The New Dora The Explorer Movie Is Fighting Dangerous Stereotypes And Her Fans Are So Excited
During a political climate that is feeding off portrayals of Latinos as drug lords, criminals and sexually violent sub-humans, it’s rare to find a casting opportunity like “Dora and The Lost City of Gold.” The movie itself isn’t unpacking modern Latinx issues of our time like “Orange is the New Black” touches on mass incarceration or “Vida” dissects Latinx and queer identity.
By itself, it makes a huge statement. Latino families deserve to go to the movies and see themselves portrayed on screen–not as underlings in a white society or combatting the very real obstacles of racism. We deserve to see a brown Latinx cast living out an action-packed plot. We deserve to see Dora the Explorer grow up to be a courageous, adventurous, bright teenager and see those traits be what set her apart from the rest. And Dora’s all-Latino cast agrees.
The Los Angeles premiere of Dora gave us intel on what it was like for stars to be part of an all-Latino cast.
In the film, Isabela Moner gets her break out role as Dora while Michael Peña and Eva Longoria play her parents. We also see huge names like Eugenio Derbez as Alejandro Gutierrez and even Danny Trejo as the voice of Boots the monkey.
“There was no forcing or checking the box of diversity,” Eva Longoria said on the red carpet.
“If you think about Dora being Latina, you automatically get to populate her world with Latinos,” Longoria told The Hollywood Reporter. “There was no forcing or checking the box of diversity if you represent Dora and her natural culture.” Creating stories where a Latino cast is just the most natural option is more of what we need.
Longoria was shocked to learn that Dora was a beloved international icon.
“I thought she was an icon for the Hispanic community but she’s global,” Longoria told Variety. “She taught English all over the world and people were learning Spanish through her. The representation matters. The fact that it’s authentically an all-Latino cast matters and I’m so proud to be part of this project in that way.”
Eugenio Derbez was in it to change the Hollywood stereotype of Latino “criminals and drug lords.”
Derbez basically plays the adult chaperone explorer, Alejandro Gutierrez, but it wasn’t just that role that attracted him. He sees Dora as a “Latina superhero” and thinks that seeing positive stories of the Latino community is what entertainment needs more of. “I always wanted to change the image of Latinos in Hollywood because they’re always portraying us as criminals and drug lords,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Michael Peña similarly joined the project in an effort to normalize the authentic Latin family story.
Granted, there’s nothing normal about uncovering ancient indigenous cities and their secrets, but for a Latina superhero, this would be her mission. At the end of the day, Peña is proud to support a strong, young Latina stereotype to get out into the Hollywood universe.
Peña told Variety that Latinx representation is “a reason to do this kind of movie. Number one, it’s going to be a fun movie and people are going to like it, but number two, 24 years ago when I started acting, this would have never happened. There was no big-budget movie that I know of that any Latin person was even starring in. It’s cool that this is just kind of normal now in a way but for me, it’s especially satisfying.”
Isabela Moner felt like playing Dora was the most natural persona to take on.
Peruvian-American Moner is just 16 years old and taking on the role of a lifetime. “Whenever people think that a woman needs to be strong, they think that she has no emotions, is super serious, but Dora loves pink, she wears orange shorts, she loves dancing to Gloria Estefan, she’s super girly,” Moner told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s important to break up the stereotype that women have to act like men in order to be strong.”
“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is out in theaters on August 9!
Don’t miss out on watching America’s favorite little Spanish teacher grow up and out of that funny phase and into her strong, confident, chingona self. She’s going to make a lot of niñas feel strong, poderosa and worthy of being the star of their own life movie.