Cine Latino covers, well, all things relating to Latino culture and the movies, every Friday.
Interview: Director Rodrigo Cortés, on creating characters for A-List stars
Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés devoted more than a year and a half to the study of paranormal phenomena before shooting Red Lights, currently in theaters, which stars Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro. Weaver and Murphy play top paranormal researchers who set out to discredit a powerful psychic (De Niro).
I got the opportunity to chat with Cortés, who surprisingly admitted he doesn’t believe in ghosts or the paranormal.
"I don’t believe in any. In the sense that I’m not interested in believing, I’m interested in understanding. So if you asked me if I believed in the supernatural, I would say no because I don’t believe there is anything beyond nature. I don’t think nature can be transcended," said Cortés. "I investigated both sides and at the end they behaved in a very similar way, in the sense that they accepted everything that confirmed their previous position and they tended to reject everything that put their beliefs at risk, which means that at the end of the day we believe in only what we wish to believe."
This is the first time Cortés has written a character with an actor in mind. He wrote Dr. Margaret Matheson specifically for Sigourney Weaver.
"I’ve never written a character for someone. I just focus on creating compelling concepts with complex psychologies and contradictions and try to make them believable and three dimensional. Once you know your character you try to look for the best and the most accurate actor for that character," explained Cortes. "In this case, I started to write this character about a very strong woman with a very sharp intelligence, humor and this sexy quality and in two days the face of Sigourney Weaver started to appear so I ended up writing for her, which is very risky because it doesn’t guarantee you a yes but it guarantees you a serious problem if she says no. Thank god she said yes."
Cortés, who achieved international success after directing Buried, says his newfound fame isn’t guaranteed and that his success doesn’t mean he’s focusing on casting big names.
"Maybe it will end here, too," says Cortés of his success. "You never know. Your goal is not to get bigger and bigger. It’s never about getting bigger actors but about having the best and most accurate actor for a character. Sometimes the best actor for a certain role is someone unknown, in other cases, like for Simon Silver [played by De Niro], I wanted a legend, a giant so that when everyone saw him they immediately understood, 'Ok, this is the greatest psychic ever.'"
Video: Nestor Carbonell, on being the Mayor of Gotham
Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Dark Knight Rises is finally in theaters, making its way to the big screen with a few familiar faces, including that of Nestor Carbonell. The actor, of Cuban and Spanish descent, closes the trilogy as the Mayor of Gotham City. Forward the video to :45 seconds to find out what Carbonell told us at the New York premiere of Dark Knight Rises.
New documentary highlights Dominican dominance in baseball
Dominicans are consistently overrepresented in the Major Leagues, and for the first time a compelling documentary captures the world of Major League Baseball training camps in the tiny island of the Dominican Republic. Ballplayer: Pelotero directors Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin and Jonathan Paley set out to answer what they thought would be a simple question: "Why are Dominicans so good at baseball?" But they soon realized that their simple question had a very complex answer that had to do more with a highly nuanced system struggling with its own identity.
"The Dominican system is one of stark contradictions. It’s institutionalized yet independent. A free market, yet frequently manipulated. It is a system where integrity and corruption are interchangeable tactics in the pursuit of the country’s top players," expressed the filmmakers while promoting the film. "Pelotero sheds light on some of the most pressing issues regarding the export of Dominican baseball players to the U.S."
Narrated by John Leguizamo, Pelotero is out in theaters. Check out the trailer below.
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