By Jack Rico
Just last week, Variety announced that NBC Chairman and President Ben Silverman was going to executive produce the biopic of ‘Cantinflas,’ the most famous comedian in Mexico’s history. Since not much was said, we had to get in contact with Jay Weisleder, a 34 year old Costa Rican Jewish producer and brainchild behind bringing the comedian’s life to the big screen, to expand on the details of the project.
We called him on his cell phone while he was in Los Angeles and here’s what we were able to obtain and print on record:
– The lead for the film is unknown and they will not be looking for potential lead actors until Alejandro Monteverde, the co-writer and director, finishes developing the script. Four years ago they had in mind Diego Luna, Wilmer Valderrama, John Leguizamo and Gael Garcia Bernal to play the role. When we probed Weisleder about Leguizamo, he said he saw ‘Paraiso Travel’ and enjoyed his performance in it and that he would love to sit with him and other potential candidates in the near future. His criteria, though not strict, has him nailing down a Mexican actor which is why we think he is leaning towards Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. Since Gael is the stronger actor of the two, we’ll assume he’s their #1 desired candidate. On the female front, Natalie Portman, Rachel McAdams, Scarlett Johansson are being thought of as possible co-stars.
– The synopsis has been a kept secret from the press due to the delicate, sensitive nature of the script. We were conveyed the whole plot line, but were asked, off the record, to not print any verbiage of it. What we can tell you is that most of the story will be focused around two characters and a possible third one, a female. It will also explore self discovery, responsibility, a coming of age theme and an intense family transgression. As soon as we get the ok, we will posting up more info about the film in the upcoming weeks.
– The movie will be spoken in Spanish with some scenes in English and they’ll be shooting for a 2010 Mexican/US production release under, perhaps, a Universal Pictures distribution.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cantinflas’ work, here’s a snippet of his acting from ‘Around the World in 80 Days’
We want to get more of your feedback on the casting process and see if you have better ideas on who should be playing Cantinflas. Stay webbed!