Entertainment

The Director Of ‘Mi Vida Loca’ Ended Up Adopting Her Daughter From One Of The Movie’s Real Gang Members After She Died

“Mi Vida Loca” is a cult classic. Latinos love this movie and it’s a part of our pop culture legacy, but when “Mi Vida Loca” first premiered in 1993 it wasn’t seen in the light that we see it today. A lot of critics panned it. One critic said that while filmmaker Allison Anders mixed “real gang members with up-and-coming Latin American actresses,” the ploy failed “to lend the film authenticity or vitality. The tone seems, to put it kindly, misguidedly romantic.” Another said, “While the characters are colorful and vibrant, the film is strangely flat.” However, this independent film represented much more than it was. For Latinos, it wasn’t just a low budget movie, it was ourselves on the big screen. 

It was Latinos representing Latinos. It was our story and no critic could ever take that away. 

Director Allison Anders was inspired to create “Mi Vida Loca” after meeting her daughter’s Latina friends.

The basis for Sad Girl and Mousey is based on real people that Anders saw in her neighborhood. Her daughter informed her mom all about the novela that was taking place right outside her door. In a 1994 interview with Bomb magazine, Anders said, “I had seen these two 14-year-old girls with babies on their hips, yelling at each other. So finally I said, ‘Devan [her daughter], what’s up with these girls?’ And Devan, who was nine years old at the time said, ‘Well, Christine and Marty were best friends since elementary school. Then Christine had a baby by Ernesto. But then Marty had a baby by Ernesto. And now they don’t get along.” And that is how the story of how Sad Girl and Mousey was born.

Anders said they filmed in Echo Park, which is where she lived too, right as the gentrification of the area was taking place. 

That meant she had to make sure everyone on the set was safe because real gang members lived there as well. Anders said the real gang members she met as inspiration for “Mi Vida Loca” were actually part of a gang that didn’t reside in Echo Park, but a neighborhood nearby. That tension of real actors and real gang members shooting a film in gang territory caused for some interesting days on the set. 

“I was very concerned however with keeping the real gang members in the cast and crew safe,” Anders said in an interview with Screen Slate. “So my producers and I involved the Echo Park members every step of the way to know which neighborhoods were safe for us to shoot in. We literally took them in the car location scouting to check out the safety. Sometimes the borders were block to block: “We can shoot down here—but not across the street.”

While some had issues that a white woman was directing a movie about Latina gang members, Anders said she got the dialogue approved by Latinas on the set.

Anders said that real gang members “approved every single draft of the script, and after a while could pitch it and give notes better than anyone I’ve met since, seriously.” She added that each person that was consulted on the film was paid and credited. “We even kept the money in the neighborhood literally – the art department rented set dressing from their homes – which also gave a sense of pride that a movie company was renting some banner they made for their bedroom to put on film. We rented the homes of the parents and grandparents of the Echo Park locas and locos. Make-up purchased the real stuff the actual girls wore from Woolworth’s on Sunset Blvd.”

Here’s one remarkable story about how Anders adopted the child of one of a Latina gang member that died before the release of the film. 

Anders said that Nica Rogers, a member of the Echo Park gang, died of an overdose at the age of 19. She was in a few scenes in the movie as well. Rogers had a son named Rueben who was left orphaned after the death of his mother, so Anders adopted him. He is now 28-years-old, married with his family and living in Texas. He is also working in the Hollywood industry. Anders also started a Nica Rogers scholarship that would benefit the youth in Echo Park. It’s so amazing to see this movie live on in not just on the screen but in people’s lives too. 

READ: Mousie And Sad Girl From “Mi Vida Loca” Are Ultimate #Friendshipgoals

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The New ‘In The Heights’ Trailer Is Out And You’ll Wish You Were In This Latino Fairytale

Entertainment

The New ‘In The Heights’ Trailer Is Out And You’ll Wish You Were In This Latino Fairytale

There is a new “In The Heights” trailer and release date and fans are getting excited (again)! This is the second time that Warner Bros. has released a trailer to tease the release of “In The Heights” but Covid derailed its first release. Here’s to summer of 2021!

Here’s the new trailer for “In The Heights.”

“In The Heights” is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first wildly successful musical before “Hamilton. The show is based in Washington Heights, a Latino and immigrant enclave in New York City where music runs through the streets and the residents.

Usnavi, portrayed by Anthony Ramos, is the protagonist who is central to the community. He runs a bodega that everyone visits and it isn’t long until he and his large community fight back to protect their friends and family.

The story has it all from love to despair to triumph.

Usnavi is in love with Vanessa, portrayed by Melissa Barrera, and their love story grows alongside the community through the summer. At the same time, it seems that Abuela Claudia, portrayed by Olga Merediz, is facing deportation and the community comes to her defense to keep her here.

Miranda and Jon M. Cho, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” beautifully captured the resilience and diversity of our neighborhoods. Actors Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, and Leslie Grace bring the play to life on the big screen in a big way.

Fans cannot wait to see the new movie offering Latinos so much representation.

People have been anxiously waiting for this moment since 2008. That was the year that Universal Pictures announced their plans to make the movie adaptation of the play. It was supposed to be released in 2011 until Universals Pictures dropped the project. Then The Weinstein Company acquired the rights, however, Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct came to light and Miranda pulled the rights in response. Warner Bros. then got the rights in 2018 and we had our first trailer in 2019. It was slated to be released in June 2020 and the Covid caused the company to cancel the movie’s release. Now, with a deal with HBOMax, Warner Bros. will finally release “In The Heights” more than 10 years after fans were promised a movie.

“In The Heights” will be on HBOMax on June 18, 2021.

READ: The Trailer For ‘In The Heights’ Is Finally Here And It Looks Like A Latino Fairytale

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Salma Hayek Speaks Out About Filming The Sex Scene In ‘Desperado’ Calls It Traumatic

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Salma Hayek Speaks Out About Filming The Sex Scene In ‘Desperado’ Calls It Traumatic

Salma Hayek is not putting her efforts of the #MeToo movement behind her. In fact, her most recent disclosure about her experience filming the 1995 movie Desperado proves she has yet to lose momentum. While the graphic film grossed $25.4 million in the United States box office and received rave reviews, Hayek says it wasn’t all great.

During a recent appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Hayek opened up about her breakout role.


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Speaking about her experience Hayek explained that she had not known at the time that she did not know she had been signedup to film a sex scene with costar Antonio Banderas.

“So, when we were going to start shooting, I started to sob, ‘I don’t know that I can do it. I’m afraid,'” Hayek said in the interview with Shepard. “One of the things I was afraid of was Antonio — he was an absolute gentleman and so nice, and we’re still super close friends — but he was very free. It scared me that for him, it was like nothing. I started crying, and he was like, ‘Oh my God. You’re making me feel terrible.’ And I was so embarrassed that I was crying.”

Speaking more about the experience, Hayek underlined that Banderas and director Robert Rodriguez tried their best to make her feel comfortable on set. She also added that she felt as if Rodriguez “never put pressure” on her.

Still, Hayek says that the experience was traumatic.

“I was not letting go of the towel,” Hayek explained. “They would try to make me laugh. I would take it off for two seconds and start crying again. But we got through it. We did the best with what we could do at the time.”

“When you’re not you, then you can do it. But I keep thinking of my father and my brother,” she went onto explain. “And are they going to see it? And are they going to get teased? Guys don’t have that. Your father will be, ‘Yeah! That’s my son!'”

Hayek and Banderas have remained friends since filming and they have gone on to star in five other projects.


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In fact, just last year, Hayek presented Banderas with an award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Banderas was honored for his role in Pain & Glory with the International Star Award.

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