Things That Matter

Hollywood Does Latin America: 21 Movies Shot South Of The Border

Hollywood has long been in love with Latin America. After all, it is a very diverse region in terms of natural landscape, cities and people. Production costs are also cheaper than in the United States because wages are lower and local governments often give movie studies tax breaks. Stereotypes about Latin America are also alive and well in the United States (ay, caramba, arriba, arriba) and directors often set their stories in the “exotic” and “enchanting” land bellow Rio Grande. The recent violence that has infested our region is also attractive to scriptwriters of action films and political thrillers.

Here’s 21 movies shot in our region: 

The Mosquito Coast (1986)
Location: Belize

Credit: The Mosquito Coast. Warner Bros.


This film directed by Australian Peter Weir follows the utopian dream of a father played by Harrison Ford, who sick of life in the city decides to move his family to a Central American jungle. Of course, cue the stereotypes here!  The film was shot in paradisiac Belize. Try not to cry when you see River Phoenix as Harrison’s son… a few years before his tragic death.

Titanic (1997)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Titanic. Twentieth Century Fox.


One of the highest-grossing movies of all time was shot in Rosarito, Baja California. James Cameron built a giant set that became a tourist attraction when filming wrapped up. That is the reason why there are dolphins swimming by the enormous ship when in reality there were none in the Titanic’s fateful path! 

The Tailor of Panama (2001)
Location: Panama (obviously!)

Credit: The Tailor of Panama. Columbia Pictures Corporation.


This international espionage thriller shows Panama as a corruption-laden country where geopolitical decisions are made in the dark. Panama City is shown in all its decadent splendor. Geoffrey Rush portrays a skillful tailor for the rich and powerful… who confide in him, making him quietly powerful himself. 

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Locations: Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru

Credit: The Motorcycle Diaries. FilmFour.

This amazing biopic follows Ernesto Che Guevara in his younger years, before he became a revolutionary icon. Guevara went along on a road trip throughout the continent with his friend Alberto Granado. Director Walter Salles managed to get Hollywood money to produce this authentic ode to the vastness of our region.

Star Wars: Episode IV. A New Hope (1977)
Location: Tikal, Guatemala

Credit: Star Wars: Episode IV. A New Hope. Lucasfilm.


That’s right! Remember that shot of the rebel bases in the first Star Wars movie? Did they look strangely familiar? Well, George Lucas decided to shoot in the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Guatemala. That’s a cool trivia fact you can share with your carnales eh?

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Location: Chile

Credit: Seven Years in Tibet. Mandalay Entertainment.


Hollywood has never been too good at respecting geographical specificity! This 1997 movie showcase Brad Pitt at the pinnacle of his fame. Brad plays a climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama when China was about to take over Tibet. Of course it was tricky to shoot in the actual Himalayas, so the production team shot in the Chilean Andes instead!

Salvador (1986)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Salvador. Orion

Mexico often works as a stand-in for all and any Latin American countries. This political thriller directed by Oliver Stone follows the fate of a gringo war photographer who gets into trouble during the brutal Salvadorian civil war in the 1980s. Stone chose the Mexican state of Morelos to appear as the Central American country even though locals have a completely different ethnicity to Salvadorians! Ah, Hollywood!

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Romeo + Juliet. Twentieth Century Fox


Another movie starring Leo DiCaprio. This extravagant adaptation of the classic romance by William Shakespeare was shot in iconic sites in Mexico City such as the Castillo de Chapultepec, as well as the sweaty beaches of Veracruz.  Director Baz Luhrmann made sure the colors and surreal imagery of Mexico really pop on the screen! 

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Location: Chile (awk-ward!)

Credit: Quantum of Solace. MGM.


The location of this film is problematic: the action is supposed to take place in Bolivia, but it is in fact shot in the Chilean desert. Problem is that region has been disputed by these two countries, and it is a touchy subject to say the least. Talk about being insensitive! 

Proof of Life (2000)
Location: Ecuador

Credit: Proof of Life. Castle Rock Entertainment.


The chatter about this Taylor Hackford film had to do more with the passion that sparked between the protagonists Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe than for the film itself. Still, it shows some pretty amazing natural scenery that makes Ecuador one of the most biodiverse and gorgeous countries in the planet. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Location: Puerto Rico

Credit: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Disney.


La isla bonita  was chosen by director Rob Marshall to be the backdrop of Captain Sparrows escapades. Given that Puerto Rico was one of the epicenters of pirate culture in the nineteenth century, and that the island is amazing, this makes for an ideal location for one of the last installments of the franchise. 

The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Location: Mexico

Credit: The Night of the Iguana. MGM


This is the movie that made Liz Taylor fall in love with Puerto Vallarta, which then became a touristy hotspot. Taylor herself wasn’t in the film, but she was coming along with hubby Richard Burton, who starred in this John Huston movie. The beach scenes are iconic and show the best of the Mexican pacific coast.

Nacho Libre (2006)
Location: Mexico (pero por supuesto)

Credit: Nacho Libre. Paramount Pictures.


More than one lucha libre fan was worried when news broke out that Jack Black was going to star in a wrestler movie. Were the gringos just going to make a racist spectacle? Surprise! Director Jared Hess really did his homework and the movie is a colorful homage shot in iconic wrestling dens in Mexico City.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Location: Ecuador

Credit: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Miramax.


Another Peter Weir film. This naval adventure brings out our inner child and puts it in touch with our sense of discovery. The film follows Russel Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey, a British sailor who pursues a French vessel in South America. The scenes when they touch land in Ecuador are beautifully shot.

Apocalypto (2006)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Apocalypto. Twentieth Century Fox.


For all the things that Mel Gibson got wrong in this movie about the ancient Maya (who DID NOT have human sacrifices, those were the Aztecs, Mr. Gibson), the location was spot on. The jungle of Southern Mexico is the perfect backdrop for this gorgeously shot, action-packed chase.

Evita (1996)
Location: Argentina

Credit: Evita. Buena Vista Pictures.


Talk about a controversial film. Evita is one of the most discussed political figures in Latin American history and her legacy is still a touchy topic in Argentina. Director Alan Parker cast Madonna as the leader, which added injury to insult. The production shot in iconic buildings with the support of the government. At the end, it is a pretty decent and somewhat respectful musical. 

The Revenant (2015)
Location: Argentina

Credit: The Revenant. Twentieth Century Fox.


The movie that finally got Leo DiCaprio his Best Actor Oscar really tested his limits. This tale of survival and revenge was shot under extreme conditions in Patagonia, where the icy natural landscape squeezed every inch of energy off the cast and crew. One thing is for sure: the far corner of the world is sure pretty!

Elysium (2013)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Elysium. TriStar Pictures


What do you do if you want to shoot an apocalyptic version of Los Angeles? According to director Neil Blomkamp you head to the outskirts of Mexico City. This failed sci-fi movie does everything wrong: it takes advantage of a struggling sector of Mexican society to present what future poverty in Los Angeles is supposed to look like. Shame on them!

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Location: Brazil

Credit: Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios.


The Marvel Universe has travelled throughout the world, and the confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America happened with glorious Brazil as the backdrop. Remember those explosions in the high-security compound? Welcome to South America!

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
Location: Dominican Republic

Credit: xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Paramount.


This return of the xXx franchise sees Xander (Vin Diesel) the hero retired in paradisiac Dominican Republic (he faked his death to be left alone), only to be brought back to action by is former CIA accomplices.

Operation Finale (2018)
Location: Argentina

Credit: Operation Finale. Netlix.


One of the most recent and critically acclaimed Netflix movies tells the story of a Israeli secret operation to locate and capture a Nazi war criminal in Argentina (masterfully played by Ben Kingsley).

A Viral Tweet Claims Disney Took The Story Of ‘Coco’ From A Family In Mexico And There Is A Lot Of Debate

Entertainment

A Viral Tweet Claims Disney Took The Story Of ‘Coco’ From A Family In Mexico And There Is A Lot Of Debate

There is a viral tweet by an aspiring YouTuber in Wisconsin is making the rounds on social media claiming that Disney took the story of “Coco” from a family in Santa Fe de la Laguna, Quiroga, Michoacán, Mexico. While the woman pictured in the tweet and the character of Mama Coco is very similar, there is a lot of doubt about the tweet’s accuracy. It seems like the tweet is a good example of not believe everything you hear or see on social media as pure fact.

A viral tweet is claiming that Disney created characters based on the appearance of a family in Mexico and hasn’t compensated them.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

The two are very similar in appearance, obviously. The viral success of the tweet proves that people are willing to believe that this happened. Many are even sharing their own photos showing that they met the woman in Mexico after traveling there due to the success of “Coco.”

Others claim to have met another woman in the same town who is the inspiration for Mama Elena.

Credit: @Elllllllieezz / Twitter

Creatives who worked on “Coco” did exhaustive research to make sure they got the movie right. It is crucial that corporations portray cultures and cultural events right in the 21st century. There is hypersensitivity and a strong expectation for companies to do their due diligence to guarantee that culturally relevant materials are done correctly. In that vein, Disney/Pixar did send people to Mexico to research and study up on the customs surrounding Día de los Muertos.

They did visit places in Mexico and there are moments in the film where you see recreations of structures they encountered on their trip. Disney has never denied visiting places in Mexico to do research and that parts of the film are inspired by things they have seen. However, according to responses to the tweet, there are a lot of people who think Disney did more than just get inspired by these places and the people.

The tweet caught the attention of co-director Lee Unkrich.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

The accusations have really caught fire on Twitter with little to no information backing claims. While the tweet claims the family was not compensated, Disney denies it was based on the family despite the striking similarities. There is also no evidence presented that the family nor people in the town that were interviewed signed contracts for compensation from Disney.

The daughter of animator Daniel Arriaga took to Twitter to combat the narrative she says is false.

Credit: @alyssaaestrella / Twitter

Twitter users responded to Alyssa claiming that it doesn’t matter and that the families should be compensated for the interviews and information obtained.

Another man shared a photo in 2017 showing that his grandmother was the woman they based Mama Elena on.

Credit: Brandon Guzman / Facebook

“For those of you who read my previous post about Coco…here is my abuela,” Brandon Guzman posted on Facebook two years ago. “It was her who they modeled the Abuela with the chancla in the movie after!! I’m a proud grandson!! #Pixar #Disney #Coco #LatinosInHollywood”

However, the person who originally posted the viral tweet is using the similarities in the movie and locations to push their point.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

There is no denying that some bits of Mexico made it into the movie. However, it can be argued that it was done to further the authenticity of the movie and the storyline for people wanting to see themselves represented.

There is no winning or losing this argument as people will believe what they want.

Despite people who worked on or related to those who worked on denying the story, the rumor of Disney causing harm to a community in Mexico.

Those standing up for Disney are calling attention to the dangers of believing everything you see on the internet.

Credit: @Scarletttt_x3 / Twitter

There have been multiple instances of people blindly believing things that are posted on social media. The lack of necessary fact-checking before posting has led to misinformation spreading unchecked on social media. It is up to the users to make sure that they do their own research and determine what is true or not. As for this story, it seems the internet will forever be torn over the validity of the claims made.

READ: These Fans Theories About What A ‘Coco’ Sequel Would Look Like Sees Miguel At 17 And Returning To The Land Of The Dead

Chisme Says Javier Bardem Is Close To Landing The Role Of King Triton And People Have Some Thoughts

Entertainment

Chisme Says Javier Bardem Is Close To Landing The Role Of King Triton And People Have Some Thoughts

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Staff

Disney just recently announced that Halle Bailey would be portraying Ariel in the live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and finally we are starting to see better presentation of POC on the big screen.

The reaction to her casting was huge and, of course, came with it’s share of racist trolls.

But Disney is giving us another reason to celebrate ‘The Little Mermaid’ with word that Javier Bardem is in talks to start as Ariel’s father, King Triton.

Javier Bardem could possibly play King Triton in the live-action ‘Little Mermaid.’

Credit: @RottenTomatoes / Twitter

Big news from Disney — Spanish actor Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join the cast of Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the ‘Little Mermaid.’

And the best part? He’s up for the role of Ariel’s dad and the ruler of Atlantica, the mighty King Triton. If the reports are true, Javier will be joining a star-studded cast for the highly-anticipated flick.

Although Javier is in talks to play King Triton, other actors have publicly said they’d want to be considered in the Rob Marshall-directed movie. Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews took to his social media and posted a selfie of himself as the underwater ruler.  “Ariel’s Dad!!!!,” he wrote alongside the image.

Reactions on Twitter have been mixed to the news but a lot of people love the idea of Javier Bardem as King Triton.

And you can count us among that group. He’s a very talented actor, who, in fact, has won an academy award. So we have faith that he’ll be an amazing King Triton.

And this user had a very beautiful way of looking at the possible casting.

Credit: @DEADLINE / Twitter

The sea is definitely a colorful place. Plus, also, mermaids aren’t real so Disney can cast whoever they want in which ever role they want.

While this person was excited for the possibility of something like Cinderella.

Credit: @DEALINE / Twitter

And we have to say that we agree. Brandy in Cinderella was everything and we would love to see Halle Bailey bring that same sort of energy to this role as Ariel – and we have faith that she will.

Though it looked like many on Twitter weren’t having any of it.

Credit: @IGN / Twitter

It looked like some were confused by the whole family tree while others just wanted the so called classic ‘Little Mermaid’ (read: white) that they grew up with and already know.

But more than one Twitter user easily shut down the haters.

Credit: @Spartan901 / Twitter

That’s right people. Mermaids aren’t real. They could cast this however they want to cast it.

While many others were totally stanning for Terry Crews.

Credit: @people / Twitter

Count us in on this as well. Who doesn’t love funny man Terry Crews?! Apparently, he also really wants the role. He even tweeted out a photo of the film with the caption #ArielsDad.

Whoever plays King Triton will be joining a star-studded cast.

A few weeks ago, the studio announced that R&B singer (and Beyoncé’s protégé) Halle Bailey would take on the role of Ariel, while Melissa McCarthy would play Ariel’s nemesis Ursula. Other castings include 12-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay as Ariel’s best friend Flounder and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina playing Scuttle, the pair’s other friend that gives them access to objects from the human world. Harry Styles is also reportedly in talks to play Ariel’s love interest Prince Eric.

READ: Racist Twitter Is Coming For The Black Actress Recently Tapped To Be ‘The Little Mermaid’ And She Ain’t Batting An Eye

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