How The “Overboard” Remake Championed Latinx Representation

Diyah Pera

Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris in 2018’s Overboard.

After Eugenio Derbez’s 2013 comedy Instructions Not Included grew to become a shock hit — and the highest-grossing Mexican movie ever within the US — the actor-filmmaker abruptly discovered himself taking conferences throughout Hollywood. At a type of conferences at MGM Studios, he was handed an inventory of remakes of earlier MGM motion pictures for him to provide as a starring car, and one title leapt out at him: Overboard.

“I was so excited, because I grew up watching this film,” Derbez advised BuzzFeed News. He’s removed from alone, both — the romantic comedy starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn wasn’t a field workplace sensation when it opened in 1987, however through the years, the movie has grow to be beloved consolation meals for its followers.

“I was in love with Goldie Hawn,” stated Derbez. “She was my movie star crush. I immediately said yes, and we started developing the script.”

But after Derbez and his producing companion Ben Odell employed the filmmaking crew, together with director Rob Greenberg and his writing companion Bob Fisher, they found that remaking Overboard for a contemporary viewers introduced some main challenges — and equally thrilling alternatives.

The largest hurdle: Rewatching the unique film makes it painfully clear that it is the platonic perfect of a “problematic fave.” The plot hinges on Russell’s working-class single father who clashes with Hawn’s immodest millionaire on her yacht; after she subsequently falls overboard and is troubled with whole retrograde amnesia, he dupes her into believing she is admittedly his spouse so she will care for his 4 unruly sons and sustain his dilapidated house. At one level within the movie, Russell’s character gleefully sings about having his personal slave, and whereas he by no means takes benefit of her bodily, the truth that he might lingers uncomfortably.


Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in 1987’s Overboard.

As Derbez wryly put it, “Nowadays, it looks really rude to have a guy kidnapping a woman to make her work at home.”

To resolve that significantly fraught subject, the filmmakers selected to flip the genders of the 2 leads, making Derbez’s character, Leo, the haughty one-percenter troubled with amnesia, and remodeling Russell’s position into an exasperated single mom with three daughters and two jobs — performed by the comedically gifted Anna Faris — who hoodwinks Leo into home servitude. To eradicate any trace of sexual coercion as soon as Leo begins residing with Kate’s household, the filmmakers additionally made Leo an enthusiastic bachelor who has no downside having intercourse with whole strangers.

“He would be willing to sleep with [Kate] on day one,” stated Greenberg. “He doesn’t care. So we kind of take abuse off the table.” (Ultimately, Kate places the brakes on any intercourse with Leo, and so they sleep in separate areas of the home.)

Updating Overboard’s tough gender politics additionally ended up offering Derbez with a uncommon alternative. Making his character extravagantly rich — within the movie, he is the son of the third richest man on the planet — allowed the actor-producer to satisfy his ambition to assist broaden the way in which Latinx characters are portrayed in mainstream Hollywood motion pictures.

“I was fed up with always playing in Hollywood, you know, the narcos, the criminals, the gang member,” he stated. “Or, best-case scenario, the gardener. The Latino audience, my core audience, were always telling me that they wanted to dignify the image of Latinos in Hollywood.”

Diyah Pera

Mel Rodriguez and Eva Longoria in Overboard.

The filmmakers did not simply cease with Derbez’s character, both. The new Overboard is crammed with a broad spectrum of Latinx characters, together with middle-class enterprise homeowners performed by Eva Longoria and The Last Man on Earth’s Mel Rodriguez, in addition to working-class quick order cooks, and development crew laborers.

“I think that’s America. If you walk into any restaurant or store, all the people working there, or also buying there, are from all over the world — Asians, Latinos, Afro-Americans,” said Derbez. “This is a land of immigrants.”

That effort additionally prolonged to the casting: Rodriguez is Cuban American, Longoria is Mexican American, and Josh Segarra, who performs an aspiring musician and one of many development laborers working alongside Leo, is Puerto Rican. “We’re not saying, oh, the Mexican millionaire,” stated Derbez. “It just happens that I’m Mexican. It just happens that the other guy is Puerto Rican or Cuban or whatever. That’s the way we see life in America.”

“It made [the movie] feel like it reflected the world that we live in, at least in Los Angeles,” stated Fisher. “Otherwise there wouldn’t be any reason for doing the movie, just to redo a movie that people already love.”

Diyah Pera

Mel Rodriguez, Omar Chaparro, Adrian Uribe and Eugenio Derbez in Overboard.

The Overboard filmmakers additionally needed to make certain their movie actually mirrored the lives of the working-class Latinx individuals. In one standout scene, Leo, who can’t shake the sensation that his life must be significantly better, complains to his fellow staff that he looks like he is “just a paycheck,” inflicting one to reply, “We all feel this way, man. Welcome to the club.”

For Derbez, the scene spoke to a typical expertise he has assembly Latinx waiters who he later sees valeting vehicles at a special restaurant. “I’m always asking them, ‘How do you do this? When do you see your family? When do you enjoy your kids and your house?'” stated Derbez. “And they say, ‘You know, I’m here to give my family a better life, so I don’t have time for me. I’m just like a paycheck. I just have to get them money because I want them to succeed.’ They’re working hard to give their families a better life.”

All the adjustments the filmmakers made to replace their movie from the 1987 Overboard replicate how a lot audiences, and filmmakers, have developed of their expectations that even a foolish, high-concept rom-com ought to replicate our extra socially aware actuality. And but, the unique movie’s emphasis on the transformative love of and for your loved ones is what so endeared it to Derbez 30 years in the past — and finally why he felt drawn to remake it.

“He has a yacht, he has servants, he has women, he has every single thing in the world but love, real love,” Derbez stated of his character. “So when he goes from having everything to nothing, the only thing that he has [is] the love of a real family. Our intention was to try to teach the characters that there are things that money can’t buy. The love from a real family is one of them.”

Adam B. Vary is a senior movie reporter for BuzzFeed News and is predicated in Los Angeles.

Contact Adam B. Vary at [email protected].

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