Actor and comedian Eugenio Derbez isn’t going to lie to you. After 48 years on this planet, he still doesn’t know much about the way women operate.
“It’s getting worse,” said Derbez during a phone interview with me to discuss his most recent comedy “No eres tú soy yo.” “As much as men try to learn anything about women it doesn’t ever work. It’s hard to understand each other.”
In “No eres tú, soy yo” (“It’s Not You It’s Me”), which was the highest grossing Mexican film in 2010, Derbez’s character Javier falls into a deep depression when his relationship ends with the woman he loves (Alejandra Barros).
During our interview, Derbez, who is originally from Mexico City and best know for his comedy roles on Spanish TV (“La familia P. Luche”), talked about one of his earliest heartbreaks as a teenager and what it was like for him to have to find the emotions to cry on cue.
Is the excuse “It’s not you it’s me” valid for someone to use when breaking up with a significant other?
Not at all. (Laughs) Sometimes people use these kinds of lines when they want to break up – “It’s not you it’s me,” or “You’re too good for me” or “I love you, but only as a friend.” They’re cowardly phrases to break up with someone. I’ve been through these types of situations many times. I think everyone has been dumped or has dumped somebody else before.
Has there been a specific breakup you can say has hurt more than all the rest?
Yeah, when I was young my first girlfriend was so mean. She was always cheating on me. She would be with me for a week and then the next week she would be with another guy. She was always giving me excuses. She would break up with me every week.
Even though breakups can be depressing, a film like “No eres tú, soy yo” finds the comedy in these situation, right?
Yeah, you will laugh a lot. As much as my character is crying and suffering, people can still laugh. It’s crazy how it works.
Since you are a comedian, were those emotional scenes difficult for you?
I had to go back and take acting lessons to remember which emotional buttons I had to push. It was hard for me to portray a character who has to be depressed 80 percent of the time on screen. It was hard to cry for two months straight.
In the Latino culture, guys can be hesitant to show those kinds of emotions. Is that your personality in real life?
I’m very sensitive. I go to the movies and I always cry. In the middle of the movie I’ll be like, “[makes crying noises].” The male Latin audience is not used to showing their feelings. We’ve been told not to cry ever. Men don’t cry. It’s very hard for Latin men to cry in front of people, but not in my case.
So, now I have to ask you what is the last movie you saw that made you cry?
Oh, my God. It was mine, “No eres tú, soy yo.” Also, another of my movies, “Under the Same Moon,” made me cry at every single screening – eight times. Eight!
This year, you’re going to be starring in the Adam Sandler movie “Jack and Jill.” What was the experience like working with a comedian like him?
It was awesome working with him. He is such a great guy. I was a big fan of Adam and now that I know him as a human being, I’m more than a fan. He was always very kind to me. It was a great experience working with him and with Katie Holmes.