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’

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13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

Entertainment

13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

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With Halloween fast approaching, we’re getting ready to cue up those scary movies for the best quarantine fright- fest yet. Horror movies are the one thing that seals the deal on making spooky season official. Time to butter up that popcorn, sip on that chocolatito, and snuggle up in front of the TV.

So, are you looking to kick back to some great horror films but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of our top 13 scary movies just in time for spooky season. These films range from classic horror to psychological thrillers. This list is the perfect way to get you into the spirit. Are you ready for the best scare yet?

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Let’s start off with a Guillermo Del Torro classic. After 10-year-old Carlos becomes orphaned after the death of his father, he soon discovers the secrets of the haunted school that shelters him. Set during the Spanish Civil War and filled with ghosts, defused bombs, and a whole lot of mystery, this movie is one that will definitely keep heads turning.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie White seems to think the world is against her and I mean: she’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t get upset and lash out with their mother and peers constantly antagonizing her? Little do we know, Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers that eventually leads to some problematic outcomes as she starts to seek out intense revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

Poltergeist (1982)

A classic tale of ghosts and exorcisms all combined in one. When the California-based Freelings’s family encounters that ghosts are communing in their television set, they are seemingly terrified. The parents have no choice but to hire an exorcist to help as soon as they discover their 5-year-old daughter is now missing. But the question is: will this help or hurt them?  

Mama (2012)

When two twin sisters mysteriously vanish on the same day of their parent’s death, their uncle and his girlfriend go on a thrilling search for their bodies. The twins are found in a decaying cabin in the woods after searching. This is when it becomes clear that their escape will not be as easy as it seems. A short by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, it’s no wonder why the film won the ASCAP award for the best Top Box Office Films. 

BirdBox (2018)

A mysterious force has wiped out humanity and everyone knows that if you see this thing you die. Everyone is now strategizing the best way to overcome this and stay safe. One woman desperately tries everything in her power to keep her children safe and away from sight. The best and safest way to seek this shelter ultimately results in them figuring it out blindfolded. This Netflix original sent chills down my spine, and I promise as soon as you watch it, you’ll get them too. 

Us (2019)

The protagonist Adelaide revisits her childhood town with her family and has a gutted feeling that the past may now take over the present. The movie recount a terrifying incident of her childhood when she was traumatized in a carnival fun house. The family soon encounters four strangers who look exactly like each one of them. This Jordan Peele creation leaves viewers the opportunity to piece together the puzzle pieces slowly but surely, and journeys you through a horrifying storyline that will leave you glued to your television screen. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” right? Well in this thriller it’s certainly the truth. A horror film that essentially has only a few pages of real dialogue, the premise is that if “they” hear you, “they” find you. The family of four must be the quietest they’ve ever been so that a breath or even a footstep won’t reveal their presence. You’ll be jumping out of your seat so maybe don’t watch this alone in the dark.

Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)

Sometimes the best films are the ones that scare you but also make you laugh. This coming-of-age horror comedy recently made its Netflix debut earlier this month and fans are non-stop raving about it. It follows a group of teens from the Bronx who are forced to save their neighborhood from an incoming vampire invasion. The concept incorporates prevalent societal issues with a lighthearted twist and is a perfect treat for all audiences to enjoy.

Hereditary (2018)

A family in mourning finds ways to cope with the loss of a loved one while experiencing supernatural phenomena. The encounters with the supernatural begin to grow more and more disturbing. The family is left with these moments linking to a grand unveiling of family history and secrets. It’s so haunting that this movie will stay with you forever.

Veronica (2017)

“Veronica” tells the tale of a girl and her friends summoning the spirit of her dead father during a solar eclipse using a Ouija board. However, there are more undesirable spirits that have come through. She’s quickly surrounded by evil spirits and presences that are now known to pose a threat to her family. Sandra Escacena was nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Actress in 2018 for her work.

The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Basically, a college cabin vacation gone wrong. A camping trip with five friends takes a turn when they are attacked by a family of zombies. The camping trip turns into a fight for their lives as the zombies are part of a ritualistic sacrifice. A Rotten Tomatoes reviewer even said “Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into ‘The Cabin in the The Woods.’” So that sums that up pretty nicely.

The Witches (2020)

Witches in the U.K. are plotting to rid the island of children by turning them into mice. Fortunately for all of the children, one young boy and his grandmother catch wind of the plan. The movie is all about the boy and his grandmother working together to make sure the witches fail in their dastardly plans.

READ: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

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Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Entertainment

Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Looks like Sammy Davis Jr. is finally getting his place in the sun. On Wednesday, Variety announced that MGM will be producing a biopic about the Cuban-American triple threat. The prolific writer and actor Lena Waithe will be co-producing. The script will be based off of Davis Jr.’s daughter’s biography: “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father”.

According to reports, the movie will take a close look at the legendary singer’s later life and his relationship with his daughter. It will also give us a peak into Davis Jr.’s younger days, showing us flashbacks from his time as a “child prodigy” to a “global superstar”.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sammy Davis Jr., he was an immensely popular star of ’50s and ’60s. He was what some people would call the original “triple threat”–he could dance, sing, and act. And he did all three excellently.

Throughout his life, he would lie and say his Cuban-born mother, Elvera Sanchez, was of Puerto Rican descent. Later he admitted that he did this because he was afraid that the prevailing anti-Cuban sentiment in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis would have hurt his career.

But Sammy Davis Jr. was perhaps most known for being a member of the legendary “Rat Pack”–a powerful group of Hollywood hotshots that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Their collective power and raucous Vegas stays made them living legends in their time.

But beneath the fortune and fame, Davis Jr. struggled with internal demons. He was of a victim of the brutal racism of the entertainment industry, as well as his unrelenting health and addiction problems. He eventually died in 1990 at the age of 64 due to cirrhosis.

We hope that the upcoming movie does Sammy Davis Jr.’s story justice! Here are the actors we would love to see fill the very talented shoes of the Afro-Cubano star.

Jharrel Jerome

PHOTO: FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Jharrel Jerome took the world by storm when he portrayed the wrongly accused Korey Wise in “When They See Us”. His performance was so moving that he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. We’d love to see this gifted Dominican performer try his hand at playing Sammy. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a music career too.

Miguel

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Miguel captured our hearts long ago with his powerful but soothing vocals. We fell in love with him even more when the Mexican-American singer sang “Remember Me” at the 2018 Oscars. Plus, he’s acted before. So you know he’s no rookie.

Kid Cudi

Photo: kidcudi/Instagram

You may know Kid Cudi mostly as a hip-hop artist, but this rapper of Mexican descent also has a successful acting career. We also know that he would be able to tap into the pain and struggle of Davis Jr’s inner turmoil.

Elijah Kelley

Photo: oneelijahkelley/Instagram

Elijah Kelley is an immensely multi-talented singer-actor who you may know from hits like “Hairspray” and “The Butler”. He isn’t Afro-Latino (which we would love to see), but he’s a phenomenal singer and dancer. And he even looks a bit like Sammy Davis Jr!

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