Last week, one of FlixChatter contributors Laura Schaubschlager got to meet the two lead cast of Dora and the Lost City of Gold (thanks Allied Global Marketing!) Read below on Laura’s conversation with Isabela Moner & Eugenio Derbez
The stars of Dora and the Lost City of Gold want you to know that this isn’t your preschooler’s Dora the Explorer. Okay, maybe it is. But it’s definitely for other viewers, too.
“I think it appeals to a broader audience,” mused Eugenio Derbez, who plays Alejandro Gutierrez, during a brief round-table press interview before a meet and greet event at the Mall of America.
“I really think that it speaks to everybody, especially my generation that really, like, grew up with Dora,” added Isabela Moner, who plays the titular young explorer.
While the movie is obviously aimed at a younger audience, with its source material stemming from the nearly 20-year-old educational Nick Jr. cartoon, it’s also an action-packed adventure film, something both actors were thoroughly excited about.
“For me, it was a dream come true,” Eugenio said.
“I grew up watching Hollywood action movies and I always wanted to be part of them. I never thought it was going to happen, but it happened, so I was really, really happy.” – Eugenio
But being in an action movie is obviously physically demanding, which Eugenio and Isabela weren’t shy about talking about.
“It was scary, it was very demanding-it was the most exhausting film physically that I’ve done,” said Eugenio. “We went through all the cardio. The underwater scene, the quicksand, everything was real. The log, also, we were inside the log.”
Isabela clarified, “We did, like, a simulation-type thing, so it was in a sound stage, so they had a trunk rolling but we were inside it. Someone threw up. We don’t know who, but we know where!”
The underwater scene was especially challenging.
“They taught us how to hold our breath,” explained Eugenio. “They wanted us to hold our breath for two minutes […] they trained us for like a week and finally we did it! But it was really hard. And also, before the scene, we had to be treading water for a few seconds and it was very exhausting.”
“Yeah, it’s hard to breathe fully and take a full, deep breath in when you’re already treading water,” added Isabela, who had a particularly harrowing experience filming the underwater scene.
“Everyone’s kicking water up and we’re all ‘choking’,” she explained, miming the actors pretending to choke on water, “But I actually started choking and we were already rolling and they were like ‘3,2, 1,’ they’re going to pull us underwater and I couldn’t tell them I was choking because I was choking and then they pulled me underwater.”
“They thought she was acting,” chimed in Eugenio. Isabela remained positive about the ordeal, though.
“It was pretty scary, but things like that happen. I think it’s great; I hope they used the original take!”
The action isn’t the only thing Isabela was excited about in the movie. Being of Peruvian descent herself, she was especially looking forward to Peruvian culture playing such a prominent role on such a large platform, even learning Quechua, an indigenous language spoken primarily in the Peruvian Andes and the highlands of South America, for the role.
“I had a voice memo to work with from San Marcos University in Peru, and that was all I had.”
“It’s an unwritten language, right?” Eugenio asked.
“Yeah,” Isabela replied. “They use a thing called a quipu, which is like knots on a rope, and the knots mean different things…it’s crazy. Usually you just learn it from hearing other people speak it, so a lot of my older relatives knew how to speak it, so I would call them if I needed an extra translation of something.”
This dedication to cultural detail meant a lot to both actors, along with the importance of Latinx representation in Hollywood overall.
“Representation in Hollywood, especially now, it’s really important,” said Eugenio. “Latinos, we’re being charged and harassed very much lately, so the timing is perfect. It’s good to tell our people with the Dora movie that being Latino is cool-to tell the kids that speaking Spanish is okay, is a good thing. So I’m glad the movie came out in this very moment where we need that kind of support.”
“Yeah,” agreed Isabela.
“We need to unite–we need to support each other more than anything because in the industry, at least in my point of view, there’s not many Latinos or Latinas. I see the same people at every audition, and it’s the same kind of roles, the same kind of dialogue, and the same attitude, and it would be great to see some diversity, or at least some roles that are ethnically ambiguous but are given to a Latino.” – Isabela
In addition to starring in the movie, Eugenio was also an executive producer, and he used his position to make sure the cultural representation in the film was done right.
“It was so great with Eugenio producing this, because it was authentic,” said Isabela. “It wasn’t like ‘Google Translate’ Spanish in the script, and he made sure the dialect was correct. There were no stereotypes like that, because I’m sure he’s faced many of them.”
With such talented, motivated, and passionate individuals as these two in the industry, hopefully we’ll continue to see an increase in more thoughtful and diverse cultural representation in film.
You can catch Dora and the Lost City of Gold in theaters now.
Thank you Isabela Moner and Eugenio Derbez for talking to Laura from FlixChatter!