'Ladrones' (2015)-Latinos in Hollywood "Exclusive Interview"

Ladrones’ (2015) PG-13, 98 min. The action-comedy is about two robbers who are like contemporary Robin Hoods and form a band of people to steal back their land grants from a businesswoman and her clan. The film is distributed by Pantelion Films (a joint venture between Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Televisa.) ‘Ladronesopens in theaters on October 9th at almost 400 screens nationwide. The movie is directed by Joe Menendez and written by Jon Molerio and is a sequel to Menendez's earlier work "Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón” that came out in 2007 via Lionsgate. ‘Ladrones’ (2015) has a sensational cast that features the Televisa star Fernando Colunga as the Latino Robin Hood character “Alejandro Toledo,” and the mega Mexican soap-opera star Eduardo Yanez.

Pantelion films has been targeting the radical grow of the U.S Hispanic market who are devoted moviegoers fans.

“In the first film legendary thieves Alejandro Toledo (Fernando Colunga) and Emilio Sánchez (Miguel Varoni) took down an infomercial guru who was taking advantage of Latino immigrants.  Following that successful heist, the modern day Robin Hoods left their lives of crime for a more civilian life where Sanchez joined the FBI and Toledo became a businessman.   ‘Ladrones” sees Toledo return to his do-gooder robbing roots, and although Sanchez can’t quite commit to helping out, he introduces Toledo to the hilariously skilled Santiago Guzmán (Eduardo Yáñez) to help him with the mission of a lifetime.  Their goal?  The two must work to reclaim land stolen from a hard working community by a ruthless family of crooks led by a beautiful but lethal diva.  Action and comedy ensues as Toledo and Guzman recruit their new team of “Robin Hoods” to perform the biggest heist of their careers and save the future of an entire town.”

Joe Menendez has spent time in Texas directing episodes from Robert Rodriguez’s  “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” and he has became familiar with Texas’s stories where people are still trying to claim their land. ‘Ladrones’ has American style humor and the movie is mostly in Spanish and has a very diverse Hispanic cast from Mexico, Cuba, and Dominican Republic that includes Jessica Lindsey, Cristina Rodlo, Óscar Torre, Vadhir Derbéz, Miguel Varoni, Evelyna Rodriguez, Frank Perozo, Carmen Beato, and Nashla Bogaert. The theme of reclaiming “stolen” land has remained strong. Land claims in South Texas have sparked lawsuits for decades, mainly among Anglo families, and many of them have resulted in financial settlements.One popular banner reads: “If you think I’m illegal because I’m a Mexican, learn the true history because I’m in my homeland.”

Yenis Monterrey Exclusive Interview with the Director of ‘Ladrones’ (2015) Joe Menendez.

Yenis Monterrey.-Pantelion Films sets a date for ‘Ladrones,’  a comedy sequel to the film ‘Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón” produced in 2007 that features the pairing of leading Televisa stars Fernando Colunga and Eduardo Yanez who are big stars in the Latino Market.  What can you tell me about this film set to be released on October 9th and about the cast?

Joe Menendez.- “All Spanish language films are typically imported from Mexico or Spain or Latin America, but my idea along with the writer Jon Molerio, was: why not make an American movie, but in Spanish. The idea being: we structure the script like an American movie (in the case of ‘Ladrones,’ an action comedy), we write American-style jokes, and then my job during shooting would be to keep the rhythm of each scene and the performances all American. But do all of this in Spanish. I was born in New York City, I’m an American, so I wouldn’t know how to make a foreign film if I tried.  I only know how to make an American movies. So even though ‘Ladrones’ is mostly in Spanish, it’s very much a classic Hollywood popcorn movie, made American style. It’s what I know.”

Yenis Monterrey.-The Hispanic moviegoers are excited to watch two of their favorites TV stars on the big screen. This new Hollywood blockbuster will bring a lot of action and comedy to U.S. moviegoers and especially to the hispanic community who grew up with Telenovelas (Soap Operas).  What motivated Pantelion, a joint venture between Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Televisa to bring the sequel to the big screen?

Joe Menendez.- “We’d been talking about a sequel for a long time, but schedules never permitted it happening. But finally, the stars aligned and Paul Presburger and Jim McNamara (CEO and Chairman of Pantelion respectively) wanted to make it, so Jon and I came up with the story and built it around these two wonderful actors—who are the closest things we have today to classic movie stars in the traditional sense. Colunga and Yanez are men’s men —  they have great presence whenever they’re on screen.”

Yenis Monterrey.- Hispanics have became one of Hollywood’s most important audiences that  are indisputably on the rise and we know Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States.  Their passion for movies is unsurpassed. As a result, movie studios, publicity firms, talent agencies, and theater chains are all catering to the growing Hispanic audience like never before. What do you think about all the changes happening in Hollywood and what are you bringing to the table to make a difference with ‘Ladrones’?

Joe Menendez.- ”I've been around “Latino” Hollywood, if you will, since 1993. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t — and I’ve seen why it hasn’t worked. I can write an entire book on the subject, and maybe I will one day. The desire to make movies and TV shows for Latinos has existed ever since I arrived in LA over 20 years ago, but the biggest difference I’ve seen in just the last 10 years (where real strides have been made) is that studios are entrusting a specific generation of filmmakers with opportunities to show what they can do. Amongst them is Robert Rodriguez, and everything he’s done with his films of course and now recently with his El Rey Network, thanks to TV shows like “From Dusk Till Dawn”, which I’ve had the privilege of directing four episodes on the first two season. I took a page from what Robert is doing, and applied it to ‘Ladrones’—making entertainment that appeals to all audiences, but just happens to have Latinos in it and perhaps a Latino perspective or two. But the movie or series has to be accessible, universally themed and most important: entertaining. That’s what I set out to do with ‘Ladrones’—make a movie that an audience can sit back with some popcorn, and escape and laugh and have a great time, whether you speak Spanish or not.”

Yenis Monterrey Review.- If you want to explore the theme of the Texas land disputes between the Mexican rancheros and the Anglo settlers. ‘Ladrones’ is the most amusing film to watch with the whole family. It’s PG-13 and the old and young will have a blast learning about old days. This film sends a positive message to Hispanics, the nation’s largest minority group who are a quickly expanding demographic that faces a growing window of opportunity today. 

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