Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto wanted to channel David Cronenberg for Jaime’s transformation in the DC movie.
When people transform into their superhero personas in comic-book movies, the change is rarely as disturbing as it appears to be in Blue Beetle. While speaking with Variety, Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto discussed his cinematic inspirations, including looking to David Cronenberg for the main character’s transformation.
Angel Manuel Soto is a die-hard cinephile who isn’t afraid to show his influences in his work, and when it came time to show Jaime’s first transformation into Blue Beetle, he wanted to make it a more visceral experience, just like the king of body horror. “How can we do [David] Cronenberg for kids?” Soto said. “I wanted the energy to be fun but also tell the story about the movies that made me love movies.“
Given the underperformance of recent DC movies, there are fears among the Latino community that Blue Beetle could suffer the same fate and thus prevent future Latino-led projects. “It’s up to people like us to ensure that doesn’t happen,” said DC Studios co-head Peter Safran. “Whether it’s Pam [Abdy] and Mike [DeLuca] or us in DC, it’s in our hands to make sure that we show a diverse slate of movies with different kinds of people represented on screen. I believe the audience will turn up for ‘Blue Beetle.’ It’s a success story that people will want to replicate.“
In addition to Xolo Maridueña as Jaime, Blue Beetle also stars Adriana Barraza (Rambo: Last Blood) as Jaime’s grandmother, Nana, Damían Alcázar (Narcos: Mexico) as his father, Elpidia Carrillo (Mayans M.C.) as his mother, Bruna Marquezine (God Save the King) as Jenny Kord, Raoul Max Trujillo (Sicario) as Carapax, with Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) as Victoria Kord, and George Lopez (Rio) as Jaime’s Uncle Rudy. The film also stars Belissa Escobedo (American Horror Stories) as Jaime’s sister, Milagro, and Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) as Dr. Sanchez. Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) directed Blue Beetle from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala).
The remnants of the previous DC franchise haven’t done all that well at the box office, but Xolo Maridueña has previously said that Blue Beetle could spawn a franchise in the DCU, it just depends on how the movie performs. “If we get one movie or a trilogy and f**king fold this into the Justice League shit, we’re ready for the whole nine,” Maridueña said. “For me and Angel [Manuel Soto, director] and the team, we kicked ass with this movie. It just depends on numbers.“
Blue Beetle will hit theaters on August 18th.