OVERBOARD – A Review and Interview by Cynthia Flores
The star of Overboard, Eugenio Derbez, was in town to promote his new film – a remake of the well-known 1987 hit film of the same name starring real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It’s hard to believe it’s been over thirty years since that film hit big. Usually remakes just mess it all up and stomp on our childhood memories along the way, but this time they got it right.
In this version they switched the genders, now the spoiled rich person is a man, Mexican multi-millionaire and playboy extraordinaire Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) and the person that’s broke even after working two jobs and does the gaslighting to get revenge for being wronged is widow and single mom Kate (Anna Faris). As in the original, the rich are mean and petty and the poor working class keep taking it on the chin. That is until fate and Kate’s best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria) intervene. They see on the news that Leonardo has washed up on the beach with amnesia. Theresa convinces Kate that this is her chance to get even and make him earn enough to pay what he owes her. Theresa tells her husband Bobby (Mel Rodriguez) to go along with the plot and use Leonardo as a construction worker on one of his job sites. He brings in money from his work and takes over her chores with the house and kids in order to give her enough time to study for her nursing exams.
In true romcom fashion, people change and the whole thing that started out as a plot to get revenge turns them all into a real family. So, when Leonardo's real father and sisters come to get him, he has to make a choice between love and being rich.
I enjoyed sitting down at Hotel Zaza with Overboard’s star to ask him a few questions about his latest project to make him as well known here in the US as he is in Spanish speaking countries.
Hello Mr. Derbez, it’s been a year since I last spoke with you for press on your hit film How to be a Latin Lover and I still have to ask, how do you pronounce your first name correctly [Eugenio]?
I know it’s an issue, but it is such a common name in Latin America.
You say it “ea-woo-HEN-yo” you don’t have to hit it that hard it’s a soft A, aa-woo-HEN-yo.
I giggled at my inability to say is name and said, “Well I’ll just play it safe and just call you Sir.”
Sir,(He smiled wide in approval), yes that will work as well.
You look so good in this film, you are totally ripped. In your last movie you had to be a lot fatter for the role. So which one is the real you?
(this made him laugh out loud)
I'm like in the middle honestly, because you know for Latin Lover I had to gain about twenty-five pounds, I had to get a big big belly. For one I had to get rid of everything and it was a nightmare. Especially now, you know I'm not a kid anymore, so it takes triple or more than that to achieve the goal. I was on a very strict diet for 6 months eating almost nothing and exercising a lot so that was the only way. But after filming I was like “I can't continue like this it's not living” I want my life back! So right now I'm like in the middle between Leonardo and Maximo.
Why did you choose to remake such a well known film? Had you seen it before you decided to remake it?
Many times, I was a fan. I love it, I love it! I grew up watching that film. I went to the movie theaters when I was young and Goldie Hawn was my movie star crush.
I know there are a lot of people that love the original film and are waiting for this one to come out. I want them to know that I am a fan as well and for me it is an honor to be making this version. It’s not a remake but more of a homage to the original.
Is that why you chose to reverse the genders between the rich and the poor characters and make the rich one a guy this time?
The executives at MGM at first didn't like the idea they thought we were taking it too far, “It's too extreme” keep it the way it is. But I think it's funny because we got to avoid a direct comparison between Goldie and Anna and me and Kurt. Also, it’s refreshing because we're breaking the stereotypes out there of the Latino always being the poor guy. All those things. They were hesitant at first, but after they read the first draft they loved it! Also, now a days it would be kind of rude, a story about a guy kidnapping a woman to work for him would not go over so well, right? So, it feels much better now, more politically correct.
Your character Leonardo in the film is just the epitome of a spoiled rotten rich guy. Did you pattern him after anybody in particular?
(He leaned in a whispered) Yes. (He looked around as if those persons might see him saying anything about them.) I have like two or three friends that are really rich and I hope that they're not going to see this interview but they have yachts and they are exactly like Leonardo. You know they are charming but they are mean and they know how to manipulate people. And I was like, playing them for this role.
You have been quoted as saying that you are making this film with a Latino sensibility and that you want them to feel part of the mainstream. Is that why you choose to use such famous Mexican actors in the film instead of American Spanish speaking actors?
Yes it is, I wanted to have a sense of authenticity to the scenes. I wanted real Mexican actors that had Spanish as their native language to do those roles. No offence, but a Latino audience can really hear the difference. And they have thanked me for it. They have said, “Finally we see real construction workers that are from Mexico. It sounds Mexican, it doesn't sound fake.”
Also, I was so happy to introduce these new faces to the American general market. They are South America's superstars, they’re our Meryl Streep, Adam Sandler, and Robert De Niro caliber of stars.
We did some Anglo focus groups while working on the film, and I was honestly scared about the reaction to the few scenes that were in Spanish with English subtitles. And I'm not kidding, but the best scores from the film were the scenes that were in English subtitles! I was there at the screenings listening to the remarks that the test audience were making asking “Who are these people” referring to the actors that were speaking in nothing but Spanish. They really loved them.
There is less Spanish in Overboard as there was in your last film How To Be A Latin Lover.
Yes, yes there is. We wanted to keep it organic and natural so that the scenes that needed to be in Spanish (with the Mexican work crew or Leonardo's family in South America) and the English scenes (the majority of the film) were kept that way. I hate watching films that are supposed to be taking place in Russia or China or someplace like that and everyone is speaking English in the film all the time on that location. Come on, that’s not real.
And your next film doesn't have any Spanish in it at all. In fact, it's actually your first Disney film right?
Yes, I’m so excited to be in my first Disney Film. It comes out later this year in December and it’s called The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and I am playing the king of one of the realms. The other kings and queens are Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, not bad huh? I am the king of the land of flowers.
Well good luck with your current film Overboard, I think you have another hit on your hands.
Thank you I hope so, I really enjoyed making this into more of a family film.
Overboard comes out this weekend and I hope you go see it at a theater near you. I give it a solid B+ Rating.
Directed by Rob Greenberg
Written By Leslie Dixon (Story), Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg
Sewlig Rating B+
Running Time 1h 52min
Comedy / Romance
Wide Release May 4th
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris, John Hanna, Eva Longoria, Mel Rodriguez, Swoosie Kurtz
Movie Site: www.overboard.movie
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.