Director Taylor Hackford Says Hollywood Ignores Latinos

Director Taylor Hackford  (photo by Alberto Rodriguez)Out of a handful of successful films about Latinos, two of them involved filmmaker Taylor Hackford.

La Bamba (1987) is the highest grossing Latino film in the United States and Blood In, Blood Out (1987) starring Benjamin Bratt remains a cult favorite among urban Latinos.  Since producing La Bamba (Esai Morales, Lou Diamond Phillips) and directing Blood In, Blood Out, Taylor Hackford has always set out to capture the real America through his films.


"I'm working class.  I make films about working class people," said the Officer And A Gentleman director to CineMovie.  

Watch LOVE RANCH movie trailer

The California native attributes his approach in filmmaking to his upbringing. "I grew up with Chicanos.  I was working class and all my best friends were Latino."

Hackford applies these sensibilities to his new film LOVE RANCH starring his wife and Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren. Set in Nevada during the 1970's, Helen Mirren plays Grace Bontempo, a Madame in a legalized brothel ranch which she runs with her husband Charlie (Joe Pesci). When Charlie brings in boxer Armando Bruza to train for his new business, a dangerous love triangle develops threatening their marriage and relationship. For the role of the boxer, Hackford turned to Spanish actor Sergio Peris-Mencheta who makes his American debut in LOVE RANCH.

Helen Mirren and Sergio Peris-Mencheta in LOVE RANCH

LOVE RANCH Movie Review

While most Hollywood films tend to include one token minority, Taylor made it an effort to diversify his independent film with a cast of actors such as Bai Ling, Elise Neal and a handful of Latino actors including Sergio Peris-Menchata, Quincenera's Emily Rios, Rick Gomez (Sin City, Ray), and Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto, True Blood).

An Officer and a Gentleman starring Richard GereEarly in his career, Hackford cast roles in a way that reflected America. He uses An Officer And A Gentleman (1982) as an example of his approach.  Hackford told CineMovie he went to military bases to research the role of the tough military officer eventually played by Lou Gossett Jr.  He found that the "majority of the officers were Black and Latino." When it came to casting Sargeant Emil Foley, he auditioned Lou Gossett Jr. and Edward James Olmos but Lou Gossett Jr won the role and eventually the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor - a first for an African-American actor.  To Taylor, this was an important time in Hollywood.  

"To me - this was a really important situation because for one of the first times you had a black authority figure...real authority figure who had full command of people's lives, mostly white. It was a big thing. That to me is America."

Since Lou Gossett Jr's breakout role in 1982, roles for African-Americans have expanded with Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Morgan Freeman in front of the camera.  Latinos, however, have not fared well in movies and still remain in the background or in non-existent roles.  Taylor attributes this to Hollywood's blinders.

"I understand when there is an audience...a huge audience and Hollywood is completely and totally ignoring them."

One person not ignoring the non-represented group - Taylor Hackford who produced LOVE RANCH independently in order to have full control of a project about working class people. His wife and star of LOVE RANCH describes LOVE RANCH as an "unfashionable" movie for Hollywood because "it's about real people."  

Taylor Hackford hopes to continue making movies that reflect real life in America.

His latest effort LOVE RANCH is in theaters June 30th. 



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