Eugenio Derbez debuts as a director, as well as the main actor, in “Instructions Not Included,” a movie about a man afraid of commitment who ends up being a father to a beautiful girl. The movie comes out on theaters everywhere on Aug.30. Eugenio spoke to EXTRA about the movie and the inspirations behind it.
EXTRA: How did the idea for the movie start?
Eugenio Derbez: It is slightly based on my life. I wanted to do a film with a lot of heart. I faced fatherhood when I was 22-23. I was so scared. Then I fell in love with the idea of being a father. I wanted to put this ingredient into the film. How a man, a womanizer that is afraid of commitment and fatherhood, suddenly leaves everything for his daughter. It took 12 years to get the script done to do this perfect balance between comedy and drama.
Tell us a how the relationship between Valentin and Maggie develops throughout the movie?
First of all, it was so hard to find the girl. It was supposed to be a boy at first. But we didn’t find him so we ended up with a girl. It had to be a blonde, blue-eyed girl, 6 or 7 years old, a lot of charisma, perfect English and Spanish. But she is amazing. She is like the new Dakota Fanning. It is her first time acting ever. We had a lot of chemistry and it shows in the film.
What would you like for the audience to get out from the movie?
I want the audience to go through this rollercoaster of emotions, to go through laughs and cry, because life doesn’t care if you are ready. When you think something is bad for you, maybe life is telling you this is what you need to grow up and be a better human being. You have to face it even though the instructions are not included.
Tell us about the idea of a child being raised by one parent?
Nowadays, it is not an issue. Now everyone looks at you as dysfunctional if you are happy and if you are together because 80 percent of marriages are split. I wanted to transmit to the audience that it doesn’t matter if you are separated; it’s part of life. You can make your kids happy if you have enough imagination, enough love for them.
There are a lot of scenes in your movie about same sex couples, being an illegal immigrant in the U.S., etc. Did you try to show the reality of these issues?
I loved the fact that you can laugh about all this. When you laugh you can understand these issues much better. It’s our reality in this country. It’s not a film just for Hispanics. It is for everyone. Don’t miss this film. It’s a beautiful film.
This post is also available in: Spanish