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Eva Longoria Says White Directors Are Given Plenty Of Opportunities To Fail

Eva Longoria, who is set to make her directorial debut in the film Flamin' Hot is speaking out on white male directors constantly getting chances to flop at the box office, while women and people of color have to work twice as hard. She also called on Hollywood to make more films for Latino audiences, since they make up 28% of all ticket buyers.

Flamin' Hot tells the story of Richard Montañez, a Frito-Lay janitor who invented everyone's fave snack Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

via: Complex

During her Kering Women in Motion talk at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, Longoria opened up about the pressure she felt directing her first film as a Latina. Per Variety, she said she “felt the weight of my community” and “the weight of every female director” while working on her directorial debut, Flamin’ Hot.

“We don’t get a lot of bites at the apple,” Longoria said while noting that there’s a bigger margin of error afforded to white male directors. “My movie wasn’t low budget by any means—it wasn’t $100 million, but it wasn’t $2 million. When was the last Latina-directed studio film? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t get a movie every 20 years.”

Longoria’s upcoming biographical comedy-drama is scheduled to debut on Hulu and Disney+ on June 9, and she feels a lot of pressure for the movie to succeed because otherwise, it could convince studio heads that Latino stories aren’t financially viable.

“The problem is if this movie fails, people go, ‘Oh Latino stories don’t work…female directors really don’t cut it.’ We don’t get a lot of at-bats,” she continued. A white male can direct a $200 million film, fail and get another one. That’s the problem. I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap. … You really carry the generational traumas with you into the making of the film. For me, it fueled me. I was determined.”

Longoria also addressed the need for more Latino stories in theaters, because as she highlighted, approximately 28 percent of ticket buyers at the box office are Latino. “Your film will not succeed if you don’t have the Latino audience,” she said. “Do you know how many Latinos showed up for Crazy Rich Asians? Do you know how many Latinos bought a ticket for Fast and the Furious? We over-index at moviegoing, so why shouldn’t there be content for us if we are the ticket buyers? If we are the viewers? … For me, I take great pride in throwing around that buying-power weight. If you don’t speak to us, we may not buy that movie ticket.”

Longoria also pointed out that while Hollywood is frequently seen as “progressive,” the reality is much starker. “We’re still underrepresented in front of the camera, we’re still underrepresented behind the camera, we’re still not tapping into the females of the Latino community,” she said. “We were at 7% in TV and film, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so progressive is a myth when you look at the data.”

She's absolutely right. So many white directors can make a bad movie and get a plethora of chances. But if you are a woman or person of color, you get one chance to make a first impression. Should your film bomb to no fault of your own another opportunity may not come. I also noticed when I went to see Fast X there were a lot of Latino moviegoers in attendence.

So when people look at a film like Fast X and wonder why people continue to watch them, it's not just about the cars and the action. People go because it's the one mega-franchise where they see someone that looks like them on the big screen.

When I used to work at AMC, any Asian foreign film or Bollywood movie was always sold out, because they come out in droves to support their movies.

I just don't understand in over 100 years of cinema existing these clueless Hollywood overlords continue to think that white audiences are the only ones supporting their films.

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