Benny Ibarra Talks New Film 'Un Padre No Tan Padre': 'I Love Projects That Allow My Worlds to Collide'

Courtesy of H+M Communications
Jacqueline Bracamontes and Benny Ibarra in 'Un Padre No Tan Padre.'

When Mexican singer/songwriter Benny Ibarra was approached to star in Pantelion Films' new comedy Un Padre No Tan Padre, his decision to accept was a no-brainer. 

"I love when my worlds collide. This movie is a clear example of what I love to do. I can act, I can sing and write at the same time," Ibarra, who just wrapped a tour with fellow Timbiriche alums Erik and Sasha, tells Billboard via telephone. 

After the trio Sasha, Benny Y Erik disbanded in late 2016 after four years, Ibarra is now looking to dive into the acting field, without totally disconnecting himself from the music scene, of course.

While at first he was only tapped to be part of the cast alongside Hector Bonilla and Jacky Bracamontes, it made sense that he'd also be involved with the film's original score. "I had never written a score for a film, but I wanted to try. So I pitched the idea to the director at a party."

In a candid chat with Ibarra, the actor and singer talks about upcoming 2017 plans and why being part of Un Padre No Tan Padre was an opportunity he couldn't pass up on.

With tons of other projects going on for you, starring in the play El Hombre de la Mancha in Mexico and touring with Sasha and Erik, what made you want to also take on this project?

I have to admit that what really made me want to be part of this film was the fact that it would be filmed in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuanto, Mexico. That's the city I grew up in, so any project that allows me to spend some time there is a perfect excuse.

I also hadn't done a movie in many, many moons or worked alongside such talented actors, especially someone like Hector Bonilla and Jacky Bracamontes. It felt like we were teenagers in camp or on vacation, but we were actually doing a great movie, with a compelling story. The whole project seemed like a no-brainer.

Not only do you star in the film, but you also composed the score for it. Was that part of the deal or did that come after? 

The music part came after because I was only hired as an actor. But then the director, who of course knows my work as a musician, asked me to write the song "Amar de nuevo" -- a song that I ended up writing literally in a matter of days before we filmed the scene it was going to be used in. The song talks about forgiving and starting all over again. About acknowledging pain and understanding how we hurt each other in relationships.

And then, toward the end, I think it was at a party, I asked the director to give me a shot at trying to compose the music for the entire movie. I told him I had never done a score or anything like that before and that I would gladly audition or send him over some songs to listen to first. They liked what I did and that's how it all came about. It's a very complete experience for me. People can see me act, sing and compose, so it's a great way to be back in the movies.

How is the process different when you're writing songs for a film than when you're writing songs for your own use?

I've had the privilege to write a couple of songs for other films like Instructions Not Included. When I write my music for radio or whatever, what's really important is that people will like me as a singer/musician. But for a movie, it should be about helping the characters. I hope to write songs that at the end make the movie more exciting for the viewer. I love that the music for a film is called the underscore because that's what you try to be. You have to be very inconspicuous, you try to be felt as a musician but not seen. 

The movie celebrates diversity and tolerance. Is that what you hope the audience takes away from Un Padre No Tan Padre?

I am extremely proud that the movie makes you feel all sorts of emotions. It makes you laugh, cry and not in a way that feels forced. Our movie is very organic in that way. People think that they're going to go see a comedy but it's much more than that. Having a message about celebrating the different ways of life and having respect for people from all paths of life -- whether it's a 90-year-old man, people who smoke weed, a gay couple, or a teenage boy who's trying to find himself. It's all about tolerance. 

Any other big projects for 2017 you can share with us? 

I'm just going to wait and see what life throws at me. I want to keep doing El Hombre de la Mancha because the exercise of being part of a theatrical production is imperative for my future, as a human and as an artist. I don't want to abandon acting as much as I did. Music is very jealous and I've been very successful singing, but acting feels so fresh right now. I love when my worlds collide. Like this movie is a clear example of what I love to do. I can act, and I can sing and write. I'm having so much fun right now. Being in my 40s for me has been very cool, I have to admit. 

Un Padre No Tan Padre bows in theaters Friday, Jan. 27. 

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