'Charlie's Angel' Star Luis Gerardo Mendez Talks Kristen Stewart's 'Coolness' and Elizabeth Banks 'Intelligence'
- Created: Friday, 15 November 2019 20:46
- Published: Friday, 15 November 2019 21:20
Like Salma Hayek, Eugenio Derbez, Diego Luna, Demian Bichir, Eiza Gonzalez and others, Mexican actor Luis Gerardo Mendez is hoping to translate his Mexican stardom into Hollywood. Mendez is starring in yet another reboot of the CHARLIE’S ANGELS franchise directed by Elizabeth Banks with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott (ALADDIN 2019) and Ella Balinska as the undercover angels. Mendez credits Elizabeth Banks with updating the franchise to reflect female empowerment in the #MeToo era, and he's referring to Kristen Stewart as the "coolest person" he's ever met.
Mendez's first Hollywood role was in Adam Sandler's Netflix movie, MURDER MYSTERY. Already a Netflix star with his highly-praised Spanish series, "Club de Cuervos," which he also executive produced, he's in Hollywood to not only star but produce his own projects. Next he's starring and producing, HALF-BROTHERS for Focus Features. He tells CineMovie that he's still learning the ways and protocols on how Hollywood works but he's also looking to change how Mexicans and Latinos in general are portrayed.
In CHARLIE'S ANGELS, Mendez inhabits the role of a guru named "The Saint." He's grateful that his second role in an English-language film is a positive one. He says part of his mission in Hollywood is to expand the view of Latinos in television and movies.
"That's my personal mission," says the actor. "With that in mind, I like what we've been doing. In MURDER MYSTERY, I'm a Formula 1 race car driver, in this [Charlie's Angels], I'm a shaman hipster and in HALF BROTHERS - a successful business man. Not only should we be grateful for the representation that we have in film, but what characters are we doing? I want to see those types of people. I want me to be represented as how we are as Mexicans and Latinos. We're writers, artists, entrepreneurs and parents, not just drug dealers. We're also that but one percent in reality."
When asked if he often has to correct Hollywood people about their view of Mexicans and Latinos, he replies, "all the time." He adds that people like himself who come to Tinseltown often have to do so as directors and writers.
Being in CHARLIE'S ANGELS has special meaning for the actor/producer who calls the experience "surreal and emotional." As a fan of the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movies with Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz while in high school in Mexico, he was also aware of the television show through his parents who were big fans.
The 2019 iteration of the franchise is much different, he promises, thanks to director and star Elizabeth Banks who he calls "intelligent" and skilled at comedy.
"When I read the script, it was clear she was going to turn things on its head in the sense that it's a film with a message and a voice of female empowerment, much more sophisticated than the previous versions," says the 37-year-old.
Working on a set that mainly comprised of women in front and behind the camera, Mendez says there was a "distinct energy" that helped make the production feel "tranquil" and "relaxed." He'd welcome more of that environment.
"I do think we're in a time to facilitate and open more opportunities and doors for women in an industry that's largely been masculine for many years."
While on set, one actor left quite the impression on him.
"Kristen Stewart is one of the most coolest human beings I've ever met," he says of the actress. "She's got this coolness that's overwhelming."
As for his other CHARLIE'S ANGEL costars, he describes Ella Balinska a "ninja" for her combat skills, and Naomi Scott as someone with some serious comedy chops.
Suffice it to say, he hopes there will be more opportunities to work with these talented actors and director.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS is now playing in movie theaters.