Eva Longoria also called on Hollywood to make films for Latino audiences since they represent 28% of all ticket buyers.
During her Kering Women in Motion talk at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, Longoria opened up about the pressure she felt directing her first film as a Latino woman. Per Variety, she said she “felt the weight of my community” and “the weight of every female director” while working on her directorial debut, Flamin’ Hot.
“We don’t get a lot of bites at the apple,” Longoria said while noting that there’s a bigger margin of error afforded to white male directors. “My movie wasn’t low budget by any means—it wasn’t $100 million, but it wasn’t $2 million. When was the last Latina-directed studio film? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t get a movie every 20 years.”
Longoria’s upcoming biographical comedy-drama stars Jesse Garcia as Richard Montañez, the former Frito-Lay janitor who claimed to have invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It’s scheduled to debut on Hulu and Disney+ on June 9, and Longoria feels a lot of pressure for the movie to succeed because otherwise, it could convince studio heads that Latino stories aren’t financially viable.
“The problem is if this movie fails, people go, ‘Oh Latino stories don’t work…female directors really don’t cut it.’ We don’t get a lot of at-bats,” she continued. A white male can direct a $200 million film, fail and get another one. That’s the problem. I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap. … You really carry the generational traumas with you into the making of the film. For me, it fueled me. I was determined.”
Longoria also addressed the need for more Latino stories in theaters, because as she highlighted, approximately 28 percent of ticket buyers at the box office are Latino. “Your film will not succeed if you don’t have the Latino audience,” she said. “Do you know how many Latinos showed up for Crazy Rich Asians? Do you know how many Latinos bought a ticket for Fast and the Furious? We over-index at moviegoing, so why shouldn’t there be content for us if we are the ticket buyers? If we are the viewers? … For me, I take great pride in throwing around that buying-power weight. If you don’t speak to us, we may not buy that movie ticket.”
Longoria also pointed out that while Hollywood is frequently seen as “progressive,” the reality is much starker. “We’re still underrepresented in front of the camera, we’re still underrepresented behind the camera, we’re still not tapping into the females of the Latino community,” she said. “We were at 7% in TV and film, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so progressive is a myth when you look at the data.”
Watch the full talk below.
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