Eugenio Derbez continues to expand his presence in Hollywood, this time as a producer of the series Acapulco, the first bilingual television production produced by Apple TV + and which at the same time is a kind of spin-off of the blockbuster How to be a Latin Lover.
The series tells the youth of Máximo during the time when he got the job of his dreams in the exclusive resort The hills. Regardless of his mother’s advice not to go to that place, full of excesses and sin, the character meets there his mentor, his first true love and, above all, he will learn how to climb from being a waiter in the pool area to an influential millionaire.
On this occasion, Eugenio Derbez has a minimal role in front of the screen, since he only acts as a narrator and common thread of a story set in the 80s. However, his role as executive producer of the series stands out, with which he took advantage of to fight against what he considers misconceptions of Mexico abroad.
“There have been too many series that talk about narcos, drugs, criminals,” Derbez sentenced. «And abroad they also see us as the stereotype, because there are still many Americans who ask me if it is true that there are donkeys and hats. So I wanted to show a different Mexico, the other side of Mexico, the beautiful Mexico, with its music, with its colors, with its food, with how helpful we are in Latin America in general. That was the face that was important for me to show and that goes for everyone ».
Eugenio Derbez conquered Hollywood as a producer and creator in the second decade of the millennium with his film No refunds (2013), which became the most watched Spanish-language film in that territory (surpassing The Pan’s Labyrinthby Guillermo del Toro). Since then, he has produced and starred in films such as Dora and the lost city, How to be a Latin Lover and Man to water!
In an interview with the media, the actor and producer shared that when he came to work in the United States, at first the producers offered him the roles of mechanic or gardener, so he had to fight to get the role of a millionaire hobbyist , despite his Latino ancestry. When How to be a Latin Lover was beginning to take shape, the idea of making a series that told the character’s past came up.
This also presented an opportunity to change the character and give it a twist. In the series, Máximo is no longer a social climber, nor a gigolo. According to Derbez, his main conflict is to compromise those values learned at home in order to be successful. “We decided to get away from comedy a little bit to win a little more heart and make a more three-dimensional character,” the actor clarified.
The renewed Máximo in his young version is played by Enrique Arrizon, who is not new to national cinema. He has participated in series such as A strange enemy and in the film by Michel Franco The daughters of April. Nevertheless, Acapulco represents his first leading role. At his side is a cast that comes from various Spanish-speaking places, including the Colombian Camila Pérez, or the Spanish Rafael Cebrián, since one of the objectives was to show Hispanic diversity.
“It was very important for us to reflect a reality because suddenly we noticed that in Hollywood movies they make a lot of mistakes,” explains Derbez. «Suddenly you see a Mexican restaurant where they enter and in the background there is a flamenco dancer, or they are dancing tango […] they confuse Mexican culture with Spanish, with Argentine. Like everyone from the border down is Mexican. It’s very strange, the thing was to educate them and we put in a bit of representation from Latin America ».
Language, meanwhile, was another important element. Derbez points out that it is generally taken for granted in English-speaking films that English is spoken as a rule anywhere in the world. Regardless of whether the character is in China, Russia or Mexico, all the characters around share English and speak it as if it were the dominant language. On Acapulco the opposite was sought. The series defines itself as a bilingual production because the characters constantly speak English and Spanish. When they are outside the hotel, Spanish dominates, but inside Las Colinas it is English that must be adopted to establish communication with visitors.
Such visitors, in fact, are outrageous. The series shows the Acapulco glamorous from the 80s. The bay that was visited by the biggest Hollywood stars, the most influential personalities, or those members of a privileged elite who found their preferred destination to escape on the beaches of Guerrero. The production of Acapulco he built sets with specific colors and avant-garde architecture of that time and got vehicles from those years. Although several of the actors in the series did not live during the 80s, fortunately the creative team behind the cameras did and took their own childhood experiences as inspiration for creating the environment.
Camila Perez and Fernando Carsa they play Máximo’s love interest and best friend, respectively. Both twentysomethings did not experience the 80s, however, for them it was interesting, not only to enter that time capsule, but also the conception of its characters.
According to Carsa, his Memo in the script is described as a funny character with obesity, however, the comedy scenes that involve him at no point use the character’s physique as a gag. On the contrary, chapter by chapter his interests in using feminine accessories and especially in providing unconditional support to Máximo are explored. The example of the script even helped the actor accept himself as he is, during his debut role.
“That was one of the things that attracted me the most to the character,” says Fernando. «For me as an actor, as a person, this body that I have, helped me to accept myself as God brought me into the world. There are other things that make me who I am and Memo taught me to embrace those things that make me different, those things that make me special.
The ten episodes of Acapulco are available now on Apple TV.
The entry “I wanted to show a different Mexico”: Eugenio Derbez on Acapulco, Apple TV + series was first published in Cine PREMIERE.