At the movies

Mexico’s Eugenio Derbez talks ‘Instructions Not Included’

 
 
Peralta and Derbez
Peralta and Derbez
Todd Williamson / Invision for Pantelion Films

Eugenio Derbez used to have a problem with commitment. Not any more.

At the age of 51, he’s got a new baby on his hands: Instructions Not Included (No Se Aceptan Devoluciones).

The film, about 90 percent in Spanish with English subtitles, tells the story of Valentin (Derbez), a playboy living the high life in Acapulco. After more one night stands that he can count, one of his conquests, an American named Julie, ends up pregnant. Not ready for motherhood, she leaves the child, Maggie, with Valentin at his bachelor pad.

But after some adjustment, the erstwhile rascal turns out to be a pretty good father, finding profitable work as a Hollywood stuntman and spoiling the little girl rotten.

Derbez, from the Soho Beach House, says life imitated art and vice-versa.

“I became a dad for the first time very young, in my 20s,” says the comedian, who has three children from three previous relationships. “I was a kid myself and afraid of commitment.”

All of Derbez’s kids are successful actors in Mexico, so he must have done something right. But Derbez didn’t exactly crack the whip with his brood.

“They would come and bring me bad grades and were afraid what I’d think,” he recounts. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t care. I had bad grades too. Just tell your teacher I was mad and yelled at you.’ ”

Middle age has mellowed Derbez, who has made the successful crossover to American movies (hard to forget his dual role as Felipe the gardener/grandmother in Adam Sandler’s hysterically puerile Jack and Jill).

Last year, he wed longtime girlfriend, Mexican singer/actress Alessandra Rosaldo in a grand televised ceremony.

“It was a coincidence that I got married after finishing the film,” he explains. “Now I’m a happily married man. I finally faced my fears, my wolves. Now I’m the biggest fan of marriage and being a dad.”

The newlyweds wouldn’t rule out having another child. “I fell in love with fatherhood.”

Si, senor. Derbez’s chemistry with young costar Loreto Paralta was real. “She’s amazing. The next Dakota Fanning,” he raves of Mexican newcomer Paralta, who wasn’t easy to find.

“At the beginning, the script was written for a boy,” Derbez explains. “We needed blond hair, blue eyes, perfect English and Spanish, no accent in either language with lots of charisma.”

After unsuccessful scouts, Derbez reached out to Twitter. “I was desperate. A week before shooting I got the tip about her.”

The film touches on the joys and pains of parenting and one of life’s most massive responsibilities.

“I always wanted to tell a story like this after seeing movies like Cinema Paradiso, Life is Beautiful and Amélie,” says Derbez, who also directs. “Something touching but with comedy and a lot of heart.”

Madeleine Marr

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on July 23

    Actress Gloria DeHaven is 89. Radio personality Don Imus is 74. Actor Larry Manetti (“Magnum, P.I.”) is 67. Actor Woody Harrelson is 53. Guitarist Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is 53. Actor Eriq Lasalle (“ER”) is 52. Guitarist Slash is 49. Model Stephanie Seymour is 46. Comedian Marlon Wayans is 42. Singer Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) is 34. Actor Paul Wesley (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 32. Actor Daniel Radcliffe is 25.

  • The music scene

    Weird Al still making fun of hit songs

    Attention, pop stars: If “Weird Al” Yankovic shows up at your concert or has tracked down your personal email address, you’re likely his next parody conquest.

  • In the spotlight

    Charlie Hunnam: no regrets about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

    The Fifty Shades of Grey movie is slated for Valentine’s Day 2015, and the original Christian Grey, Charlie Hunnam, says he can’t wait for the finished product.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category