By Marla 03.30.2015
Scroll down to listen to the podcast below and follow along with the transcript.
Marla: If you’ve ever lived in a Spanish-speaking country you’ve most likely come across this [music]. She was rocking those bras before Lady Gaga [even nick-named mounstra (Spanish for monster) by her manager], rocking that tongue before Miley Cyrus and was often referred to as the “Mexican Madonna”. Although I might add, some refuse to listen to her music as a form of protest because during the peak of her career in 1998, Gloria Trevi, was accused of human trafficking.
This is an interview with film director, Christian Keller, director of the film “Gloria”, a movie based on the story of Mexican-pop singer Gloria Trevi. Now I’m not here to talk about her story, I’m only here to share the making of “Gloria”, a movie depicting her controversial career. The U.S. premiere took place this past week during the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. We had the chance to hear what both the director of the film and Gloria herself had to say. Here’s what the director had to say:
Christian Keller: “So I’m from Switzerland. That’s not what you would expect from somebody who made a film about Gloria Trevi…but, I’m Swiss, from the Swiss Alps.”
Marla: Swiss? Who would’ve guessed? But he has a good point being an outsider telling the story of Gloria.
Christian Keller: “So I read an article in the LA Times just after she was released from prison and being Swiss I had no idea who she was, but I think that was a good thing because I was able to just look at it more as a story without preconceived notions of who Gloria Trevi is. So we tried to keep that throughout the process, with me being a foreigner, the writer Mexican…we had two editors for example, a Mexican one and a French one and a Scottish composer.”
Marla: What was the process like to complete the movie?
Christian Keller: “We did a gigantic amount of research, especially me together with our screenwriter, Sabina Berman, and we interviewed Gloria Trevi, Sergio Andrade, a lot of the people in the story. We spent years actually trying to put together all the information because there were some many versions of the story out there.”
Marla: How long did it take to complete?
Christian Keller: “So when I first read about it I was 19 and I thought it would take 1 year and it took 10 actually.”
Marla: There’s different versions of this scandalous story, but which one is true?
Christian Keller: “We certainly believe it’s as close as possible as…as it’s possible to tell.”
Marla: and the question everyone wants to know…what does Gloria think about all this?
Christian Keller: “Actually you know, she just wanted to hear how I felt about the story, what I was going to tell, and I told her that being Swiss I just saw this very human story and this love story also at the end of the day, an inspiring story and that’s what I wanted to focus on and I think she agreed with that and connected with that. She told people to go watch it so I think that’s a great thing.”
Marla: This is what she had to say in a panel session during SXSW earlier the day of the premiere:
Gloria Trevi: “No es fácil ver cuando quieren reflejar tu vida.” translation: It’s not easy to see when they want to portray your life.
Marla: Gloria shares some insight on how the movie made her feel.
Gloria Trevi: “Me hizo llorar, me hizo reír, me hizo enojarme. Para mi es creo que mas difícil que para la mayoría de la personas por que hay cosas que me recuerdan, cosas que viví. Hay otras que tal vez no son como las viví pero que me hicieron pensar en lo que realmente si sucedió, y si te puedo decir que fue difícil verla, pero me di cuenta que esta película, con todas sus licencias y todo, tiene un mensaje positivo.” translation: It made cry, it made me laugh, it made me angry. I think it’s more difficult for me than for most people because there are things that come back to me, things that I went through. There are things that may not have been exactly the way I lived them but they made me think on what really happened. And I can say it was hard to watch, but I realized that this movie, with its licenses and all, does have a positive message.
Marla: She also relives the time when she performed live for the first time on Mexico’s timeless variety show, Raul Velasco’s Siempre en Domingo.
Gloria Trevi: “Y me acorde también mucho de toda la ilusión que yo tenia de cantar en televisión y cuando me dijeron que me iban a vetar porque se me veían los calzones pues fue doloroso y también fui muy rebelde en ese momento que dije, “Si quieren me quito los calzones pero peinar no me voy a peinar” (laughs) por que me decían que me peinara bien y que no se me vieran los calzones. Cuando vi eso tuve momentos que recordé la niña que yo era.” translation: I also remembered the illusion I had to sing on TV and when they told me they were going to take me off because my underwear were showing, it was painful and I was very rebellious at that moment that I said, “If they want I can take off my underwear, but I am not going to comb my hair” because they told me to fix my hair and to cover my underwear. When I saw that, I had moments when I remembered the girl I used to be.
Marla: So just how well did the actress, Sofia Espinoza, portray Gloria’s character?
Gloria Trevi: “Fíjate que mas que nada hubo escenas que si me reconocí en la actriz. Sobre todo yo creo que en las escenas mas dulces o las mas como traviesas y creo que Sofía hizo muy buen trabajo sobre todo tomando en cuenta que nunca pudimos juntarnos, nunca pudimos hablar, pero la chava tiene mucha carisma, y creo que es una muy buena actriz. Logro transmitir emociones y te hace reír. Es muy difícil interpretarme por que soy como una tragicomedia. Ósea hago reír y hago llorar. Es parte de lo que soy y ella logro hacerlo muy bien.” translation: More than anything there were scenes when I did recognize myself through the actress. Especially the sweet scenes or the ones that were more mischievous and I think that Sofia did a very good job, especially taking into consideration that we were never able to get together, we were never able to talk, but the girl has lots of charisma and I think that she is a very good actress. She was able to convey emotions and she makes you laugh. It’s very difficult to play me because I’m like a tragicomedy. I make people cry and I make people laugh. It’s part of who I am and she did it very well.
Marla: The background track you’re listening to is actually Sofia Espinoza herself.
Christian Keller: “I think more than just the looks I think Gloria has this really unique energy and strength about her and finding somebody who could embody that was really hard and when we found Sofia it was clear immediately that she was the right fit, but also she had never ever sung before this film and she sang all of the songs herself which was really impressive.”
Marla: So come and watch it and appreciate the talent of Mexico’s rule-bending queen, the one who changed the music scene for so many Spanish-singing women.
Christian Keller: “Please go see the film in theaters June 5th and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Thank you so much.”