Latinos are invading movie theaters this summer and nowhere is there more definitive proof than with the upcoming release of Blue Beetle. LatinaMedia.Co got a peak at the film and heard from Blue Beetle’s Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai), Bruna Marquezine (God Save The King), and its director Angel Manuel Soto (Menudo: Forever Young) when these Latinos hit Las Vegas for Cinemacon 2023.
The trio was among the top talent in Hollywood for the four-day event in which Hollywood previews their upcoming slate to theater owners and exhibitors across the world. And this Latinx-hit-to-be rubbed shoulders with some amazing company, like Rihanna, Zendaya, America Ferrera, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Martin Scorsese – not too shabby y’all.
Back to Beetle… Crawling into theaters in August is a Latino-led, full-length feature that marks the introduction of the DC Superhero. Maridueña leads the film as Jaime Reyes. “I think he is the only person to get superpowers and not want them,” Maridueña said from the Caesars Palace stage.
Blue Beetle is the story of a young Jamie, a recent college grad, who ends up with an ancient relic of alien biotech: the Scarab. The Scarab needs a host and Jamie’s bod fits the bill just fine. Once chosen, Jamie is bestowed with a superhero suit with powers that are – as the kids say – lit, even if they are unpredictable.
“All of it is surrounding the family,” says Maridueña. “Although the name of the movie is Blue Beetle, it is an ensemble cast. The family is what saves him at the end of the day and I think that sets it apart.”
La familia was central and incredibly intentional to the foundation of the story of Blue Beetle. “The moment that the scarab chooses Jamie, it happens in front of the family. So right off the bat the family is complicit in his journey,” says Soto. “We are not just putting them there to be placeholders. We have heroic arcs in the movie that are sometimes very funny and other times very surprising because you would never expect it.”
Blue Beetle’s director goes on to say about the genre in general, “We’ve been used to seeing superheroes go solo or hide their superpowers. Well, good luck hiding something from your Latino mother!”
Though the comic takes place in El Paso, Texas, the fake city of Palmera City was brought to life for the movie. “One of the things that we wanted to do was to integrate the elements that make El Paso super special but also give it a neon, Tokyo, hyper-wave element that resembles Miami in the 80s. It creates a melting pot of all the different Latino cultures that makes cities like this super exciting,” said the Puerto Rican director.
Blue Beetle flies into theaters August 18 with a list of Latinos that are legendary in their own: Adriana Barraza (Rambo: Last Blood) as Jaime’s grandmother Nana, Damían Alcázar (Narcos: Mexico) as his father, Elpidia Carrillo (Mayans M.C.) as his mother, and George Lopez (Lopez vs. Lopez) as Jaime’s Uncle Rudy. Adding to the cast is Belissa Escobedo (American Horror Stories) as Jaime’s sister Milagro, and Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) as Dr. Sanchez.