Edgar Ramirez and Ana de Armas costar in Jonathan Jakubowicz‘s Hands of Stone, a biopic about Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran.

Hands Of Stone Exclusive Video

In Hands of Stone, Ramirez plays Duran, while Armas plays his wife, Felicidad Iglesias. The film follows Duran’s rise from the streets of Panama to winning the welterweight title in 1980, beating fellow legend Sugar Ray Leonard, played in Hands of Stone by Usher.  In a rematch against Leonard in November 1980, Duran memorably forfeited his welterweight title, reportedly saying, “No mas” halfway through the eighth round, knowing that he was likely to lose. Duran recovered from the loss and continued to be a force in the ring until his retirement in 2002 at the age of 50.

While working on Hands of Stone, Ramirez and Armas were fortunate enough to get to know Duran and Iglesias, who helped them get into their roles.

“They just opened their doors and lives and secrets and very intimate stories and that’s the best you can ask for when you’re doing a portrayal of someone who’s still alive,” Armas explained in an exclusive interview with uInterview. “That they give you everything they have, that’s all you can ask for. So, more than the advice, I think it was just the support and the love that is used playing me.”

Ramirez added, “[Ana] would cook with Felicidad and we would sit down and eat and just share time with them and with the family. That’s how we were picking up all these layers, all these traits and little details to build the characters.”

Ramirez also had a lot of work to do when it came to the boxing aspect of getting into character. According to Armas, “He didn’t even know how to punch a bag,” but Ramirez doggedly trained to get that part of playing the revered athlete right, which his costar admired. “Just to see his transformation and his becoming not just a boxer but Durån, we were so lucky,” Armas explained. “He just got the moves, he got the energy, he got the spirit and he was beautiful. We were walking down the street and everyone was pointing at him, ‘That was exactly what Durån looked like! He’s the Cholo!’”

One of the through lines in Hands of Stone is Duran’s relationship with Iglesias, his childhood sweetheart who remains at his side to this day.

They’ve been together for over 40 years. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks and he was basically somehow educated by his wife,” Ramirez explained. “I mean, Felicidad taught him how to behave in society and how to be sensitive, and when he lost everything she was the only one who stood by him.”

Hands of Stone is currently in theaters.


Q: What was it like working with Roberto Durån and Felicidad Iglesias? -

[Ana]: They were very involved in the project; it was not like a...Well, to me, maybe Edgar gave more advice.

[Edgar]: Same thing, I mean Durån trained me for the film and he was involved, but I guess it’s true what you’re saying…

[Ana]: It’s not just the advice, they just opened their doors and lives and secrets and very intimate stories and that’s the best you can ask for when you’re doing a portrayal of someone who’s still alive. That they give you everything they have, that’s all you can ask for. So, more than the advice, I think it was just the support and the love that is used playing me. So, for me that was the best part.

[Edgar]: Yeah, they’re not really intellectuals. It’s not that we sat down and we each interviewed them, we just spent time with them. They would cook for us, actually. [Ana] would cook with Felicidad and we would sit down and eat and just share time with them and with the family. That’s how we were picking up all these layers, all these traits and little details to build the characters, and the same thing when I was training with Durån. Of course there were certain techniques and things that he taught me, but it’s not that he sat down and said, ‘This is my life, this is our life,’ it was more organic than that. Which, actually, I think that it really informed and it’s in tune with the type of movie that it is. It’s a very emotional movie and they’re really emotional people.

Q: How did Edgar train to portray a world-renowned professional boxer? -

[Ana]: I saw Edgar through the whole process; from the beginning when he didn’t even know how to punch a bag—

[Edgar]: Even if somebody was holding it in front of me.

[Ana]: Yeah, it was ridiculous. But, it was a beautiful thing to see. I mean, Edgar is such a strong actor and so disciplined. Just to see his transformation and his becoming not just a boxer but Durån, we were so lucky. He had the real trainers from when Durån was younger and Durån’s sons and he just got the moves, he got the energy, he got the spirit and he was beautiful. We were walking down the street and everyone was pointing at him, ‘That was exactly what Durån looked like! He’s the Cholo!’ The whole of Panama was so embracing. I did my best, I threw water and towels, helped him with his stretches.

[Edgar]: She walked on my stomach. Normally, they do it with flyweights or with the featherweights. When you’re training, lighter boxers walk on another boxer’s stomach just to make them stronger, when you’re doing your abs. In this case it was nicer because it was Ana who was walking on my stomach. It was really cool, it was a really intimate process. We were really all together working very closely and that was beautiful; one of those movies where everything was very intimate

Q: What is the secret to their long-lasting relationship? -

[Ana]: I think because they chose each other, I mean when they met Durån was a street boy, he had no manners, he was illiterate, like he was a savage. Felicidad was in a middle/upper class family and she was definitely not supposed to get involved with this guy and her family would’ve never approved that relationship. But, they just made it happen, and she knew what she was getting into. It was true love.

[Edgar]: It still is, I mean they’re together. They’ve been together for over 40 years. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks and he was basically somehow educated by his wife. I mean, Felicidad taught him how to behave in society and how to be sensitive, and when he lost everything she was the only one who stood by him.

[Ana]: She was not even next to the ring or in the training process or anything, she doesn’t like that. She was at home doing something else, used to call people who was at the fight like ‘How is that going? Okay, good.’ She wasn’t able to stay close to the ring. She didn’t want to see that. So, it was definitely true love.