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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Ricky Martin Is Part Of A Netflix Christmas Musical That Is Making History

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Is Part Of A Netflix Christmas Musical That Is Making History

jinglejanglenetflixfilm / Instagram

Ricky Martin is joining an all-star cast for Netflix’s newest holiday film. “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” is going to be the streaming giants’ next leap into the holiday film market and the cast of color is giving us so much to look forward to. The technology is helping to make it historic.

Netflix’s next Christmas movie is the POC magic we all deserve.

Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni-Rose, and Ricky Martin are bringing the movie to life. The movie follows a toymaker and his granddaughter, played by Madalen Mills, on an epic Christmas adventure. Like any good Christmas movie, there is drama when an invention that could change their lives lands in the wrong hands.

Ricky Martin plays an evil toy called Don Juan Diego.

Don Juan Diego is a key part of Jeronicus Jangle’s woes as the invention is stolen from his workshop. In fact, Diego convinces Jangle’s protege (Keegan-Michael Key) to betray him. Diego is such a strong force that Key’s character betrays his mentor and spends his time finding ways to continue to make Jangle’s life harder. Martin took a lot of time to really perfect Diego to make sure that he was more than a one-dimensional evil Latino toy.

“This was a green light to be whoever you want to be and be vicious and Machiavellian and be mean,” Martin told NBC News. “I was running the lines in my house, and my kids would be like, ‘That’s not evil.’ And I would say, ‘Because you’re looking at me and I’m still your father.’ And they were like, ‘Yes, but you need to try harder and to be meaner.’ It took me seven, eight weeks to polish this character because is Don Juan Diego Castilian? Is he Colombian? Is he Mexican? We played with all the accents. We had to keep it very neutral. I hope this is the first movie of Don Juan Diego. Did I just say that?”

People have had it with the quarantine and can’t wait for holiday movies to fill the screen.

We have spent almost eight months confined to our homes and apartments. The least every streaming platform can do is have new holiday content already in their queue to make the season more festive. We all need things to look forward to right now so let’s do this, Netflix.

The movie is integrating new technology with Orbital Audio. The tech software allows for any pair of headphones to become surround sound. Orbital Audio is the first product launched with the Martin Music Lab. The first project for Orbital Audio was Martin’s latest album “Pausa.”

“When the lockdown started, I told my team, ‘Listen, we have to create something that is of impact. Let’s create something that will heal people. I don’t know what this is. I have no idea if it’s a vitamin we are going to invent. I don’t know if it’s a new kind of food. But let’s be open,’” Martin said on the Variety/iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.”

Oh, not to mention that John Legend is behind the music.

That’s right. The music that will fill the movie, and your ears, comes from the talented and beloved John Legend. There really isn’t anything better than music from one of the greats, especially when it is Christmas music.

“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” will be streaming on Netflix starting Nov. 13.

READ: Mariah Carey Officially Declares It Christmas Season And Who Are We To Argue

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Director Robert Rodriguez’s ‘The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl’ Gets New Netflix Movie

Entertainment

Director Robert Rodriguez’s ‘The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl’ Gets New Netflix Movie

Dimension Films

The 2005 cult classic The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is coming back to save the day! That’s right, the beloved characters of the family adventure film directed by Robert Rodriguez (who also helmed the popular Spy Kids franchise) will return, this time for a new Netflix movie called We Can Be Heroes.

Rodriguez’s new Netflix film will focus, this time, on the kids of the two superheroes.

“Sharkboy and Lava Girl show up as superhero parents who now have a daughter who has shark and lava powers,” Rodriguez recently revealed, in an interview published by Collider. It’s unclear if Twilight actor Taylor Lautner will make an appearance in the film, but Rodriguez did confirm that Taylor Dooley will make come back to take on her role as Lavagirl.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Pedro Pascal are also set to also perform in the film.

Speaking at a Comic-Con@Home panel Rodriguez described the new movie as an Avengers-type kids movie.

“But they all have kids,” Rodriguez explained. “The kids have powers but they don’t know how to use them because they’re just so young.”

“The Sharkboy and Lava Girl movie features 11 young superheroes, and Sharkboy and Lavagirl’s daughter has to figure out how to merge the opposing powers she got from her parents,” People reports. The movie, which completed filming before the COVID-19 crisis, is currently being scored by Rodriguez with an orchestra in Vienna, Austria.

Rodriguez has said that the reboot was born out of Netflix’s desire to create more kid-centered movies with the director behind the wheel.

“Netflix came to me because the Spy Kids movies had done just so well on their service,” Rodriguez explained. “They said ‘Could you make a series of films that do that?’ And I said, ‘I’d love to!'”

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