The Jesse Terrero-helmed project will show the journey of the 26-year-old regional Mexican superstar throughout the course of 90 minutes, from his childhood in Pasadena, to selling out arenas throughout his parents’ native Mexico and the U.S.
But it’s far from your average concert film — it’s also got some high-octane action, and people should expect to see a side of Ortiz they’ve never seen before. And if past movies with Mexican superstars are any indication (see also: Instructions Not Included with Eugenio Derbez) the movie should make Hollywood turn its head and scramble to make more of where that came from.
“There are two guys in Hollywood who do their own stunts,” Terrero jokingly told Billboard at a recent press event for the film, “Tom Cruise and Gerardo Ortiz.” He’s referring specifically to the short film that opens the movie, in which we see Ortiz getting chased by cops and having fun acting like a fugitive on the run. It’s all in good fun, though – the concert film itself documents the regional Mexican idol’s tour and the making of his latest album, Hoy Más Fuerte, and flashes back to his childhood, with his family sharing anecdotes of how the dream all started.
We spoke to Ortiz as he was promoting the film and he promised this is only the beginning of his work in Hollywood. “I’m in love with the magic of making movies,” he said.
Why the title Like a Dream?
Because everyone has a dream, and mine has always been to be a singer, ever since I was a little boy. All the good things that have happened in my career, the awards, the fans, it really does feel like a dream. I sometimes say, ‘Wake me up, this can’t be happening.’ I also like the idea of reaching out to the youth with this movie, and anybody who’s ever come here in search of the American Dream.
And I think it’s the right time to send that message, that you’re proud of being Latino, specifically, Mexican.
I agree. There’s never been a better time to raise our voices and represent regional Mexican music in this way because we do have a very important place within entertainment. With this movie, I’m excited to show people who may not be as familiar with the genre what we’re about.
So what can people expect to see in the movie?
First you’re going to see an actor. This is actually the second time I act [the first was a bit part in the movie Spare Parts alongside George Lopez and Jamie Lee Curtis earlier this year]. Then you’re going to see my story, the story of this little kid who dreamed of playing in those big arenas where Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel, and Joan Sebastian also played. I’m 26 years old so for me to be there, it’s so special. The movie is going to take you different places, because you’ll see me performing here in L.A. and then you’ll see me in Aguas Calientes [Mexico], Guadalajara, Chicago, and more.
How much are we going to see of Gerardo before the fame?
There are some home videos that you see in this movie that are from when I was 6 or 7 years old. You see me singing and for me it’s funny, but for my family it’s emotional. You’ll see my mother and my grandmother talking about how it all started. It makes me happy. I recorded my first CD when I was 8 years old, so we are going way back.
So is that you doing the car chases in the short film that opens the movie?
Yeah, it was a great idea. Jesse [Terrero] has a lot of creativity and a big team and they did a great job in that scene. You get to see me acting, which is different. You see me as the bad guy with the police chasing me and then you see me all sweet with a girl, and then I’m in love with another girl. So you have everything: love, drama, and then you see my story – which has a lot of drama, too. It’s not like everything is fun; it’s a lot of work. You’re going to see the struggle of the artist and how we get to where we are.
It’s very Fast and Furious. Are you liking the whole acting thing?
I had a lot of fun on Spare Parts and right now I’m just in love with the magic of this, of making movies and Hollywood. This is just the beginning.
Do you think that for the people who are less familiar with your music and just think ‘oh, he’s a narcocorrido artist,’ it might open them up to a different perception?
Well, I write all my music and I started to write a lot of love songs and that changed my audience a lot. Before I used to have the guys who love corridos, now it’s also kids and families, and females, too. I think with this movie even people who don’t know the music will get to know what it’s about. And you’ll be hearing the music the whole movie.
But it’s a different kind of movement than what it originally started as, right?
It happened to rap, too — it was underground at first, then it became commercial, so it’s the same thing with this music. Corridos were more gangster in the beginning. Right now you hear a corrido and it’s more about the parties and girls and cars, so it’s become commercial. Now corridos are not just in Mexico, they’re in Chicago, Atlanta — everywhere. So you’re going to see the evolution of corridos in the movie.