Kate del Castillo – Under the Same Moon

June 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Like her character in the new film “Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”), actress Kate del Castillo moved to the U.S. from Mexico City to find better opportunities. It started four years before her official relocation to Los Angeles when del Castillo earned the recurring role of Ofelia on the PBS show “American Family.”

In 2006, she made L.A. her new home and landed parts in a number of films including “Bordertown,” starring Jennifer Lopez and “Trade” alongside Kevin Kline. In her new film “Under the Same Moon,” del Castillo plays Rosario, a Mexican immigrant who moves to the U.S. to make a better life for her son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), who she has left in Mexico. When his grandmother dies, however, Carlitos begins his trek across the border to find his mother with the help of Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), a farm worker he meets along the way.

During an interview with me, del Castillo talks about taking roles in films with serious themes, immigration, and what she wants to accomplish as an actress living in L.A.

Your last three films, “Under the Same Moon,” “Trade,” and “Bordertown, have covered some serious issues – immigration, sex trafficking in Mexico, and the murders in Ciudad Juarez. What is it about these types of films that attract you to a project?

I know. I think I’m going to have to do something with Disney next time – something lighter [laughing]. I think I am very lucky to have these types of characters in my hands. I am always happy to portray someone in a world that has important issues. On the other hand, “Under the Same Moon” isn’t really a story about immigration. It’s more of a story about love between a mother and a son and all the struggles they go through because they want to be together. I think it’s a movie to feel good about.

Does “Under the Same Moon” hit on a person level for you at all?

In a way it did because I am part of these immigrants. I am like [my character] because she leaves everything behind to find something better. Her instincts are telling her what to do. I have no kids. It’s only me but I left behind my family and my name in a way and my position as a celebrity in Latin America to find something different.

What has been the major difference between having an acting career in Mexico City and having one in Los Angeles?

I was working already so it wasn’t that hard to find something to do. I was already shooting the TV series “American Family” for PBS. As soon as I came to America it was really good. I feel really happy to be doing what I want to do.

Why do you think so many people risk their lives coming to this country instead of getting a work visa to come here?

Because they want to have a job. The problem is we shouldn’t want to leave our country. It is a political issue in Mexico that has been there forever. We don’t have enough jobs and opportunities in Mexico. People would rather risk their lives than be in the same position forever.

The statistic that stood out to me from this film is that 4 million women have left at least one child behind in Mexico to come work in the U.S. What do you think about these women that are coming to the U.S. to work for a better life for their children?

They are looking to be better in one way or another. They are trying to have a better life for their loved ones. They want to improve themselves. I really can’t judge all these women. You have to live in their life in order to be able to understand.

“Under the Same Moon” is really a heartwarming story. I think a lot of that comes from actor Adrian Alonso, who plays your son. Talk to me about this young talent and what he brought to the film.

He’s such a great actor. He is so professional and disciplined. I feel very lucky to be working with him. I think he reflects everything the director [Patricia Riggen] wanted to show in this role. I was there for him. He was there for me. The only scene we have together is the scene where he imagines me in the bed with him, which is one of my favorite scenes. It’s really powerful.

Now in Los Angeles, what do you want to prove as an actress?

As an actor you want to do every single character that is available to you so you can do your craft. As long as it’s a good project with good people around it, I’ll be happy to do whatever.

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.