The bloodsucking lore of the chupacabra gets the CGI treatment and turns itself into a cute and cuddly creature.
Netflix’s “Chupa” (streaming April 7) – the adventure fantasy film directed by Mexican filmmaker Jonás Cuarón, co-writer of the Oscar-winning film “Gravity” and son of “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón – follows a shy 13- year-old Alex (Evan Whitten) who travels from Kansas City to Mexico to meet his grandfather Chava (Demián Bichir). At his grandfather’s farm, Alex meets a new furry, mythical friend and the two embark on a whirlwind adventure.
Cuarón tells USA TODAY that working on “Chupa” was not only exciting, but a “very personal story for me.”
Cuarón grew up in Mexico in the ’90s and was about the same age as Alex in the movie. He drew on his memory of the first time he heard of the legend of the chupacabra. “As a kid, those things were exciting,” he says.
USA TODAY has the exclusive premiere of the new trailer for “Chupa” (streaming on Netflix on April 7), starring Bichir, Whitten and Christian Slater, including new first footage.
The trailer shows a nervous Alex, still mourning his father’s death, who is sent to Mexico by his mother amid sightings of the chupacabra dominating the broadcast news. “He’ll be our little secret,” Chava tells Alex when he meets the Chupa, who also warns him about “bad people out there” (scientist Richard Quinn, played by Slater) who are hunting the misunderstood creature to try and use its powers. to use.
What is Netflix’s ‘Chupa’ based on?
Chupacabra, which translates to goat sucker in English, was reportedly first seen in the early ’90s in Puerto Rico. As the story goes, sightings then spread across Latin America with people believing the chupacabra attacked and drank the blood of livestock, including goats.
“There was a frightening element to it, but there’s also so much curiosity and excitement about something magical around you,” says Cuarón.
“It’s fascinating how Latin American culture works and how easily we are preyed upon,” adds Bichir. “That creature never existed, are you kidding me? That’s exactly why I think it’s brilliant, that we took that crazy time in our history and turned it into a beautiful fantasy.”
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‘Chupa’ is about ‘trusting your family’ and ‘magic in the world’
As oral historians, grandparents use their gift of storytelling to keep traditions alive, teach unforgettable life lessons, and retell the folklore of their time. “Growing up surrounded by two big Mexican families, I know that grandparents are really the bearers of the family story,” says Cuarón.
“Everything you need to know about life is in the experiences of our parents and grandparents,” Bichir added. “Alex goes through this interpersonal journey as he goes back to his roots and reconnects with his grandfather and at the same time with his late father.”
“Chupa” is about the importance of “trusting your family to overcome grief and other growing pains,” says Bichir. It’s about believing in yourself and reconnecting with your roots. “I don’t see this as a Latino or Mexican movie,” the actor adds. “It’s a universal story about how we connect with our family.”
“It also shows the importance of[basking]in the magic that is out there in the world,” says Cuarón.
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‘Chupa’ will be the ‘cutest thing you’ve ever seen’
Cuarón flips the rather gruesome chupacabra folklore on its back, creating what Bichir calls a “loving little creature.”
The production went through iterations of the Chupa, basing the design on real animals, while also “playing with something that is fantastic, a creature that looks like a mammal but has wings and feathers – something we’ve never seen before”, says Cuaron.
“I want a chupacabra in my room, that little Chupa is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen,” adds Bichir.
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Cuarón says it was “impossible not to think about E.T.” while working on “Chupa”.
During filming, the director re-watched the sci-fi/adventure classic more than a dozen times.
Cuarón said, “what would flatter me the most would be to meet someone in 20 years and tell me that growing up, ‘Chupa’ really marked them. Because that’s what movies like ‘ET’ did for my generation, so I would obviously like to do the same for others.”
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Jonás Cuarón and Demián Bichir want to make films for their children to watch
As fathers, Cuarón and Bichir are excited to make a movie for their kids to enjoy.
“Over the past five years I’ve watched so many kids’ movies and tried to see the movie world through their eyes,” says the director, father of two, adding that he was reconnecting with films from his own childhood, including Gremlins. and The Goonies.
Bichir, who starred in movies like “The Nun,” “The Hateful Eight,” and “The Grudge,” jokes that he “doesn’t have many movies for my daughter to watch.”
For Bichir it is also important to “connect with new generations, that is always the biggest challenge as an artist. You want to make sure that the new generations know your work, and that they can also get in touch with you.”
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