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

Christian Navarro Allegedly Deleted Tweets That Called Disney Out For Saying They Wanted To Cast ‘European’ Prince Eric

Entertainment

Christian Navarro Allegedly Deleted Tweets That Called Disney Out For Saying They Wanted To Cast ‘European’ Prince Eric

Earlier this summer in July, Disney announced its decision to cast Halle Bailey from Chloe x Halle to play princess Ariel in their live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Variety reported that although director Rob Marshall had spent a couple of months meeting with potential princess Ariel’s, the R&B singer Halle Bailey was the clear choice for the role of Ariel since the start. And while buzz from just a few weeks ago about a Latino prince had us pumped… 

It turns out Disney is still looking for their Prince Eric. And they want him a little more “European.”

From singer Harry Styles to now 13 Reasons Why actor Christian Navarro, there’s been a lot of rumors going on about who will play Prince Eric in the live-action adaption of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. 

Earlier in August, Navarro tweeted that he had heard Harry Styles pass on the Prince Eric role, so he threw his name in the hat so Disney could have its first “Latino Prince” alongside its first “Black Ariel.” 

After much support from his fans and after campaigning for about a month on Twitter to be the next Prince Eric, Navarro tweeted on September 3 that Disney had seen his tweet and gave his team a call. 

People on Twitter were quick to show their support of the actor and one fan told him, “you’re going to kill this audition! Hoping you’ll represent us in the Latinx community as becoming the first Latino Disney Prince. If not, at least you put yourself out there!” 

“They wanted to see what I could do,” the 13 Reasons Why actor wrote in his tweet. “Tapes sent. Fingers crossed. Let’s make some history.” 

But on Wednesday, according to Daily Mail, Navarro claimed that he was not cast as Prince Eric in the upcoming live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid because allegedly Disney wanted someone more “European” for the role. 

Yesterday, the New York-born and Puerto Rican actor, broke the news to fans that he had actually been turned down for the role. 

According to Daily Mail, Navarro wrote in a tweet along with an eye-roll emoji that, “Disney said no. They’d like someone more ‘European.’ And we know what that means. In good times be grateful. In bad times be graceful.”

However, the tweets in question don’t seem to still be posted on his Twitter account. Navarro has seemingly deleted them without explanation. 

Daily Mail further reports that although the actor didn’t explicitly mention The Little Mermaid live-action remake in any of his tweets, but fans were quick to assume that he was referring to Disney’s film. The publication has also reached out to Disney for further comment on Navarro’s claim about them wanting to go for someone more “European” looking.

Navarro’s tweet detailing the rejection received more than 2,500 likes in the first three hours that it was posted and according to Daily Mail, fans reactions ranged from supportive to outraged. 

One fan tweeted to Navarro that they were “disappointed.” 

“It’s their loss cause you’d have made a brilliant prince Eric without a doubt. I’m sure you’ll get better roles to play!!,” the fan added. 

It’s safe to say that we’re not necessarily surprised if Navarro’s claim were true since many people had a lot to say when Halle Bailey was cast as The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel.

 People on social media were quick to express their unsolicited (and racist) comments about Ariel being cast as Ariel. Disney’s decision was met with backlash as people objected to a black woman being cast as Ariel using the hashtag #NotMyAriel. 

But who cares what the haters say, right?

For many young women who have yet to see themselves rightfully represented in media, Disney’s decision is significant and a small step toward accurate representation. 

The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation will incorporate original songs from the OG animated film as well as new songs from original composer Alan Menken with lyrics by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manual Miranda, Variety reports. Miranda is also part of the production team for the film.  

The film’s cast also includes Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Javier Bardem as King Triton and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula (a role that rapper Lizzo and “Truth Hurts” singer hinted at wanting as well). 

Production for Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is set to begin in early 2020, but who knows if they’ll stay on the timeline when they have yet to fill the leading male role.  

Ultimately, we hope that this doesn’t dissuade Navarro from pursuing other roles that he wouldn’t normally go after because we need more actors like him representing the community. 

A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

Culture

A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

@rc_olivas / Amazon

It’s an understatement to say that the beloved Disney movie “Coco” has inspired a generation. Not only do the themes of family and acceptance resonate across all age groups, but the movie’s vibrant colors and catchy musical numbers make it the perfect movie to entertain the whole family. As well all know, the film was created as sort of a love letter to Mexico and Mexican culture. 

In some Latinx families, watching it has become a sort of tradition. 

Many “Coco” fans will tell you that the movie isn’t just a movie–it’s a way of life. 

Pixar

The movie has obviously hit a chord with the younger set, inspiring endless amounts of musical covers, artwork, and blog posts. And of course, the movie has also become a huge hit in the theme-party racket. A simple Pinterest search will turn up dozens of photos of children’s’ birthday parties inspired by the hit Disney musical. When it comes to throwing a “Coco”-themed party, the artistic possibilities are endless!

But the most recent act reverence for the acclaimed film may be the most exciting one yet.

While many Latinas have quinceañeras that end up being more of their mother’s vision than their own, it looks like one lucky Latina got to take the reigns on her special day.  Recently on Twitter, a super-fan shared pictures with the film’s director of  a “Coco”-themed quinceañera. The party was complete with calacas, candy, and ofrendas–all of which brought to mind specific parts of the movie.

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

The birthday girl’s cousin shared the pictures to Twitter tagging the film’s director Lee Unkrich and asking Unrich if he liked it. Olivas shared four photos (although we would love to see more), of different parts of the party’s decor.

Needless to say, the pictures are a sight to behold.

It’s obvious from how intricate the decorations are that someone put in an incredible amount of work. We all know that many Latinx families spare no expense when they’re throwing a Quinceañera, but the amount of effort put into this one may just take the cake.

Just look at this beautiful “Coco”-themed ofrenda:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

If you look closely, you can see that one ofrenda has pictures of what are (presumably) family members that have passed. But on another ofrenda, the people in the photos are all characters from the movie. 

So much thought was put into the fictional ofrendas that the only characters displayed are ones that Miguel meets in the afterlife:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

As you can see in the display, great-grandma Coco sits in the middle. Then, there are Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe in the background, and Tía Rosita on the left. And of course, we couldn’t forget the infamous torn photo of Miguel’s great-grandfather, Hector, on the right. It looks like this family didn’t leave anyone out!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a “Coco” without Miguel’s guitar being featured prominently on one display:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

You can truly tell that this quinceañera’s decorations were a labor of love. The amount of detail that was paid attention to is inspiring. We wish this movie had been around when we turned fifteen!

And of course, the true piece de resistance was the cake, that has the signature “Coco”lettering emblazoned on the top:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

We can just imagine all of the photos the birthday girl was forced to take standing in front of this. And although we know that it’s a tradition in many families, we don’t want to imagine this cake being destroyed at all! It’s truly a work of art.

As for the director, he responded to Olivas’s tweet with the perfect response:

Unkrich must be proud to know that they movie he helped create is helping Latinos truly celebrate their own culture. Latinas from generations past have not been lucky enough to have movies that starred Latinx characters with a well-rounded identity. In the past, Latinos have been sidled with watching stereotypical renditions of themselves onscreen from drug-dealers to “Mexican Spitfires”. “Coco” puts all of those stereotypes aside and simply tells a story where Latinos are shown for their humanity.

It’s moments like this prove that the movie “Coco” is more than just another children’s movie–it’s a piece of art that has touched people’s lives. This further proves that seeing art that reflects you and your culture is so important. Not only does it make  you feel seen in the world, but it can make you appreciate your culture so much more. This is especially true for marginalized groups.