.

Recently, the official Avatar Twitter account posted a new behind-the-scenes photo of Avatar 2 actors.

The new post features Zoe Saldana alongside Sam Worthington. Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. If you’re a TRUE fan of Avatar you’ll know that the upcoming sequels will feature an underwater world. The latest reveal from the Twitter account gave us a pretty fun hint at what the work going into that will look like. After all, the film’s performance capture scenes that are taking place underwater are a cinematic first!

“From the set of the sequels: Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Kate Winslet, and Cliff Curtis taking a break from underwater performance capture for a quick photo,” the official Avatar movie account tweeted shared in a tweet from last week. “Fun fact: Much of the performance capture took place in this 900,000-gallon tank, built specifically for the sequels.”

Saldana, Afro-Latina Sci-Fi Queen, will reprise her role as Neytiri in the new series.

She is set to play alongside Worthington who will return as Jake Sully. Actress Kate Winslet joins the cast as the new character Ronal, and Curtis will play a new lead role.

Production for the first Avatar sequel was shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Deadline announced that production was picked back up in New Zealand. The decision was made because the country has new health and safety production protocols concerning COVID-19. “The country’s lockdown has been gradually eased in recent weeks and further significant relaxation is expected next week, including the permission for gatherings of up to 100 people. Domestic travel and office work is also due to resume,” Deadline reported in a piece about the sequel’s relocation. “The country has restricted international travel and required arrivals to quarantine for a period of time so the teams behind major international productions may need to wait a while longer but the path to a return is becoming clearer.”

After Avatar 2 is released on Dec. 17, 2021!!!

And the fun won’t stop there. Three more Avatar movies are expected to debut in 2023, 2025 and 2027. All featuring Saldana.