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Latino Stars Turn Out to Celebrate Rare Representation at ‘Overboard’ Premiere

The premiere of “Overboard” Monday night in Westwood Village served as one of the few moments for Latinos to gather and celebrate a rare breed of film: one featuring a Latino male lead.

As the box-office continues to be dominated by films featuring diverse casts and storytellers, Eugenio Derbez occupies a lonely perch in Hollywood as one of the few Latino actors who has starred in a wide-release film. A 2017 USC study found that Latinos represented just 3% of speaking roles in the top 100 films of 2016.

Fans of the Mexican actor lined the red carpet at The Regency Village Theater and were overjoyed when he stopped to take pictures with them.

Eugenio Derbez Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

The red carpet featured stars like Eva Longoria, who also has a role in the film. Jaime Camil (“Jane the Virgin”) and Latin pop singer Prince Royce attended, as did a number of Latino celebrities like Alicia Machado. Even Derbez’s bull dog, Fiona, walked the carpet in a puffy, colorful outfit that resembled a tutu.

Longoria, who also produces TV and films, said that Derbez is helping pave the way for other Latino actors in Hollywood by producing and starring in films like “Overboard.”

“It’s important to get behind the camera as a producer and director — Eugenio is a producer/director — to create those opportunities for Latinos,” Longoria said. “The thing I love about this movie is that it’s just reflective of our world. It’s not hitting you over the head with culture. It just is. It’s what you would see when you walk out your front door and that makes me so proud to see that reflected on the big screen.”

Anna Faris and Derbez star in a remake of the 1987 original, a classic romantic-comedy featuring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Like the original “Overboard,” the Derbez-Faris picture centers on a something of an outrageous premise: Derbez’s Leonardo Montenegro is a spoiled, uber-wealthy Mexican heir to a multi-national company. Faris plays Kate, a working-class single mother of three hired to clean the carpets on Leonardo’s yacht.

After firing her abruptly and not paying her, Leonardo later falls overboard and washes ashore with amnesia. Kate hatches a plan with her friend, Theresa (Longoria), to convince Leonardo she is his wife and puts him to work to make ends meet and so she can study for a nursing test.

“When people see this movie, they’re certainly going to see the America that I live in,” said Bob Fisher, who co-wrote and co-directed the film with Rob Greenberg.  “There’s a lot of diversity of representation within the Latino roles in the movie. There’s rich Mexicans and construction workers and middle-class Mexicans who are business owners. It’s not just the day laborer that you would see oftentimes in a Hollywood movie.

Josh Segarra (“Trainwreck,” “Arrow” and “Sirens”) agrees that the different representation of Latinos in the movie can help shatter perceptions. “The impact is that Latinos come in a bunch of different colors, different sounds,” Segarra said. “I think we’re just educating the rest of the world on what we look like and we don’t all have to fit a mold. Eugenio just being there, showing them he can be a male lead, showing them he can kill it, is great for all of us.”

The screening was followed by an after party at STK inside the W Hotel in Westwood, which featured a taco bar, taquitos, tamales, hand-crafted margaritas and a live band.

Segarra, who plays a construction worker and musician, also performed at the party with a band, prompting Faris to join him on stage to dance while she donned a boat captain’s hat.

The film opens May 4.“Overboard” is distributed by MGM and Pantelion, a partnership between Lionsgate and Televisa.  It was produced by Ben Odell and Derbez and executive produced by Brendan Ferguson.

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