Walter Mercado knew how to make an entrance.
Just ask the filmmakers behind the new Netflix documentary “Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado” about meeting the iconic television astrologer for the first time at his home just outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“We go into his office and meet his secretary and his nieces and they take us upstairs to one of his sitting rooms,” co-director Kareem Tabsch tells Variety. “It’s a sunken and about three steps down. It’s jammed full of books, religious iconography, pictures of James Dean, Rita Hayworth and Oscar Wilde and La Virgen de la Caridad. We’re probably kept waiting for about 40 or 45 minutes when all of a sudden, Walter just appears hovering. You know, he’s dressed like Christina, Alex, he’s dressed head to toe and white linen with his mane of hair and these gold Yves Saint Laurent glasses. He’s basically like a vision three feet above us.”
Co-director Cristina Constantini said, “It is the closest to a religious experience I’ve ever had.”
“Mucho Mucho Amor” traces Mercado’s rise from a local television astrologer in Puerto Rico in the late 1960s to international superstar and fashion icon known for his colorful bejeweled capes, some of which were designed by Gianni Versace and Isaac Mizrahi. He died last year at age 87 after the film was wrapped.
Drag queen Alexis Mateo impersonated Mercado on the July 3 episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.”
“Someone on Twitter said it was the most brilliant film promo we could have done,” producer Alex Fumero said. “I was like, ‘It would have been, had we thought of it.’”
Perhaps Mateo’s work was divinely inspired. “There have been so many, many seasons of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ but for the Walter impression to come the Friday before our film comes out? That’s a little bit of a cosmic event,” Constantini said. “Even though we’re all kind of skeptics, it’s crazy. It’s crazy that he would do this at this time — he being Walter in the stars.”
Let’s see if he could make that Timothée Chalamet casting happen next.
“Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado” is available on Netflix.
Popular on Variety: