Eugenio Derbez on ‘How To Be A Latin Lover… by Uinterview

While Eugenio Derbez has many fans through out the world, fans in the U.S. may be unfamiliar with the Mexican film and television mogul. But this unfamiliarity won’t last for long as Derbez has found, what he believes to be, the perfect vehicle for his American crossover.

“I discovered there was this stereotype for the ‘Latin Lover.’ I realized there was something funny there. It’s like an international icon,” Derbez told uInterview exclusively. He is the producer and star of the new film, How to Be a Latin Lover.

In the movie, Maximo (Derbez) is an aging gigolo, who has found stability with a wealthy, older woman for the past 25 years. Unfortunately, she kicks him out after falling for a younger man. Maximo now has to reconcile with his age and his family (Salma Hayek) in order to get his life back together and to potentially score another wealthy woman (Raquel Welch).

But Maximo’s outrageous characteristics and extreme vanity are not necessarily all in the way of a gag.

Said Derbez, “The best way to break down a stereotype is to make fun of it.”

While breaking down this stereotype, Derbez found that he doesn’t necessarily share the same confidence the character exudes. In Latin Lover, Maximo is completely blind to his aging body and growing belly, and still trounces around in a yellow speedo by the pool. Derbez, who had to gain over 20 pounds for the role, found wearing the revealing speedo a little more nerve racking than his fictional counterpart.

“It was really embarrassing in real life to wear that speedo and walk through that pool full of beautiful women,” Derbez said. “It was really embarrassing!”

Luckily, Derbez was flanked by actors he made real connections with throughout the film – Hayek plays Maximo’s sister and Rob Lowe plays his best friend.

Derbez and Hayek, who like Derbez is from Mexico, have known each other for thirty years but Latin Lover marks the first time they have worked together.

Derbez was pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t know that she was that funny and that she was that relaxed and I enjoyed Salma as never before, really,” he said.

“We discovered each other and we realized that we have a lot of chemistry.”

The same can be said for Derbez’s perception of Lowe. “For me, it was another discovery because he is really, really, funny!”

“I was always making fun of him, I was telling him, ‘Wait! You have to leave me something! You’re handsome, you’re famous, you’re rich, and you’re funny! The funny guy is me!’”

How to Be a Latin Lover hits theaters April 28. The film also stars Kristen Bell and Rob Corddry.


Q: Why were you interested in playing the ‘Latin Lover?’ -

Because when I came here I was trying to look for a vehicle for the crossover and I discovered that there was this stereotype for the Latin Lover. For example, every time I was wearing a tuxedo, here in the U.S. all of the Anglos were like you look like a Latin Lover, I realized that there was something funny there. It’s like an international icon, Latin Lover is something you can understand no matter where or when, if you were born in America or France or Mexico everyone knows what a Latin Lover is, so that’s why we chose that. The best way to break down a stereotype is to make fun of it. So that’s why we decided to go for the Latin Lover.

Q: What is your favorite scene in the film? -

There are many. The pool scene, it’s really hilarious. I don’t want to spoil it in case you haven’t watched it but that is a very funny scene. It’s funny because I had to gain weight, like 22 pounds for the role because they wanted me with a big belly because the movie is about and aging Latin Lover. So they asked me to wear a tiny, yellow speedo. Supposedly when Maximo is young he looks great in a speedo. Actually, my son plays that role and he is really fit and he is really handsome and then 25 years later, me, playing Maximo. He is not aware that he is aging and that he is already old and fat. But he is not aware. So he goes and he buys a yellow speedo and he wears this yellow speedo when he is almost fifty and has this big belly. So it was really embarrassing in real life to wear that speedo and walk through that pool full of beautiful women. It was really embarrassing!

Q: What was it like to work with Salma Hayek? -

We’ve known each other for the last thirty years but we never worked together so this is the first time working together. We discovered each other and we realized that we have a lot of chemistry. You just watch the movie and you can tell that we have a lot of chemistry. But I didn’t know that she was that funny and that she was that relaxed and I enjoyed Salma as never before, really. This is one of her best works in a comedy because of that. She feels relaxed and we’re like real brother and sister in real life.

Q: What was the best moment on set with Rob Lowe? -

When we were talking about Rob Lowe I didn’t expect that he was going to be that funny. I knew him for being the dramatic actor, the bad guy, or the handsome guy, but never for being the funny guy. And for me, it was another discovery because he is really, really, funny! And he has a comedic timing that is amazing so it was a surprise to me to see this. I was always making fun of him, I was telling him, “Wait! You have to leave me something! You’re handsome, you’re famous, you’re rich, and you’re funny! The funny guy is me! You have everything in life!”