Adrian Alonso – Under the Same Moon

June 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

He matched swords with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2005 and went on a dangerous journey across the border this year to find Kate de Castillo… all before his 14th birthday.

Meet actor Adrian Alonso. Those small in stature, Alonso has done some big things in the entertainment industry in the last five years. Born in Mexico City, Alonso started his professional career when he earned a role in the Telemundo novela “El alma herida” in 2003. The following year, he had a small part in Luis Mandoki’s drama “Voces inocentes,” which was set in El Salvador in the 1980s.

Alonso got his break when he was cast as Zorro’s son Joaquin in the sequel “The Legend of Zorro.” His most memorable performance, however, came this year when he starred opposite Castillo in “Under the Same Moon” (“La misma luna”). In the film, Alonso plays Carlitos, a young Mexican boy who leaves his home to find his mother, who has moved to the U.S. to work as a housekeeper.

In March, Alonso won a Young Artist Award for his role in the film, which was just released on DVD this week. He spoke with me about his experience making such a well-received movie.

What has changed in your life since “La misma luna” premiered?

Everything has changed. I have new projects. I like that people recognize me. Life has changed.

Would you ever move to Los Angeles to pursue more work as an actor?

Right now I don’t want to move to Los Angeles. I love Mexico.

How does school work for you when you’re making a movie?

I check with school first to see if it’s okay that I miss class for work. If they let me, I go film a movie. After that, I’ll study so I can get good grades.

Do your parents give you advice?

My parents give me very typical advice: not to do bad things and not to have bad habits and to focus on my career.

What about other actors? Do they talk to you about what a career in acting will be like?

Everybody gives me advice. I learn something from everybody.

What has been your favorite part about promoting “La misma luna?”

I really liked going to New York City and San Diego. I like to travel everywhere.

Do you feel like a 14-year-old?

I feel the same. I feel normal. I feel like a boy.

What do you hope people learn when they see “La Misma Luna?”

I hope they reflect and see that family should be unified. People shouldn’t be alone. The mother [in “La misma luna”] and the moon do not have limits, so why should we?

Under the Same Moon

March 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Kate del Castillo, Adrian Alonso, Eugino Derbez
Directed by: Patricia Riggen (debut)
Written by: Ligiah Villalobos (“One World”)

It would be easy to say that “Under the Same Moon” places a spotlight on the immigration issues the U.S. and Mexico are dealing with today, but that’s not all it does. The film follows Carlitos (Alonso), a young boy who journeys across the border to find his mother who has moved to Los Angeles to work for a better life for her and her son.

There is, however, more to this tender drama than talking about border fences, amnesty, and working visas. According to director Patricia Riggen, four million immigrant women leave at least one child behind to come to the U.S. to work. “Under the Same Moon” embraces all the love, sacrifice, heartbreak, and frustration behind this universal story. As a first-time director, it is amazing to see the courage and distinctive style Riggen has injected into the film.

When Carlitos’s grandmother passes away in Mexico, he sets off to reunite with his beautiful mother Rosario (del Castillo) who is earning money as a cleaning lady in L.A. Unfamiliar with the new world he has entered when he crosses the border, Carlitos develops a friendship with Enrique (Derbez), an undocumented worker who initially doesn’t like the idea of a little kid following him around everywhere.

But who can say no to someone as endearing as Carlitos? As the young lead character, Alonso is miraculous. If you don’t recognize him, he played the son of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2005’s “The Legend of Zorro.” Here, he steals every single scene he is in, which is basically all of them. As he and Enrique make their way to California together, the bond that they share is humorous and memorable.

As Rosario, del Castillo provides the best performance of her new-found American career. Known mostly for her work as an actress in Mexico (she stared in telenovelas such as “Azul” and “El derecho del nacer”), del Castillo’s emotions run high to portray this strong and dedicated mother. Unlike her last film, “Trade,” which felt misguided and phony, “Moon” is beautifully written by Ligiah Villalobos, who’s only other work has come from her TV scripts for “Go Diego Go!” Her debut as a feature screenwriter, however, is impressive.

It’s no surprise why “Under the Same Moon” received a standing ovation at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Along with the effective music provided by Los Tigres del Norte (their song “Superman es un ilegal,” which compares a Mexican immigrant to the superhero, is great), the film is a celebration of life, family and the pursuit of happiness.