The Big Picture
- Director Ángel Manuel Soto prioritized authentic representation in Blue Beetle, by hiring Mexican actors and incorporating Mexican aspects into the story.
- The talented cast, including Xolo Maridueña, Adriana Barraza, Damián Alcázar, and Harvey Guillén, brings their own experiences and diverse backgrounds to the film.
- Blue Beetle aims to address real-world issues that affect Latinx communities, such as displacement, colonialism, gentrification, and home insecurity.
When it comes to representation, there are a lot of ways that it can be done in movies and TV. What’s become clear throughout the years, however, is that the best approach is to listen to members of the culture you’re going to represent and make them actively involved in the process. That’s what director Ángel Manuel Soto strived to do in DC’s new blockbuster Blue Beetle. In an interview with Collider, the filmmaker explained how he managed to make the movie overflowing with Latinx culture.
In the interview, Soto told our Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub that, for him, it was essential that Mexico was at the core of Blue Beetle. In order to write a love letter to Latinx culture, the director had to find people who could incorporate Mexican aspects even to the tiniest details of the story. Then, it was just a matter of finding themes that felt universal:
“One of the things that we wanted to do, first of all, was hire Mexican actors – not just Mexican Americans, but also go to Mexico and get the best stars from Mexico for this movie, like Damián Alcázar or Adriana Barraza. They bring their own authentic experiences to the movie, and that helps a lot to inform the conditions we want to put the Reyes family in. We want the Reyes family to live in a world that affects their environment, that affects their decisions. Like for example, in my case, from Puerto Rico – displacement, colonialism, gentrification. Those are things that are real threats, home insecurity, not putting food on the table, proper health care. All those things that are our villains.”
Blue Beetle Champions Beloved Mexican and Mexican-American Actors
The hiring of Mexican talent didn’t mean that audiences would be completely oblivious to who’s on the screen, though: Xolo Maridueña became a household name after starring in the massively popular martial arts series Cobra Kai, in which he has been an integral part of all seasons. Adriana Barraza is an acclaimed and incredibly eclectic actor that has earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Babel and also starred in high profile movies such as Drag Me to Hell and Thor.
Damián Álcazar rose to prominence with The Crime of Padre Amaro and starred in Narcos and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Last but not least, Harvey Guillén often becomes a fan-favorite with his characters, especially in the beloved comedy series What We Do in the Shadows and horror-comedy Werewolves Within. Guillén also did voice work for Harley Quinn and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
Blue Beetle is now in theaters You can watch our full interview with Ángel Manuel Soto below.
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