Posts Tagged ‘ drama ’

The cast of SXSW 2013 Narrative Feature Competition Winner “SHORT TERM 12” talk about the emotional roller coaster of a film


The cast of “Short Term 12” after the round table at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas
(L-R) Kaitlyn Dever, Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield, John Gallagher, Jr. (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

AUSTIN — Writer and director Destin Cretton has a lot to be proud of after last week’s SXSW Film and Music Festival. His film, “Short Term 12” ended up winning the Narrative Feature Competition, a well-deserved recognition of the independent film.

“Short Term 12” follows Grace (Brie Larson), a supervisor at a foster care facility. She tries her best to help the kids at her facility, from quiet but troubled Marcus (Keith Stanfield) who is about to turn 18 and not ready to leave the home to Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) who holds disturbing secrets of her own, all while trying to train a new employee, Nate (Rami Malek), and keeping her personal life together along with her longtime boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher, Jr).

The cast sat down with myself and another journalist to talk about getting to know each other, the emotional roller coasters they rode while filming, and re-writing scenes.

Q stands for a question from the other journalist while AG represents a question from myself.

Film editor Nat Sanders (L) and Writer/Director Destin Cretton (R) at the premiere of "Short Term 12" at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas on March 10, 2013.

Film editor Nat Sanders (L) and Writer/Director Destin Cretton (R) at the premiere of “Short Term 12” at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas on March 10, 2013. (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

AG: You all did such a great job with this film. I felt exhausted after it was over, but in a good way. So what was it like for you all to take on these really heavy roles?
KS: Exhausting, but it’s good to feel exhausted. That’s what you build from. It was definitely draining, emotionally, for me, at least.

Q: I know this was a pretty tight shoot, scheduled 20 days. So before that, did you guys spend time together? How did that work?
JG: We had a day, early on, a couple days before we started shooting, where it was really a kind of “meet and greet” where Destin and a bunch of the producers, they invited us all over to a house that they were renting for production days. We all came, and we all met. Alex, who plays Sammy, and Kevin, who plays Luis, were there, and a friend of Destin’s came over who is a line staffer at the facility where Destin volunteered years ago. That kind of gave him inspiration for the story. He came over and just talked to us for a long time about the environment, what it’s like to work there and things like that. He taught us all how to do the – I can’t remember the name. There was a name for that technique.
BL: The restraint. Wasn’t it just a restraint?
JG: It’s the proper way to restrain. So whenever you see, when we take down Sammy, when we have to restrain Kaitlyn in that scene, that’s all proper technique that we learned how to do when you’re working in a facility like that. We also did some improve games and shared some stories, just talked to each other and got to know each other. Even though it was just a day, sometimes you don’t even need that much beforehand. It was super informative.

AG: So you two’s chemistry was really great. Your relationship seemed very natural. What did you do two do to kind of get there?
BL: We went to dinner.
JG: We went to dinner, yeah. We had a date.
BL: We went to dinner, and Destin had an envelope dropped off at his place. He said, “Don’t open it until you get to the restaurant.” We got to the restaurant, opened it, and it was a bunch of – I don’t know, there was a lot – probably like 10 to 15 strips of paper that were little conversation starters. Every so often – it was so great. We didn’t have to worry about making conversation.
JG: Yeah, you’re like, “So, let’s get these envelope strips.”
BL: We didn’t have to worry about guiding a conversation. “Oh! So there’s another piece of paper. I have nothing to say, so here’s another piece of paper.” (laughs) We just started basically creating a mythology for these characters. It was a lot about our personal experiences, our personal hopes and fears of being parents, what our thoughts were on that. We talked about the long-term relationships we had been in, and we just kind of created and even talked about what our first date was. We just kind of pulled from real experiences we had to kind of create a thing. Destin wrote a really good script, so we just did the script.
JG: Yeah, those two things combined…
BL: It worked out really well!
RM: I’ve since been using the envelope trick on my first dates.
AG: How’s that working out for you?
RM: Pretty terrific.

Q: What was the most difficult part of the shoot? There are so many scenes that were very raw and very real, so what day were any of you like, “I’m exhausted, this has been such a hard day for me?”
BL: [Keith]’s suicide attempt. I have a past experience of – I’ve never talked about this. I have a past experience with almost dying from hemorrhaging, so I have a really strong reaction to blood and a really hard time. Even if I get a bloody nose, I pass out. My dog broke a nail at The Grove, and I passed out. Someone had to grab me, because I just can’t do it. So dealing with somebody and I know it’s fake…watching him lose consciousness was really difficult, and I had to take some time. That was part of a really big day. I had a lot of really crazy scenes to do, but everything else I kind of know it’s not real. But that was the thing that was really personal for me that I didn’t want to tell anybody. I didn’t want to seem like a wimp, but that was difficult. I felt like I was smacking myself in those scenes.
JG: When we break up, I had a really hard time with that. We actually shot it a couple of different ways, and we ended up re-shooting it. They had tortured poor Brie. Wasn’t that later?
BL: That was later that day.
JG: Later that night, after putting her through the gauntlet of three of her most emotional scenes, they were like, “Oh, we’re going to do this scene where you and your boyfriend break up, at like, 10 o‘clock at night.” We shot it, and originally, it was much angrier. Mason really kind of lost his temper and got kind of mean with Grace. We came back to it the next day, and Destin called us and we were like, “You know what, we’re going to take another stab at that, because I think we can do it better. I think that some of the emotions are not quite right there.” We all went and sat on the ground, and we all three re-wrote it together. We just kind of pieced together talking about what kind of fight you’ve had where you’ve almost broken up, break-ups, losing your temper, how do you deal with it and came up with a new version. That’s the one you see in the movie. That was the only time I felt any kind of something that resembled a frustration or feeling like I was stalled. The rest of the shoot was very harmonious.

AG: Well, I’m glad they shot it that way, because you saying Mason loses his temper… I don’t know if I would have bought that.
BL: There were some other things in the story. The movie kind of changes as it goes.
JG: It was kind of from a draft, and we had already shot so much with these characters where all of a sudden it was like, “Oh, we got to that scene, but I don’t think this is how they would be with each other.” It can take time to learn that, and luckily, we were a little bit ahead of schedule. We could go back and do that.

AG: Your storyline is really tough and really heavy for someone so young, so what was it like going through that?
KD: It was exhausting, and when I read the script, I really thought, “Wow, I could do a lot with this, and I could really get into the character, add a lot of drama and stuff into it.” I just really, really love playing a character where I can be something opposite than what I’ve ever done before. I’ve done comedy and stuff, and I did Justified, but I had never done something like this. Shooting it was really awesome. Most of my scenes were with Brie, and she is just really amazing to get to work with. She was so helpful, and I really learned a lot from her. My biggest scene was where I did the “freak out” scene with me shoving a cupcake in her face (laughs) and spitting on Rami’s face. It was really, like, it was kind of like a relief. I felt like I accomplished a lot. The scene where I read the story about the octopus, it’s just an awful story. I cried reading the script. I felt it was really moving, and I’m so excited that I was able to do the role. I was so excited when I met Destin, because he’s just brilliant. He wrote the script, and it was just brilliant. I was so happy I got to work with these people.
JG: We did so many takes of that freak-out, too. You never lost steam.
BL: Oh my gosh, it was amazing. You have this amazing…I mean, when we started, I thought, “I’ve got to take my cues from you.” If I have to get upset about something, I stay in it. I just say like, “Okay, I’m going down to the deep end, and I’m just going to get really dark for, like, an hour. I’ll let everybody know when I’m, like, not in a dark place. But you would just turn it on and off. You’d freak out and be screaming, “Fuck that!” and going crazy, and then you’d get up and be like, “Wow, that was so fun!” I’d be like, “Well, you must be tired,” and you were like, “No, I want to do it again!”
KD: It was exciting!
BL: I’ve just never seen anybody be able to just…it’s amazing the amount of emotional depth that you have and that you’re able to just tap into and then release from. It’s harder for me. I find that I just kind of, like, wade in the water, but you were so good about being like, “Now I’m Jayden, and now I’m myself.” That’s so healthy and so incredible to watch.
KS: It’s very difficult.
KD: I felt really bad for Rami when I spit on his face. The thing was, when we were shooting that scene, I kept spitting on his face, but really, they were on Brie for the first, like, eight takes. Then, Destin came up to me and was like, “Are you really spitting on his face?” I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am. Are you guys not even on us?” He’s like, “No, you didn’t have to,” so I’m like, “Oh my God, I feel so bad!” (laughs) I kept apologizing.
RM: I went up to Destin and said, “She knows the camera’s not on her, right? Can you go tell her the camera’s not on her?” (laughs)
KD: I felt so bad! It’s so embarrassing!
BL: That’s awesome (laughs). I love it.

AG: Your character was so awkward. He just reminded me of those random people that sometimes you’re like, “Did you really just say that?”
RM: No filter.
KD: Rami brought so much comedy to the script.
RM: It was there. I got a few good one-liners.
BL: I didn’t see that much comedy in it, but you made everything really funny. It was great.
RM: Cool. Thank you, guys.


Paco Delgado talks Les Miserables

In theaters December 25, 2012

In theaters December 25, 2012

This Christmas, the film adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel and acclaimed Broadway show, Les Miserables, will make its way to the big screen. The epic taking place during the French Revolution stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and Amanda Seyfried in the iconic roles of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Javert, and Cosette, respectively.

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean (Jackman), hunted down for decades by the persistent policeman  (Crowe) after breaking parole, comes across a woman named Fantine (Hathaway), beaten down by unfortunate circumstances. He agrees to care for her young daughter, Cosette (Seyfried), and in doing so changes both of their lives forever.

The story unfolds over several decades in the 1800s, a time period filmmakers had to delve into heavy research to perfect onscreen. Paco Delgado, the costume designer, talks about the trips to Paris and going back to the Victor Hugo novel itself for inspiration.

Paco Delgado, costume designer for the film

Paco Delgado, costume designer for the film

AG: Can you explain to the readers a little bit about what you do on set?
PD: Basically, my job is to try to create a kind of laborious work about how people dressed and how the characters will get dressed to tell a story. One of the first things we do is a little research about the time period. Once we’ve done all the research, we start talking to the actors and the director and start designing and drawing on paper all the ideas. Then we start creating all the dresses and suits and all that.

AG: You mentioned to The Hollywood Reporter that you began designing costumes on theater sets. What was the first film you designed for?
PD: The first show I designed in theater was a play by an Austrian playwright named Arthur Schnitzler called “La Ronde.” That was years and years ago. I think it was ’85 or something like that. I carried on designing mainly sets, but then as I explained, I started working in production. They didn’t have enough money to pay two people to design, one person to design the sets and another person to design the costumes. Little by little, I started getting involved in doing the costume design as well. My interest at the moment was designing sets, so I found designing costumes easy to do. I suppose because of that, my costumes were sort of better than I thought they were. People started thinking of me more as a costume designer than a set designer.

AG: In this film, you’re dressing characters for several different decades in the 1800s. What kind of research did you do in order to capture these evolving styles?
PD: [Director] Tom Hooper was really interested in going back to the concept of the story, so one of the first things we did was come back to the book written by Victor Hugo and reading it very thoroughly. It’s full of references on how people dressed, what sort of environments they lived in, and all these sorts of things. Once we read the book and had a lot of impressions made just by the powerful writing of Victor Hugo, we started looking at paintings. One of the first things we did was go to Paris and go to The Louvre just to look at paintings. We took a lot from painters like De la Croix. We also obviously looked at museums of fashion. Vienna Victoria is an outlet in London, and a fashion museum in Paris. They had a lot of authentic pieces from this period. We tried to look at how they were made and what fabrics they used. That was one of the most exciting parts of my job.

Delgado's sketch of Fantine's costume

Delgado’s sketch of Fantine’s costume

AG: How long does it take to get all these costumes ready before filming?
PD: We had a preparation of five months. We worked really hard, all the time, every day of the week. When we started filming, we did it in order. We shot the beginning of the movie at the beginning of the filming and continued in progress. We carried on creating new costumes throughout the filming of the movie. It took us 14 weeks to shoot. It was like a never-ending process, really.

AG: Which character was your favorite to dress in this film, and why?
PD: It’s very hard to say, because I love all of them. I loved to dress Jean Valjean, the character played by Hugh Jackman. He goes through a huge character development, from the very beginning as a convict living in poverty to the end of the movie when he becomes a very affluent person of the social class. That was very challenging, as well as transforming the actresses as well, like Anne Hathaway. She’s a beautiful woman, and her character, Fantine, is a very nice girl who’s displaced because she becomes a single mother. She ends up being at the bottom of society as a prostitute. That was a very interesting thing to do as well. Amanda Seyfried’s character, Cosette, is a lovely girl who flowers into life and knows love. She carries on the whole romantic story in this movie. I also thought it was very interesting to make the costumes for Helena Bonham Carter and Sascha Baron Cohen who play the Thenardiers. They play these two con artists, and they were comedic characters. It was a lot of fun to work with them and make their costumes.

AG: What would your dream costume project be? A movie that’s already come out that you wish you had designed for or some other idea you have that you think would be fun to design the costumes for?
PD: There are so many things I would love to do. For example, I would love to make a movie about Don Quixote, because it’s a very universal and Spanish story. My dream is just to carry on working and carry on working on productions that really fulfill me where I can produce interesting costumes. I also want to continue to use costumes as a vehicle for telling stories and helping actors to become the characters they want to be. Don Quixote would be a fantastic story to design for, though. I would love that.

Looper: A Review

Now in theaters

Looper is an example of how much I love smart trailers and movie marketing. The trailers have let you know what the premise of the film is, but they don’t give everything away in two minutes. Let’s just say that I was pretty pleasantly surprised by the parts of the film that they make sure you don’t see coming.

Looper is set in 2044 and 2074, when time travel is invented and instantly outlawed. It has also grown increasingly difficult (in 2074) to dispose of dead bodies that people don’t want found. Gangs, mobs, murderers, what have you, they all send people they want dead back to the past, hooded and packed with silver, where “loopers” wait for them in open fields, shoot them dead, and collect their payday. If these “loopers” are still alive in 30 years, they are sent back and killed, and this is called “closing the loop.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, one such “looper” in 2044, and Bruce Willis plays the older Joe in 2074. Joe knows that his loop will be closed soon, and he feels prepared for it, until his older self appears in the field without a hood. He hesitates, and older Joe escapes. Fast-forward a couple of chase scenes to both Joes sitting in a booth at a diner.

It is there that younger Joe learns that he eventually falls in love with a beautiful woman (Summer Qing) who “saves his life.” Unfortunately, she is killed by a figure known as The Rainmaker who is closing all the loops, and older Joe plans to find him in 2044 and kill him.

He makes a run for it, and younger Joe ends up stranded on a farm. There he meets tough and resilient Sara (Emily Blunt) and her five-year-old son Cid (Pierce Gagnon, who gives a haunting performance of a truly troubled child). He realizes that older Joe believes that Cid may grow up to become The Rainmaker, and that is where the predicament lies.

Gordon-Levitt and Willis are accompanied by great performances by Jeff Daniels as Abe, the mob boss in 2074 sent back in time to manage the “loopers,” Paul Dano as Seth, Joe’s best friend and fellow “looper” desperate to keep from closing his loop, and Noah Segan as Kid Blue, one of Abe’s “gat men” constantly seeking Abe’s approval.

The real star, though, is behind the scenes: writer and director Rian Johnson. He intelligently maneuvers the tricky, and often messy, concept of time travel and leaves the ending up to you. Usually, movies like this leave me frustrated (I’m talking to you, Inception), but Looper gives you enough to make an informed decision. I enjoyed it, even if I did miss Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s boyish good looks underneath the Bruce Willis-inspired prosthetics (see below).

Those are some mean eyebrows.

End of Watch: “Not A Typical Cop Movie”

Michael Pena (L) and Jake Gyllenhaal (R) star in End of Watch, in theaters tomorrow, September 21, 2012

When I walked out of the theater after End of Watch, I had that feeling I love, that feeling I go to the movies for and hope to experience every time I throw my bag of popcorn in the trash on the way out. I felt exhausted. Exhausted, because I was so invested in the characters and the plot that I rode the entire roller coaster of human emotions in just two hours.

End of Watch follows two L.A.P.D. cops, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), and their everyday lives patrolling a highly Mexican-American area of Los Angeles. They spent five months training together, going on ride-alongs, getting to know each other, and developing a partnership that is as real on-screen as off. They are smart-asses but still heroic.

Taylor and Zavala talking to an ICE officer

While so many cop movies showcase the dramatic and slightly unrealistic action sequences, End of Watch does best when it shows Taylor and Zavala in their patrol car, talking about things everyone talks about. Life, love, funny stories, etc. It is only possible to believe their heroics after you believe their characters, which you will. From rescuing children from a burning building when the fire department takes too long to arrive to finding children duct-taped in a closet when their crackhead mother calls them in missing, Taylor and Zavala are real and honest throughout.

I was worried about feeling nauseous when I learned it was shot documentary-style, but the filming was carried out really well. It begins with Taylor explaining that he is filming for a class he’s taking for a Pre-Law degree. There are cameras on his and Zavala’s uniforms, a hand-held he carries around, and cameras in the patrol car. It feels as though you are on a ride-along with Taylor and Zavala, so much so that I was scared walking to my car in the garage and driving home.

While Gyllenhaal and Zavala deliver amazing performances, the movie would not be as real as it was without a great ensemble behind them including bitter veteran Officer Van Hauser (David Harbour), their relentless “Sarge” (Frank Grillo), and the feisty female cop duo, Orozco (America Ferrera) and Davis (Cody Horn).

It would also not be as real a story or performance for Gyllenhaal and Pena had they not been supported by their on-screen significant others, Gabby Zavala (Natalie Martinez) and Janet Taylor (Anna Kendrick). Upon watching this film, you realize that cops are real people that have to go home after facing horrible things like murders and near-death experiences, and they would not be able to keep going back to work if they didn’t have unrelenting support when they decompress at home.

Zavala and his wife (R) and Taylor (L) at Zavala’s little sister’s Quinceanera

David Ayer certainly outdid himself finally finding and writing a “true cop story.” After Training Day, S.W.A.T., and The Fast and the Furious, Ayer said this is “not a typical cop movie,” and he wasn’t kidding. He fashioned Taylor and Zavala after two of his good friends who are cops, and it ended up being a great idea.

Anyway, End of Watch is the best movie I’ve seen all year and the best cop movie in years. It is incredibly visceral and real, so prepare to leave the theater exhausted but fulfilled.

Mauricio Kuri talks For Greater Glory

On DVD & BluRay on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

For Greater Glory, the story of the 1920s Cristero War, will be available to watch on BluRay and DVD on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. For Greater Glory tells the story of the violent civil war in Mexico following President Plutarco Elias Calles’ anti-Catholic provisions in the 1917 Constitution of Mexico.

A 13-year-old boy named Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio decides to take part in the Cristero War after watching the Mexican police execute his priest. The movie stars Peter O’Toole, Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and Ruben Blades. Newcomer Mauricio Kuri plays Jose Luis, and he talks about the history of his country and what it was like working with a legend like Peter O’Toole.

AG: Can you start with telling the readers a little bit about your character in this movie and if there was any sort of personal connection between you and your character?
MK: I think there was a lot of personal connection, because my character was 14 years old, and when I was filming, I was 13. The movie has a lapse of three years, so at the beginning of the movie, I’m 12, and when it ends, I’m 14. Being 13 was just perfect, because I was between those two ages. I felt connected, because I think that being the same age, we could think similarly, and I’m Catholic. So being involved in this story that was known in Mexico and all over the world was amazing. I wanted to transmit to all of the people what actually happened in my country. We know history about the Chinese, the British, but we don’t know much Mexican history. It was a huge opportunity. It was amazing, because I always wanted to be an actor. My main purpose is to be a movie director, but it was amazing because I love cinema. I think cinema is just a great way to express yourself and transmit emotions. It was a really challenging experience, but it was beautiful.

Mauricio Kuri as Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio

AG: How did you get started acting?
MK: In my regular school, we have theater class. My teacher, Laura Belmas, she said, “Mauricio, can you come here for a second?” I said, “Yeah,” and she said, “I see some talent in you for theater, so I suggest you stay involved here in theater.” Theater is beautiful, and she taught me a lot of personal stuff about acting, so I got this passion for theater because of her. That passion for theater became a passion for cinema. Once I got this script for a movie called La Leyenda del Tesoro, it was produced by the same producer of For Greater Glory. It was a Mexican movie. It was a really small role, but I got that role, my first in a film. I was like, “Oh my god!” So one year later, the For Greater Glory script came, and I was just amazed that all of these things that I was reading in the script, I didn’t know a lot of it. I got so sad, because most of these things that I was reading actually happened. The whole movie is based on true events. I mean, not even my teachers knew about this, so I thought, “Something is wrong here.” That was also an inspiration to tell the people what happened. Not even Mexican people knew about this.

AG: Being a Mexican-American myself, I had no idea about the Cristiada, so this is a very informative movie. What kind of research did you do after reading the script and realizing, “Oh, there are a lot of things I didn’t even know about this?”
MK: I read the biography of my character, Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, which was written by his uncle. It’s in Spanish, but I read the whole biography. It had real documents and photographs. I also read a little bit of this book called La Cristiada. It was written by John Mayer. Not the singer! (laughs) He’s a French investigator here in Mexico that is really famous. It was so weird, too, that the guy that wrote the story for the script, well, not the script, but the book the script was based on, was French! He’s not even Mexican! There was clearly something bad in this, because someone didn’t want people to know about this process. It’s something cruel that happened in our country, but it’s true. It’s really sad, but I’m glad that now that the DVD is coming out, people will be able to see some part of Mexican history in their house.

AG: What was it like working alongside such great actors like Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole, and Catalina Sandino Moreno?
MK: It was just great. When I saw Peter O’Toole, I was just speechless. I love Lawrence of Arabia. It’s one of my personal favorite movies. When I saw him, I was kind of scared, too. These wonderful actors, they were so good that I didn’t want to disappoint them. I’m just starting, and I didn’t want to screw up (laughs). So I had to prepare myself more when I noticed that these huge actors were going to be in the movie. It was such a great experience, too, because they were all nice to me. I have this really cool relationship now with Peter O’Toole. He told me about his personal life and this school I should go to when I grow up. He went to the this school called the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. I want to go to that school, and it’s in London. He told me that it’s a wonderful school, that it exposes you to acting. There were a lot of personal experiences between us and between Andy Garcia and me. The relationship on film, it was pretty much the same kind of relationship outside of the film. It was awesome, because I consider him my friend. We were talking about a new project that he’s going to do, about Hemingway, he’s going to direct the movie. We were just talking about working together again, but it’s not official yet. I’m just glad that I have this relationship with him, because he’s such a wonderful person and such a wonderful actor, too. I admire him so much in the Godfather, because he’s just a person who knows how to get into character perfectly. Outside the film, he asked me to call him General. Not even during the movie, just there on set, I called him General. It was pretty cool and really fun.

AG: Now that this movie is nominated for so many ALMA Awards, what is it like for you being a part of this movie?
MK: Well, I’m really excited, because I know it got five nominations. I know that’s a lot. I’m excited, because I think the people that got nominated really deserve it, like Andy Garcia. I think he deserves that award, because he got so involved in the character. You could actually see the General through his eyes. I’m feeling so lucky to be in such a big movie for Mexico, because it was the most successful in the box office here in Mexico, the most watched movie in the history of Mexican cinema. It was just a great experience. I learned so much. It was my best school of acting, because Andy Garcia and Peter O’Toole taught me personal experiences and gave me personal tips. It was just great.

AG: With all of the controversy surrounding Mexico, how important do you think it is for a movie like this to come out? What misconceptions of Mexico are there in Hollywood that would love to be set straight?
MK: In Hollywood, mostly there are not a lot of Mexican movies. This movie wasn’t that successful in the United States, but I think it’s one of those movies that leaves a mark in people’s hearts. It has a really strong message. I think it’s one of those movies you don’t see a lot anymore, because you have something behind that is a lot of message and a lot of story behind it. It actually happened. It was just so great, the experience of filming it, so I’m really glad the DVD is finally coming out. People can see this story over and over again, and I can watch it at my house, too (laughs). It was just amazing, the whole experience, since I got the casting call all that way up until now.

AG: Any last words for the readers about yourself or the movie?
MK: There is actually something funny that happened on set, and the scene got cut from the movie. They’re probably going to put it on the DVD. Andy Garcia throws me a gun in a scene, and I needed to catch it. I was looking the other way when he threw me the gun, so when I look up, the gun lands on my nose. It was so heavy! It was made of metal, so my nose cracked open. It was really cool, though, because now I have a scar on my nose that I can say Andy Garcia gave to me!

For Greater Glory Dominates ALMA Nominations

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — FOR GREATER GLORY dominated nominations announced July 9 for the 2012 American Latino Media Arts (ALMA)Awards®, sponsored by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). The epic action adventure about Mexico’s Cristero War for religious freedom earned five nominations – including Favorite Movie – for ALMA Awards®. NBC will air the 2012 ALMA Awards® at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT Sept. 21.

In addition to the film itself, four cast members are up for ALMA Awards®. Andy Garcia earned nomination as Favorite Movie Actor, and Eva Longoria is a candidate for Favorite Movie Actress – Drama/Adventure. Rubén Blades and Oscar Isaac are competing against each other and three more actors in the Favorite Movie Actor – Supporting Role category.

FOR GREATER GLORY’s five 2012 ALMA® nominations are the most earned by any film.

Fans decide the winners through online voting that is open now through Sept. 7 at Fans may vote once daily in a variety of film, TV and music categories.

FOR GREATER GLORY, which opened June 1 across the country, has earned more than $5.4 million at the box office. Itbrings the brutal truth of the Cristero War, which rocked 1920s North America, to the big screen with vivid accuracy. Academy Award® and ALMA® nominee Garcia and Golden Globe winner and ALMA® nominee Longoria lead a stellar multinational cast that includes legendary Oscar® winner Peter O’Toole, ALMA® nominee Isaac (DRIVE), ALMA® nominee Blades (SAFE HOUSE), Bruce Greenwood (STAR TREK, SUPER 8), Nestor Carbonell(THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, “Lost”), Bruce McGill (LINCOLN), Santiago Cabrera (“Heroes,” CHE), Oscar®-nominated Catalina Sandino Moreno (MARIA FULL OF GRACE), and Eduardo Verástegui (BELLA). FOR GREATER GLORY also features teenager Muricio Kuri in a stunning portrayal of Blessed José Sanchez del Rio, who joined the Cristeros at 14 and served as a flag bearer before being martyred by Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles’ Federales.

Many of the Cristero martyrs were Knights of Columbus, and theorganization has spearheaded production of a behind-the-scenes look at the movie that includes historical background on the Cristero War. Anyone can watch the 30-minute program online at

In addition, Ignatius Press has published the official companion book to the film, For Greater Glory: The True Story of the Cristiada. Written by noted Cristero War historian and expert Ruben Quezada, English and Spanish editions of the book are available now at

FOR GREATER GLORY is a production of Dos Corazones Studios, and isdistributed by ARC Entertainment. For interviews with Producer Pablo Barroso, other members of the cast and crew, or official-companion-book author RubenQuezada, please contact Alexis Walkenstein (561-445-5409 or, Tim Lilley (678-990-9032 or or Kevin Wandra (678-990-9032, or of The Maximus Group.

Visit the online newsroom at for backgrounders, still images and other media resources.

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Tenoch Huerta talks Get the Gringo

Tenoch Huerta (left) in Get the Gringo, now on DVD and BluRay

In April, Mel Gibson’s Get the Gringo was released on DirecTV Video on Demand (VOD). Gibson stars as Driver, an American criminal who crashes his car into the border wall while being chased by police. He learns his way through the town-like prison, “El Pueblito,” with help from “The Kid,” a 10-year-old boy. The Kid (Kevin Hernandez) is special, because he has the same rare blood-type as a Mexican crime boss in the prison who needs a liver transplant. Drive takes it upon himself to save the Kid’s life and break out of El Pueblito.

Huerta at the Mexican Academy of Film awards in July with his Ariel for Best Actor

Tenoch Huerta plays Carlos in the film, and he recently won The Ariel, the Mexican Academy of Film award, for his work in Days of Grace (Dias de Gracia). He talks about what it was like to play Carlos, working with Mel Gibson, and his opinion on the violence in Mexico.

*This interview was held in Spanish.

AG: Podemos empezar con usted hablando un poco sobre su carácter en la pelicula?
TH: Mi personaje es Carlos. Está un cuate que esta en la carcel, y es parte de la banda que se encarga del verdadero contról dentra de la prisión. El personaje es el brazo ejecutor, quien va y cobra las cuentas y hace pagar a los que deben dinero. Es un personaje muy divertido y que disfruté mucho hacer.

AG: Habia algun conexión personal con Carlos?
TH: No, no. En un sentido, por ejemplo, de estilos de vida o lo de mas, no sujere así. Siempre que creas un personaje, hay partes y muchos puntos de entendimiento entre tu y el personaje. Si no, sería imposible interpretarlo. Mas al lado de eso, no habia otro tipo de conexión entre el personaje y yo. Con entendimiento y comprensión de el, al final del dia, el que descubrílo fui yo.

AG: Como te involucraste en este proyecto?
TH: El director y productor, Adrian Grunberg y Stacy Perskie, me contactaron porque tenemos amigos en común. Vieron mi trabajo, Dias de Gracia, y me contactaron. Les gusto mi chama, me presentaron el guión, me gusto el guión, y en realidad, todo fue muy fácil. No habia complicaciones y negociaciones fueron muy facil. Sentia muy natural entrar al proyecto y lo agradesco.

AG: Porque gustabas el guión? Cual element habia en el guión que te atrayo a este proyecto?
TH: Pues mira, me parece que es un historia muy divertida, me parece que es un historia bien contada, y ademas de que Adrian me acerca de lo que es lo que queria hacer y todo el investigación, me pareció que por allí habia algo bueno y que valía mucho la pena para entrar en este tipo de proyecto.

AG: Yo se que este pelicula se terminó de filmar hace unos años, pero era difícil para filmar por allí en México con toda la violencia que está pasando en la frontera?
TH: No, no. Mira, la verdad es que si estamos en una hora de violencia en el país, pero creo que los medios están dando una imagen un poco distorcionada de lo que esta sucediendo aqui en México. En ciertas regiones en el país, si es muy peligroso, pero otras partes del pais, como donde nosotros trabajamos, afortunadamente no nos alcanzó la hora de violencia. En el sentido, fue sencillo, pero bueno, cuando pasa una país en guerra, en lo que estamos en si es una especie de guerra horrible, pero cuando estas en un país así, siempre se sienta una tension en el ambiente que nos afecta todos, pero por lo pronto para hacer esta pelicula, no fue difícil.

AG: Cual fue su esceno favorita para filmar?
TH: Yo tuve la fortuna, o la mala fortuna, de que me toco la escena maldita. Así le decimos en la cina que una escenas que nomás no salen y no salen y no quedan por qualquier o alguna razón, y a mi me toco justo la esceno maldita que tengo en los banos. Lo hicimos casi ocho a 10 veces. Lo haciamos y lo haciamos, y se acababa el material de la camara o de pronto algo sucedía. Yo ya soñaba de ese esceno y ya lo odió pero hoy me parece una escena divertidisima. Bueno, toda la experiencia ahora me puedo reir de eso!

AG: Como fue trabajando con Mel Gibson?
TH: La verdad es que me parece un actor muy profesional, muy entregado, muy serio y eso siempre es bueno. Cuando trabajas con gente tan profesional, siempre es gratificante. No nomás el, pero todos los actores mexicanos que estan involucrados en este pelicula son de los mejores actores de México en cine. Estar con todos ellos, incluyando Mel Gibson, entre todos estos grandes actores, para mi, imaginate, que siente el rodeo de sus ídolos.

AG: Yo se que recientemente, ganaste el Ariel. Como se siente ser un ganador de un gran honor como eso?
TH: La verdad es que es muy alagador y gratificante. Al final del dia, los actores no hacemos peliculas, o no hacemos nuestro trabajo, para ganar premios, pero si de pronto te dan uno, pues que bueno. Es una deliciosa caricia elego, y ya no creo que ahora, al tener un Ariel en mis manos, lo que hace es comprometerme a un mas. La nivel de exigencia hacia a mi trabajo y hacia a si mismo, pues, tiene que aumentar y tengo que respondar a ese expectative. No que la gente se habla de mi si no lo que yo quiero hacer con mi profesion, porque amo mi carera, amo a mi trabajo, y siempre quiero hacerlo mejor.

AG: Que hay adelante para usted?
TH: Ahora estoy preparando una pelicula que se llama El Charro Misterioso. Es una pelicula Mexicana. Tambien estoy esperando algunos proyectos mas que se concreten. Esperemos que se hagan y sucedieren al final del año, pero por lo pronto, me concentro en este pelicula que es la que tengo en muyato y que ademas me gusta mucho el guión y lo que hicimos con el.

AG: Bueno, hay algo mas que crees que la gente de Houston debe saber sobre usted, la pelicula o el DVD?
TH: Con mención de la pelicula, corren a comprar el DVD, y que lo disfruten y lo recomienden. Se lo van a pasar muy bien. Un abrazo por toda la gente por allá y que se lo pasan bonito. Estarémos viendo pronto.