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Starring Will Ferrell as “Armando”, Diego Luna as “Raul”, Gael García Bernal as “La Onza” and Genesis Rodriguez as “Sonia”, ‘Case de mi Padre’ is a romantic action adventure with an affectionate nod towards the classic telenovelas.
Armando Alvarez is an earnest, gentle soul, a dreamer. He has lived at and worked on his father’s ranch his entire life. He has a special bond with nature and enjoys his life in the countryside. He is the local patron saint of animals and lost causes. So what if he is not exactly un cientifico de la NASA or suspiciously never seems to be too interested in women? He is kind and dependable and loves his family – especially his brother Raul. It is clear to everyone that they are siblings, they have so much in common. Their last name – for instance – they share that.
Raul is the shining star in the Alvarez clan. He is a sophisticated, suave and slick international businessman. Charismatic and successful, he has earned his father’s respect. Armando? Not so much. Still, Armando is happy and loyal and has only the utmost affection and admiration for his father and brother.
Unfortunately, the Alvarez ranch has fallen on hard times. Fortuitously Raul returns home and, ever the hero, pledges to settle all of his father’s debts and to shower the family with expensive and extravagant gifts. He also introduces his beautiful and feisty girlfriend Sonia, winning even more of his father’s esteem.
All is not what it seems, on so many levels. Raul’s business turns out to be less than legit and slowly Armando starts to realize what kind of a person his brother really is – oh, in the process, he also starts to fall for Sonia. But before that happens, he loathes her. It’s complicated.
The life Armando knew, everything he believed is turned upside down. His simple existence undergoes a sea change. Slowly he begins to embrace his manhood, to understand who he is, to accept his destiny. A magical white mountain lion helps. It’s tricky but ultimately makes perfect sense – to Armando, anyway.
Raul’s machinations will eventually lead them all into a war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord, the mighty Onza. The stakes are incredibly high. There are many guns and cigarettes. Yet Armando feels no fear. La Onza will soon find that he has never tangled with anyone quite like Armando Alvarez.
Where to begin.. Saturday Night Live
‘Casa de mi Padre’ began several years ago, mostly because Will Ferrell just thought starring in a Spanish language comedy would be funny.
“I don’t remember when I got the idea and there was really no good reason, but I always had the notion of doing a Spanish language comedy. I do not speak Spanish but I thought the concept of having someone who is – depending on who you talk to – either fairly well known or kind of well-known in American language film – placed in a foreign language film would be something you don’t see every day. And I love the Mexican-Western genre,” Ferrell says.
Fortunately, Ferrell knew some likeminded souls who also thought this pescado fuera del agua theme would be entertaining – writer Andrew Steele and director Matt Piedmont, both of whom won Emmy Awards for their work on Saturday Night Live.
“I just had the most general concept of what the movie would be about, but I had nothing specific and that’s where Andrew Steele, a writer who is a longtime friend from our time together at Saturday Night Live, came in. I pitched the potential, and asked him if he thought this would be fun to write? And he actually came up with the story of ‘Casa de mi Padre’. And then we reached out to another friend of ours from Saturday Night Live, Matt Piedmont,” Ferrell recalls.
Part of the Ferrell’s general concept revolved around the classic telenovela, dramatic, serialized melodramas in Spanish that are extremely popular in Latin American countries. Telenovelas typically revolve around a family and focus on a romantic couple. Often the storylines reflect sociocultural messages. They have also, in the past, provided rich comedy opportunities for Ferrell, Steele and Piedmont.
“From the outset, Will had always framed the project as something ‘like’ a telenovela. Telenovelas have always been a comedy staple for comedy writers. When I was at Saturday Night Live, we probably parodied telenovelas five or six different times. They are so over the top and so dramatic that they just lend themselves to satire.
We did not want to do a mere parody however, so we used the telenovela as a kind of springboard for something hopefully more imaginative, with an affectionate nod towards the format,” Steele says.
Image Courtesy of Casa de mi Padre