Eugenio Derbez and Samara Weaving Discuss ‘The Valet’ and Their Cinematic Coupling
Eugenio Derbez and Samara Weaving are an unlikely pairing in “The Valet.” a romantic comedy about a movie star, Olivia Allan (Weaving), who agrees to date a virtual stranger, valet Antonio Flores (Derbez), in order to cover up her affair with a married man (Max Greenfield) and avoid bad publicity ahead of the opening of her biggest film to date. Antonio, a selfless father and Mexican immigrant, only goes along with the harebrained plan in order to help out his estranged wife (Marisol Nichols), whom he hopes to win back. To the surprise of everyone, what starts off as an awkward PR stunt leads to a profound and mutually beneficial friendship, complete with plenty of warmth and laughter along the way.
Derbez, who has long been a star in his native Mexico, has been making American films this past decade, achieving international stardom. Now a resident of Los Angeles, the comedian and actor is able to bring many layers to his character, an immigrant trying to live the “American dream.” As for Weaving, though she and her character share a common career, she tells us she is very different from her, at least personality-wise. Derbez and Weaving spoke with Entertainment Voice about their Hulu feature, discussing their favorite scenes and how they made their pairing of a glamorous Hollywood star and a normal guy believable.
Samara, you’re playing a movie star and you yourself are a successful actress. Is any of your character based on your real life? How different are you from Olivia?
Weaving: I really hope I’m very different from her. She’s a bit of a lunatic, to be honest (laughs). I read about actresses in the 1920s and ‘30s and heavily based her on Old Hollywood divas.
Eugenio, your character Antonio seems like a real person anyone could meet in Los Angeles — you showed a part of L.A. that was very familiar to many. Tell us about developing Antonio and that world.
Derbez: I think that this guy is a normal guy. He’s just a valet parking attendant who happens to be in a very strange situation where he gets caught up in a paparazzi photo with a billionaire and his lover, who happens to be this famous Hollywood actress — beautiful and famous. In order to get rid of this situation, the billionaire hires the valet parking attendant, and then we have to pretend that we’re dating. It’s really funny, because it’s always the fish-out-of-water situation, where we see this guy in fancy restaurants where he doesn’t even understand the menu, or on the red carpet, where he doesn’t even know how to behave. It’s a really funny movie, but also with an amazing message behind it about life in America and how important all the working-class immigrants are in this country.
Yes, and we see Olivia and Antonio develop this relationship that isn’t your traditional rom-com relationship, but more of a friendship where they learn from each other.
Weaving: I think it’s a really funny dynamic. It lends itself to some really great comedy. But I guess at the end of the day, they both have, strangely, very similar issues and desires, and they have a common want, which I think is what is so great about this [story]. It’s very funny and very heartwarming.
Eugenio, you touched on the funny scenes where Olivia and Antonio are out at dinner and on the red carpet. Do you either of you have particular scenes that are your favorites?
Weaving: I loved [all] the scenes with us, but the great part about doing a film that you’re not on every day, when you watch it back you see what everyone else was doing. I loved the scenes with the parking attendants and Eugenio. I thought those were so funny. And the private detectives in the car were just fantastic.
Derbez: I loved the scene from the restaurant where I’m trying to order something, and I don’t understand the menu. That’s one of my favorite scenes. Or the red carpet premiere. There are so many beautiful moments in the movie, all of them, but those two are my favorite moments.
“The Valet” begins streaming May 20 on Hulu.