We've been a little conflicted about Oliver Stone's latest project, "Savages." On the one hand, it's the only big-budget project this summer that has any significant number of Latinos in major roles – Benicio del Toro, Demián Bichir, and Salma Hayek – and a large number of other Latino actors, from the well-known like Mía Maestro to the unknown – at least in the U.S.
On the other hand, virtually all this wonderful talent is pointed in the wrong direction: towards crafting extremely convincing and effective portraits of Latino drug lords, manic killers, and victims. In a summer when there are so few Latinos in so few movies, it's sad to say almost all of them relegated to a single film, stuffed with the least attractive stereotypes we can think of.
Still: work is work, and opportunities are opportunities…and it's a particularly large one for Sandra Echeverría, a young Latina who was plucked out of the telenovelas to play the role of Hayek's kidnapped daughter in this high-octane, ultra-violent drug-thriller.
Jacob E. Osterhout of the "New York Daily News" did a nice piece on Sandra this week. Osterhout points out some interesting connections – like the similarity of Sandra's role here to Jennifer Lopez' in a much earlier Stone film, "U-Turn"…and mentions that co-star Bichir is Sandra's former boyfriend. "I saw Demián struggle to get to where he is right now," she says in the piece. "He never got frustrated and he worked so hard to achieve his dreams. Salma, too, was also very inspirational. One day she said, 'You don't have to be afraid of dreaming big.'…And here [I am] working with all these actors. It's like going to Disney World!" Read the whole piece here.
Savages opened nationwide on July 6 and is still playing at multiplexes throughout SoCal