Hazlo Como Hombre or Do It Like An Hombre was the number one movie in Mexico, and now it’s coming to the U.S. When Santiago (Alfonso Dosal) comes out just before his wedding, his friends have trouble dealing with it, especially Raul (Mauricio Ochmann). The comedy Hazlo Como Hombre deals with macho culture in the modern day world.
Now Hazlo Como Hombre is opening in the States on Labor Day weekend. Chilean writer/director Nicolas Lopez, who worked with Eli Roth on Aftershock and The Green Inferno, spoke with We Live Entertainment by phone about the film. Hazlo Como Hombre opens September 1.
WLE: You got some notice in the States for your horror movies, but are these comedies like Hazlo Como Hombre and Que Pena Tu Vida closer to your heart?
Nicolas Lopez: The two genres that I love have always been horror and comedy. In a way, I think the thing about comedies and horror is they are genres where you immediately know if the audience likes what you did or not. You immediately know if what you did is working. People get scared or not. They aren’t very subjective I think. I think what happens with the audience is official. If they laugh, it’s working and if they don’t laugh, it sucks.
WLE: Is the sense of humor in Mexico different than the sense of humor in Chile?
NL: I don’t think so. Personally, with all the ones I’ve been doing, everything I do appeals to a really broad audience. I talk about emotion. I talk about things that could happen anywhere in the world. It could happen in Chile or it could happen in Mexico or it could happen in China. The movie that I did before this movie is a comedy called Sin Filtro or No Filter. That was a woman-led comedy that made $6 million at the box office in Chile which was insane. It made more money than Star Wars in my country. That movie is being remade in 11 countries including China, including Korea. We just did the version in Spain. In Mexico, in Argentina, in Brazil. So I think that most of my movies appeal to people because I just talk about things that could happen anywhere. That has to do with the fact that even though I’m Latino, in the way that I was born in Chile, I am part of the first generation that grew up being completely global, that has access to the internet, that has access to other cultures. Growing up Chilean, most of the culture you got during the ‘80s were all the big blockbusters from the U.S. Then I discovered movies from Europe and comedies from Mexico. So basically I have influence from all over the world when I was growing up. I think the way I make movies, I figure out a way of making them for a price but at the same time I want them to look like mainstream American movies.
WLE: Which of the characters in Hazlo Como Hombre do you relate to the most?
NL: Oh, I think all of them. I relate a lot with the lead, not because I’m homophobic or machismo, but in a way everybody who is born in Latin-America or even in the U.S., everybody who is not a millennial let’s say, everybody that is past their 30s or was born in the mid-‘80s, they have that. They have a mom that says, “Men don’t cry.” They made gay jokes. In a way, I think this movie turns on a light and shows that behavior and shows how stupid it is. What I tried to show in the movie was there is a way of fixing that. Sometimes you can get away from that behavior, but the problem with our main character is he doesn’t know that’s a bad behavior. He’s used to that because his culture and everything around him says that behavior is okay. This is the kind of movie that has been really, really hard to put out in the U.S. because every time we try to talk about these kinds of topics or issues, they’re always dramas. It’s very hard to approach this kind of subject as a comedy. If you make Moonlight, you can talk about it but if you make a comedy, everybody gets a little more nervous because how much can you get away with in comedy? With this movie, what I tried to do was go through the things that would happen between friends and what would happen if somebody came out, what would it be like from a macho point of view and they became really, really nervous? In most mainstream American movies, the gay character is always the funny character, like the best friend of the girl that’s the lead of the movie. For me, it was let’s do that with a twist and let’s make them the protagonist and show that behavior. By doing that, it turned it into a comedy and a dark comedy.
WLE: Do you always use Ariel Levy and Ignacia Allamand in your films?
NL: Yeah, this movie was a mix of my Chilean actors and with new Mexican actors that are huge stars in the country. Like Mauricio Ochmann and Aislinn Derbez are insanely huge. My editor is from Spain. I have actors that are Chilean and some actors like Aaron Burns, who is also a director, shot a small cameo. Then I had all the Mexican actors. For me, as long as they can do what they had to do, I don’t care about their nationality. They make these movies more real. Every time there’s a sequence where you see inside a restaurant or a bar, nobody’s talking to each other in the background. Everybody’s on their cell phones and I love that. We show how things are now.
WLE: That’s true. Since 2010 no one responds to you in person. Because of all the phones and screens, people don’t understand real life interacting anymore.
NL: Not at all. In a way, the thing that I like about the movie is that the lead character, Raul, comes from another time and age in a way. Times have changed but Raul hasn’t changed. In a way, Raul is that generation that has to learn to behave in a different way because the media and everybody tells you that everything that used to be right suddenly is wrong. Being the alpha male that’s into dating hot girls at the same time that he’s married, he bullies whoever is gay and different, that was socially acceptable let’s say 10 years ago, or even less. If you get away from the capitals of the world, get away from Miami, L.A., New York, and go to middle America, the situation is completely different. I think the same thing that happens in Mexico or Chile or anywhere in the world. We were talking about a Chinese remake of the movie and people were talking about how Chinese the movie was. In France, they were saying the same thing. They said, “This movie is very French.” How people in their mid-30s would react to this situation, if you get away from the parts that are in the bubble, most of the world doesn’t live in that cultural bubble. Suddenly this movie was putting a mirror up to them and showing their reaction, showing how that whole macho culture was really stupid and seeing that people could laugh at that. It was very inspiring. What started happening was that many people who were in the closet started watching the movie with their parents or with their friends, and after the movie when everybody commented that the main character was really stupid, they felt safe and they came out of the closet in front of their friends or family. That was really inspiring to have people being able to do that just because the people who watched the movie acknowledged that that character was completely ridiculous.
WLE: What are you doing after Hazlo Como Hombre?
NL: I just finished another movie that I’ll be releasing in January that I did in Chile called No Estoy Loca or I’m Not Crazy. It’s a very f***ed up comedy that happens inside a mental institution. It’s basically like Bridesmaids meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s a female led comedy that happens inside a mental institution and it’s a very, very dark comedy. I got to do it after the success of No Filter and now with everything that happened with Hazlo Como Hombre/Do It Like An Hombre, suddenly I have all the ammo to be able to defend the movie and make it how I want it. I just finished that and I’m writing another movie. I would love to make, like I did with horror movies, I would love to make a movie in English with a mix of American actors and actors from all over the world, a comedy that talks about themes that for people are a little bit taboo but are ready to be seen in mainstream screens. That’s what I do. I shoot movies that are being shot like indie movies but they look like mainstream movies and I’m talking about topics that would be very hard to do in a mainstream environment, but because I’m doing them for the right price and now that the movie has been extremely successful, suddenly it gives me more room to do whatever I want. That’s amazing.