Interview with Under the Same Moon Writer Ligiah Villalobos

Interview with Under the Same Moon Writer Ligiah Villalobos
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“My mom says, when I miss her, I should look at the moon, because she’ll be looking at it too.” That’s how the trailer of “Under the Same Moon” begins. We’ve all seen it in the movies, TV shows, and read it in the news at some extent; many Mexican women travel the border to the United States illegally to make a living.

Despite the fact that they hope the grass is greener on the other side, many of them leave children behind while they become illegal citizens with very minimal rights, low pay, and the constant fear that they’d get caught by immigration.

‘Under the Same Moon’ is an independent film that was the official selection of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival & is reported to be the highest sale for a Spanish language film in the history of Sundance with $23 million dollars earning worldwide, although made with a very little budget of 2 million dollars.

The film speaks about the special and strong bond of mother and son. When Mom Rosario leaves to America to build a better future for them, son Carlitos, an adorable 9 year old boy goes on an extraordinary journey to find her. Check out the trailer below.

I was lucky enough to get a few answers from Ligiah Villalobos, writer and executive producer of ‘Under the Same Moon’, who was born and raised in Mexico until the age of 11 when she moved to the US. Here is what she had to say.

[1] The trailer of the movie gave me goose bumps, was it hard working with a child character? 

There are always many challenges when you’re working with a young actor, especially when he has never had the lead in a movie before — like Adrian Alonso.  But Adrian has a natural gift for acting and more importantly, he was ready and willing to do whatever the Director asked of him.  We were very lucky that we found someone that was so talented and such a sweet, sweet boy.

[2] The movie seems to touch an emotional level. What was the most emotional scene that you had to write/shoot in the movie?  

The hardest scene to write was a scene with Carlitos when he is waiting for his father to pick him up at the restaurant.  I don’t want to give away that scene, in case people haven’t seen the movie, but that was definitely the hardest scene to write because it touched on some experiences that I went through with my own father.

[3] Was it hard being a woman producer of such an intense Mother/Child bond story?  

No, not at all.  I think being a woman writer/executive producer was actually a plus with this type of story.  I believe that sometimes really emotional scenes are easier for women to relate to because we tend to be emotional beings, or my more overtly emotional than men.  I am not a mother and the Director/Producer, Patricia Riggen, was not a mother yet when we shot the movie, but I think both of us being women gave and not being afraid to express emotion, gave the movie the emotional resonance it required.

[4] Kate del Castillo, who plays Carlitos’ mother Rosario comes from soap opera background in Mexico. What were the biggest challenges in bringing out her splendid performance in the film?  

Kate del Castillo, first and foremost, is an incredible actress.  But in Mexico there isn’t a huge film industry, so most actors end up spending most of their careers in television, and specifically in soap operas.  So it’s not like lesser actresses end up in TV vs. Film.  It is more about the opportunities and jobs that are available to actors in general, in Mexico.   And most of those jobs happen to be in TV novelas (soap operas).  I will say, I did have some reservations about Kate as the mother because she is considered a “bombshell” in Mexico — so beautiful, and single (not a mother yet), etc.  — so different from who she is in real life, but Patricia showed me a movie she had done in Bolivia called, “American Visa” and as soon as I saw her in that film, I knew she was the perfect person for the role.  She WAS Rosario (the character she plays in our film).  I’m so happy she agreed to do the film because I can’t imagine anybody else in the role now.  We were lucky to have her.

** Interview End **

Under the Same Moon will be showing in Jordan as per the schedule below:

Sunday, April 14
10:00am: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) (Private)
Screening and Case Study with screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos
The Royal Film Commission, Amman

Monday, April 15
11:00am: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) (Private)
Screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos will be in attendance for Q&A following the film
SAE, Amman

7:30pm: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) (Public)
Screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos will be in attendance for Q&A following the film
Rainbow Theater, Amman

Tuesday, April 16
11:00am: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) (Private)
Screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos will be in attendance for Q&A following the film
American University of Madaba, Madaba

Wednesday, April 17

3:00pm: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) (Private)
Screening and Case Study with screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos
Princess Basma Youth Center, Sahab

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Director of Digital Marketing Strategy by Day, Blogger by Night. Mother to my lovely Hana and a food addict.

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