CANTINFLAS: Review / Interview With Oscar Jaenada

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"CANTINFLAS: Review / Interview With Oscar Jaenada"

I’d say ALL of us with Latin-American roots at one point, or another, have come across the quirky, silly, humorous and awkwardness of Cantinflas. If you say you haven’t, than I guess you’ve lived under a rock of oblivion, or perhaps your folks were raised in caves and never introduced to the spicy, spark of yesteryears’ humor. Mario Moreno (a/k/a Cantinflas) was way ahead of his time when it came to that comedic gimmick we’ve become accustomed to seeing nowadays with acts like Ron Burgundy or Madea (for example). However, back then, it was the great nation of Mexico who gave birth to the ever-so-famous actor, producer, and screen-writer. Becoming one of Mexico’s, followed by Hollywood’s, Golden Age types, Moreno’s work left a trail of untouched tracks making him one of the most unique individuals ever to bless the world of entertainment.

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Starring Oscar Jaenada, Pantelion’s CANTINFLAS unveils the untold story of Mexico’s greatest and most beloved comedy film star of all time. From his humble origins on the small stage to the bright lights of Hollywood, Cantinflas became famous around the world – one joke at a time.

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Like most and/or all bio-pics, I’m sure there are elements to Mario Moreno himself that are so deep, only family and hardcore fans will know about that were omitted or adjusted in CANTINFLAS. However, it was quite interesting, enjoyable, inspirational and quasi-educational. Very satisfying to say it wasn’t a bore and a great pleasure to say he’s no longer someone I just know of, but now know about. Recommended to all Catinflas fans, there’s no doubt that there will be haters as it’s part of any package, but I’m sure among lovers it’ll be an awkward, nostalgic feeling that’ll bring them back to whatever era it was in their lives when Cantinflas became a comedic, cinematic hero to them.

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Grade: A / Genre: Bio-pic, Drama / Rated: PG / Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.

Starring: Oscar Jaenada, Michael Imperioli

Directed by: Sebastián del Amo

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On Thursday, August 21st Pantelion granted me a few to sit and chat with CANTINFLAS star Oscar Jaenada. It was a charming conversation that went in many directions seeing as Oscar’s an interesting cat with a lot to say, but when narrowing it down to the film, these were his words:

Lee Romero: Mr. Jaenada, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you very much for your time. I know it’s limited.

Oscar Jaenada: It’s a pleasure to meet you, too, Lee. You’re welcome. Yes, it’s limited, but I’ll do my best to answer anything you ask.

LR: Ok, for starters, congratulations with the film. I caught it last night and found it very interesting.

OJ: Thank you, Lee. I appreciate it. It was a huge challenge seeing as it was one of the toughest roles I’ve ever had.

LR: I can image. Can you talk to me a little about your history with Cantinflas?

OJ: Do you mean in terms of the project?

LR: Yes.

OJ: Well, I was out in Europe when I got wind of the role and I immediately called my agent about it. After a while, I was called up and told I was up for an audition. I did what I needed to do and next thing you know, I was told I landed the part. The biggest challenge from there started when it came to dividing both personas: Mario Moreno and Cantinlfas. Playing two different types caused me to move to Mexico, lock myself in an apartment and study both of them by reading and watching tons of footage and films. I say both because they were different individuals. One of course based on life outside of the stage and cinema, followed by Cantinflas who was pretty much the opposite, only in a way where everything and anything within his realm dealt with a humorous character. Aside from nailing personalities, well, there was also posture, gestures, and even speaking. I’m a Spaniard, so, my dialect is obviously way, way off from his. Mexicans speak and give off inflections that are pretty foreign for me. It was a combination of a lot of different things I needed to pick up on way before we started shooting.

LR: Sounds exhausting!

OJ: (Laughs) It is, but…I enjoy what I do, so, it was fun. Challenging, but fun.

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LR: Were you exposed to Cantinflas as a kid?

OJ: I was and I wasn’t. I recall as a kid my parents talk about and watch Cantinflas films, but all I wanted to do was go out and hang with my friends. I recall them laughing a lot and having small talk about it. On many occasions, I recall it was their thing to do after dinner. It was a sign for me to do my own thing because this man would pretty much take over my parents’ attention. As I became older and more involved with acting is when I started focusing on a lot of old films, actors, comedians…and that’s when I started looking into Cantinflas a lot more with wonder about what it was that made him so popular around the world, especially with my parents. I grew to respect him a lot. He’s made me laugh as well. As an actor, I’ve also learned a lot about the craft from him and through him now that I got to live in his skin to a certain degree.

LR: Great. Was there anything you liked or disliked about the role?

OJ: I really enjoyed working the role from scratch. What I didn’t like was the pressure it put on me for lots of obvious reasons. If anything, audiences around the world will decide the final outcome regarding the film’s success, but no matter what the outcome, it’ll definitely be one of the best, most challenging roles I’ve ever played – and proud of! I feel honored to have been cast. I’m sure there are others out there who could have done it as well, but the goal as an actor is to obtain and follow through with it in the most artistic and professional manner.

LR: Now that you’ve been able to portray an icon on screen, are there any others you’d like to play at some point in life.

OJ: (Laughs) Oh, for sure. This planet’s full of interesting people who’ve left some sort of mark and whose names will live on forever. Too many to think of at the moment, but for sure it’d be a dream to be able to play other historic figures.

LR: Well, Mr. Jaenada, you’ve pretty much answered all of my questions and grateful for it. Once again, thank you and congratulations once again on the film.

OJ: Not a problem, Lee. My pleasure. It was great sharing thoughts and we’re talking.

LR: Yes, sir. Thank you.

OJ: Be safe.

CANTINFLAS – In Theaters Friday, August 29th!

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