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Will Ferrell describes his character in ‘Casa de mi Padre’, Armando Alvarez, as “… a very sweet, earnest soul. He loves his family, he loves his father and brother. Armando may not be the smartest guy but he has great intuition and a corazon grande.” As it turns out, his quirky charm ultimately wins the affections of his on-screen brother Raul’s beautiful fiancée Sonia, played by Genesis Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who appeared in 150 episodes of the telenovela “Prisonera,” certainly understood the more histrionic aspects of ‘Case de mi Padre’. But as director Matt Piedmont points out, it was more than her telenovela experience that appealed to the team – in fact, she was the first actress they saw for the part.
“Genesis Rodriguez is amazing. She was the first woman we saw in casting for the role and she blew us away. She was so committed and real but she totally got the vibe. She really pulls off the entire movie – she’s funny and an exceptional actress and looks classically beautiful – like a young Lana Turner,” Piedmont says.
‘Casa de mi Padre’ marks Rodriguez’s motion picture debut. Rodriguez admits that her background in telenovelas was absolutely helpful, especially in a move as unique as ‘Casa de mi Padre’.
“The movie is pretty spot on to what I’ve been doing for the past six years. It’s my genre, so I felt really comfortable with the material, something I could really deliver. I definitely thought it was a crazy movie but that’s the beauty of it,” Rodriguez says. “I definitely was not expecting to do a Spanish language film in Hollywood. It was really fun – and something different. Everyone was taking a risk. We didn’t know what line we were crossing but we were definitely crossing one,” she says.
Although Ferrell may not be a fluent Spanish speaker, his dedication and delivery inspired Rodriguez nonetheless.
“He had a beautiful accent and he puts the correct emphasis and emotions on the words. I was so impressed by him,” she says.
Rodriguez was also thrilled to work with Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal.
“Gael and Diego are great actors, I really admire them. They are giants in the cinema, in truth and they are very kind, very dedicated, very natural, unaffected. They were funny and ridiculous but I mean that as a compliment. It was a great experience to work with everyone,” Rodriguez says.
Some of the “ridiculous” had to do with a running gag about smoking. Raul and Onza smoke anything and everything all the time, while throughout the film the hapless Armando struggles to roll a simple cigarette.
“Yeah, Raul will smoke anything that burns,” Luna comments. “I quit smoking before the movie and these bastards made me smoke like crazy in the film. I was smoking like a pack a day because it was one take after another. It wasn’t planned or anything. The first day, we had the character smoking and I said, well what if we have him suddenly smoking a cigar and any other thing. I didn’t realize we were going to have him smoking in every scene at every moment but that’s what happened. It was a great idea but today I cannot climb simple stairs.”
Image Courtesy of Casa de mi Padre