By Jack Rico
Looks like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will Smith’s wife, will produce and star in the Latin dance movie ‘Salsa‘ with Cuban heartthrob William Levy. I knew it would not take that long for Pinkett-Smith to do a project dealing with the Latin culture. In all my interviews with her she has expressed her immense love for the Spanish language and the Latino culture. Heck, she has spoken to us in Spanish in various junkets including the one for ‘Madagascar 3’. But it should not be a surprise to people close to her since Will has been speaking Spanish for over a decade (check out both videos below of the Smith’s speaking Spanish to us).
According to Deadline.com, ‘Salsa,’ Pinkett-Smith stars as a woman at a turning point in her life who meets a salsa teacher (Levy). Through the dance of salsa she begins to get her life back on track.
As I read the premise, it is tough not to immediately think of a similar storyline called ‘Shall We Dance‘ starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, but in reverse, though the original film was based on the Japanese movie “Shall we dansu?” from director Masayuki Suo and had to do with ballroom dancing.
Another, let’s call it coincidence, is the principal title. ‘Salsa‘ is actually the name of a 1988 movie starring Robi Draco Rosa, the ex-Menudo who currently has a new album out called VIDA, about a fatherless Puerto Rican named Rico (like me) who is a menial car mechanic by day, but lives for the nights, when he dances and dates hot dancing girls, cockily convinced he is the salsa king. Watching that movie was a crime against humanity, but perhaps Pinkett-Smith will expunge those images from the crevices of my brain with her new take on salsa movies.
This little trip down memory lane also reminds me of Chayanne‘s 1998 dance effort ‘Dance with Me‘ starring Vanessa Williams. That was slightly better simply because the dancing sequences evoked some interest and awe.
Nevertheless, no one has really been able to pull off a great salsa movie and perhaps Mrs. Jada will be the one to do it.
William Levy whose breakout performance in ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ earned him a rabid female fanbase, a potential crossover career and a cover on People magazine, seems like the perfect co-star to Pinkett-Smith. With his danicng skills and Latin culture being at an all time high in this country, ‘Salsa’ could be a hit.