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Retelling the popular ’80s rom-com Overboard (starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, no less) is about as risky as strolling tipsy on a yacht deck in choppy waters. But when the idea of a remake was floated to Eugenio Derbez, he had an idea to keep things plain sailing. “We decided to switch the genders of the main roles,” he explains. That way we could avoid direct comparisons with the original and make it fresh.”
Flipping the leads so Derbez now plays the yacht-strolling playboy struck with amnesia, and Anna Faris, the single parent who (more or less) abducts him and convinces him he’s her husband/nanny/maid/chef also allowed the Mexico-born actor a chance at a less-stereotyped role. “I was always complaining that as a Latino I’m offered the same roles: drug dealer, criminal, gardener,” he says. “It was important for my audience to see me play a different character.” Add an infusion of Latino culture throughout and a cast of Hispanic stars, and this rendition ends up having a new and far-reaching appeal. “I don’t want my people to think that I forgot about them so we tried to bring both audiences to the theater,” says Derbez.
“It’s an international take on the original,” agrees Faris. “It expands on the idea of socio-economic differences by taking a movie that’s beloved and updating the themes and messages for today.”
That’s not to say it was an easy sell for Faris who, as a huge fan of the original movie, was nervous to take on this retelling. “I grew up just loving that movie and being in love with Goldie Hawn so I was thrilled to be part of it, but I was also terrified,” says the Mom star. “But part of that fear was also the thought of someone else being in it instead of me — and I just love Eugenio.” While she admits the scenes where Derbez’s Leonardo exhibits particularly douche-y qualities were the most fun to shoot, generally it was the the “tone of love” and his mission to make a movie about family that drew her in.
So was the admiration mutual between the costars? “Oh my God it was a nightmare working with her!” says Derbez. “I’ll tell you why: She’s so, so funny that it was really hard not to crack during the scene — and she’s so humble. On our first scene, take one, she asked me, ‘Was I funny?’ and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ and she tells me she’s not really a comedian; she became a comedian by accident!”
“It’s my face,” says Faris. “I don’t realize what my face is doing and sometimes it’s funny.”
Overboard washes up in theaters Friday.