It is always difficult to tell and reveal truths about the life of a widely recognized celebrity in a biopic format. It’s a whole different challenge when this celebrity is Luis Miguel, colloquially known as the “Sun of Mexico”.
Carla González Vargas, showrunner of “Luis Miguel: La Serie” on Netflix and president of Gato Grande Productions, a joint venture with MGM Studios, had experience adapting the lives of controversial figures, having worked in journalism and then writing a book about Woody Allen in 2004. But she did. hadn’t approached someone so loved and Luis Miguel for a platform as broad as Netflix. Diego Boneto plays the title role.
Following the season 2 debut of “Luis Miguel: The Series” on April 18 (which marks the titular star’s actual date of birth), González Vargas spoke with Variety on the exploitation of Spanish-speaking biopic fever. She also addressed the challenges of portraying the well-recorded public and tumultuous private life of the Mexican legend, from his days as a bowl-haired 1980s child prodigy until today.
Why do you think Luis Miguel’s story has global appeal?
I think it is precisely the combination of a very well known name and the music that has shaped the generations since he has had a career for almost 30 years now because he started so young that his music is with it. us for so many years. It’s great music that we’ve all made a part of our personal stories as listeners and audiences. Fortunately, the rare combination comes with a dramatic and rich history that has universal appeal. I think it touches on some very important aspects – the drama of being an orphan, so to speak, of parents at a very young age, of having a mother taken away in this way, without any explanation, and of having your father. like your antagonist. Also, having a huge projector and appearing from the outside to have it all, but the more fame you have, the more your privacy crumbles. I think it’s all universal principles that make such a great story, so that’s what’s so rare about this project.
How do you think the recent surge in demand for Spanish-language biographies in predominantly English-speaking markets will boost the productions that MGM and Gato Grande Productions are now considering. What other iconic lives would you like to adapt to the screen (or would you like to see adapted)?
We take a look at all the new projects that we develop that are not related to the biographical series in general, as it is very rare to find celebrities or public figures who are pleasing all over the world in both languages. It is not the same strategic bet in terms of development. We have considered a few names that we think can travel and translate well around the world, but their narrative or dramatic life is not rich enough to have super compelling drama, even if you are not a follower of. that person in itself. So we transcend that and focus a lot more on purely scripted series.
It’s been a few years since the first season started [in 2018], so how has the creative and production process changed for Season 2 compared to Season 1? Has COVID affected you in any way?
COVID affected him a lot. This painfully prolonged the whole process, so we decided to shoot the seasons consecutively and the shooting was paused five times. It just took forever. My main challenge was to make it more standardized because it was this whole show when I was doing the first season. Then the company [Gato Grande Productions] started after that. So Gato Grande is two years old, and we started “Luis Miguel” four years ago. The show was launched and spawned, figuratively speaking, a unique business, which is all about doing things that haven’t necessarily been done before, and finding the right people and the right team to have a profile. unique bicultural and being bicultural in terms of development is complex, to navigate both markets. So, we developed the business and established it at the same time as filming and production.
What was the research and interview process like compared to the first season?
This time around, because the series already existed and people knew we were trustworthy in terms of quality, and care in handling sources. The challenge of portraying people on screen is that most of these characters are alive and have their own names and members of their own families. So, it was tricky territory not to hurt anyone, as that would never be the intention of the tale. So I think we have gained the trust and opened that door for a lot of conversations from people around Luis Miguel who were there during this time and want to remain anonymous. We wanted to honor Luis Miguel’s trust, but also to recheck his take on how things were going, as it involved these other people as well.
How did you find new international talents and designers?
Authenticity is what we aim for because that’s what we stand for and what sets us apart in the market from other production companies that want to represent the Latinx worlds. So the way to do that is to find creators from all of these countries that haven’t really crossed over to the U.S. Shortly before the pandemic, we made a goal of traveling to Spain, Argentina, and Argentina. Colombia to find these writers and meet local production companies that had access to the best talent. So now we [Gato Grande Productions] we have eight co-productions with Spain, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, and we’re also working with seven different nationalities of Spanish-speaking writers right now, just to give you an idea. After the “Money Heist” hype, we asked one of the main directors, writer, to work with us to prepare a series for the Spanish and English market. We also caught a producer of the Catalan series “Merlí”, so we are also co-producing with them. We’re always trying to find openings and new paths for Hollywood, really.
What is unique about the production of “Luis Miguel: La Serie”?
I think one thing that hasn’t been done in the Spanish speaking market is having the same actor portray the same character in a 20 and 30 year gap. So the prostheses we use have never been used before in Latin America – we had to get a specialist in Los Angeles to design the character, make the prostheses and teach the makeup team in Mexico. So in this way we have always sought to push the standard and raise the standard a little higher and as much as possible for a series in Spanish. We still have a long way to go, but we are gradually increasing it. We had Diego [Boneta] sit in a chair for four hours a day – nothing on his face, not even his eyebrows belonged to him. They had to grow her hair back and her eyebrows back, and her cheeks and neck were all different too. The poor man said he felt like he was covered in maple syrup every day. It was a real test for the industry and for a production that had never done this before in Mexico, going back and forth with the prostheses.
What do you hope the public will take away from this season?
That everything has a price. Success and fame pose unimaginable challenges for a personal life – heavy is the head that wears the crown.