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’

The New Cinderella Remake Tapped Camila Cabello To Play The Princess And Billy Porter To Be The Fabulous Godmother

Entertainment

The New Cinderella Remake Tapped Camila Cabello To Play The Princess And Billy Porter To Be The Fabulous Godmother

This year, two 90s classics were remastered and re-launched. The CGI version of The Lion King and the live-action of Aladdin sent movie theaters into a frenzy. And with the success they had in the box office, Disney has announced a few more classics to be retold in the coming years. With live-action remakes taking over the world, interest in all things Disney is skyrocketing. So Sony Studios is giving us a new Cinderella live-action with a modern touch that sounds fairly different from the last remake from 2015, which was firmly traditional and palatable.

Here’s what we know about the latest re-imagining of the classic fairytale set to premiere on February 5, 2021.

Sony’s 2021 Cinderella already has an all-star cast

credit Instagram @camila_cabello

Few details are known about the plot yet, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Sony is putting the project on the fast track for production,” so more details will likely be released soon. Unlike 2015’s Cinderella starring Lily James, this will not be a Disney production. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the remake will be produced James Corden, and that the Grammy-nominated Camilla Cabello has been cast to play the part of the rags-to-riches princess, Cinderella. The singer is also said to be heavily involved in the music for the film, she might even inject some of her son cubano into the kids’ classic, but either way, we’re in for a treat. 

“Playing Cinderella is, honestly, a dream for me,” Cabello told “Entertainment Tonight” in August. “It’s a little bit terrifying, but I’m so excited because anybody that knows me knows I’m obsessed with musicals.” “I’m really happy that we’re at a point now in a culture where ‘Aladdin’ or ‘The Little Mermaid’ … little girls can see themselves being represented,” the pop singer added. “I think that is so important, and it’s about time.” The 22-year-old (how is she only 22!) is also working on a new album, so she has a big year ahead. 

The voice behind Frozen princess Elsa, will play the evil step-mother.

Credit Instagram @Idinamenzel

Deadline reported earlier this month that Idina Menzel, is set to assume the role of Evelyn, Cinderella’s evil stepmother. Menzel voiced Elsa, the princess behind Frozen’s iconic viral song, ‘Let It Go‘. She is also a Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress who is a Broadway mainstay from shows like Rent and Wicked

Bibidi-Bobbidi-boo, we’re getting a fabulous fairy godmother!

Credit Instagram @theebillyporter

Sony’s upcoming rendition of the classic tale just got a lot more fabulous with the announcement of the new fairy godmother. Billy Porter confirmed his involvement with the film during a panel at the 20th New Yorker Festival. And if you’re anything like us, you have to agree that his theatricality both on and off-screen more than qualify him for the role. The actor shared his excitement via the New Yorker’s Instagram stories where he first broke the news. “I have a couple movies that I’m working on,” Billy said. “I’m gonna be playing the fairy godmother in the new Cinderella movie with Camila Cabello.” In September, Porter became the first openly gay black man to win the Emmy for best actor in a drama for his work on Pose. Prior to that, he earned a Tony and a Grammy for his role in Broadway’s Kinky Boots. 

The new imagining of the poor girl turned princess grew from an original idea by Carpool Karaoke’s James Corden.

Credit Instagram @thelateshow

The film is set to be a modern musical rendition of the classic, all-too-traditional fairytale. The idea for the new take on Cinderella grew from an original idea from James Corden, the late-night talk show host who has made major musical inroads thanks to his popular “Carpool Karaoke” segments. Corden is producing the project with Leo Pearlman, his partner at Fulwell 73, the production banner that has found success with documentaries such as The Class of ’92, the BAFTA-nominated Bros: After the Screaming Stops and Karaoke. The new rendition will be written and directed by Kay Cannon, who is known for her writing and producing work on the movie series Pitch Perfect and 30 Rock. Cannon got her start working on NBC’s 30 Rock, for which she earned three Emmy nominations. 

She made her directorial debut with Blockers, a female-centric losing-your-virginity comedy whose cast included Kathryn Newton and John Cena. 

All other plot details are being kept in a shoebox, but the story is described as a modern reimagining of the traditional tale of the orphaned girl with an evil stepmother, with a musical bent thrown in for good measure. Camila’s part in the movie would be her debut into film and we’re certain that it won’t be her last adventure in the silver screen. The new Cinderella film is just one of many Disney movies getting rebooted, and we can’t wait to see what this non-Disneyfied version has in store.

 

Check Out These Beautiful Ofrendas Dedicated To Beloved Latino Icons

Entertainment

Check Out These Beautiful Ofrendas Dedicated To Beloved Latino Icons

As the weather cools down and Halloween pops up on our calendars, there’s another holiday quickly approaching that deserves it’s own attention. Every October and November, people from Northern Mexico and around the world celebrate Día de los Muertos by building ofrendas to honor those who they have lost. Ofrendas are shrines set up with the photos of deceased loved ones along with personal items that they appreciated in life. Originating from the Aztecs, these shrines are meant to commemorate their dead loved ones and guide them home on the one day when their souls can journey from the spirit world to the world of the living. 

While ofrendas often honor deceased family members and friends, it’s not unusual to see alters also set up for famous people who have passed away. Fans build these shrines to celebrities in order to pay tribute to their legacy. These celebrity alters are usually as elaborate and amazing as the famous people they are meant to honor. 

Here are some of the remarkable celebrity ofrendas that prove that fame and the love of their fans are everlasting. 

1. Anything for Selenas.

Instagram / @sumnerboi

Selena is one of the most recognizable celebrities of the Latinidad so it makes sense that she’d have quite a few ofrendas built to remember her. San Antonio’s Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery is a Mexican restaurant that keeps this shrine of Selena up all year long to celebrate the Queen of Tejano. 

2. Dedicated to the icons of Mexico.

Instagram / @eltinterodemama

This colorful ofrenda is a reminder that these shrines can be for more than one person at a time. On this alter, Mexican pop culture is represented by superstar actress Maria Felix, comedian and TV star Chespirito (Roberto Gomez Bolanos) and artist Frida Kahlo. Offerings of fruit, food and alcohol adorn this ofrenda to tempt and delight the spirits of these deceased stars. 

3. A shrine fit for a food god.

Instagram / @hunger_street

Two years ago, the food world lost a huge star with the untimely death of Anthony Bourdain. The celebrity chef was known for traveling the world and learning about local customs and cuisine in such a respectful way that it endeared him to the communities that he visited. This earned him the spot of honor on this ofrenda. 

4. Frida’s ofrenda.

Instagram / @raul_krnx

Frida Kahlo is an artist who has only become more beloved in death. Her image is used in everything from jewelry and makeup to home goods and tee shirts. This shrine pays tribute to the legendary artista with pots of food, Mexican marigolds and skeletal attendants. 

5. An alter for Poet Paz.

Instagram / @lamovidapanama

Octavio Paz was a Nobel Prize-winning poet and one of the most influential voices in Mexican literature. His words have been a source of comfort and inspiration to millions of readers over the years. He was also a diplomat and fought against fascism in Mexico and abroad. All these accomplishments deserve to be remembered and Paz is honored in this papel picado-filled ofrenda. 

6. An offering to two legends.

Instagram / @melodysev

This past decade, we’ve lost some remarkable souls but none more beloved than music artists Prince and David Bowie. The Prince of Funk and Ziggy Stardust have millions of fans across the world and they are still remembered for being innovators and entertainers. This ofrenda in honor of the two was fittingly built at the Santa Barbara Bowl an amphitheater dedicated to great music.  

7. RIP Tony Stark.

Twitter / @mkhenderson428

Sometimes fictional characters touch us so much that they become real to us. So, when a character like this passes away, it’s only natural to honor them the way we would a real person. This Day of the Dead project was dedicated to Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Gone but never forgotten. 

8. Dedicated to las mujeres.

Instagram / @ilaments

This ofrenda was built in tribute to powerful Latinas. Women like Celia Cruz, Jessica Torres, Margarita Neri, and Delores del Río are immortalized among other great women who will always have a special place in history and in the hearts of their fans.

9. An icon from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

Instagram / @chableresort

Besides ofrendas, grave sites are also decorated as alters for Día de los Muertos. One of the biggest actors of Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema, Pedro Infante is buried in the Yucatan. For the Day of the Dead, his grave site was adorned with Mexican marigolds and candles to guide his spirit back to the world of the living. 

10. The King has entered the building.

Instagram / @beijingemily

One of the most legendary celebrities to have ever lived is Elvis Presley and the man has become a bigger icon in death. There are still claims of Elvis sightings all over the world. Maybe, those fans are just seeing Elvis’ spirit as he returns to visit the thousands of shrines that are dedicated to him for Día de Los Muertos and year-round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4TnFSXDWaM