Nicolas Lopez is already a hit in his native Chile, and with his first English release “Aftershock” he is ready to take on the North American market. Lopez, who is known in Latin America for his hugely popular “Que Pena” romantic comedy trilogy, veered into the dark side for his latest project that follows an American tourist and his local Chilean friends who are plunged into a living hell after an earthquake rips through the coastal town of Valparaiso—where they are partying.
Even Selena Gomez makes a quick appearance in the film.
Working closely with Lopez as fellow producer, director and writer is Eli Roth who also took on the lead role of Gringo. The horror film earned positive reviews after its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and a 2013 Latinovator Award from Hispanicize in Miami last week.
Latin Beat caught up with Lopez, who discussed his friendship with Eli Roth, why he chose a horror film for his North American debut and how he kept the film authentic.
The film begins with some incredible scenery; there is a party going on and then tragedy strikes. Why did you choose to go in this direction?
“Because I’m sick, Lopez said. “See there was this real earthquake in Chile in 2010 and I was there when it happened. The whole experience was so hardcore that I knew I had to turn this into a movie. I didn’t want to make a serious film about the actual events that happened, but I wanted to make a fun popcorn movie.”
How did your collaboration with Eli Roth come about?
“I’m really close to Eli and we always talked about making a movie together. He has been a big fan of my movies and he has supported me since the beginning of my career. One day I randomly started to tell him about my experience during the earthquake and we agreed this would be a great idea for a movie. “
“The film itself has two monsters: the earthquake and the way people react after such a huge tragedy. There were people escaping from prison, people in the streets looting, and the police refusing to help. You are in a world that you can’t escape and it makes it harder for Gringo since he doesn’t know the language.”
Gringo has local friends who do speak Spanish. How is this handled in the film? Is it all in English?
“I used many Chilean actors that I worked with in the past in this film. The lead actors from the romantic comedy trilogy I made including Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Nicolas Martinez, and Ignacia Allamand all play big parts in “Aftershock.”
“Eli and I decided from the beginning that we wanted the movie to feel real. When the Chilean actors are on screen without Gringo they speak Spanish with English subtitles. But when they are with him, they speak English. Both Eli and I agreed that this would make the film feel more natural because this is how it would be in real life. We are making a movie for the world but I wanted to do it under my terms.”
“Aftershock” opens in wide release on May 10, 2013.