Actor, film producer and physician, Luigi Lanuza is our first guest to the «Getting to know the friendly face of our talents» section; it seems really exciting to start a new adventure on FaceBook so as to in some manner keep me and you in contact with the artists (singers, actors, dancers, sculptors, etc.,) in Guatemala.
To start our section, we want chat more with the friendly face of Luigi Lanuza and will share with you the hopes and goals of our guest.
¿Carrying the surname Lanuza is a great commitment that I imagine you must put up in each project that you do? At what age did you decide to devote yourself to the world of movies and how many films have you participated as an actor?
¿I was five years old when I started in television and newspaper ads? In 1970, I participated in the film «La Sonrisa de mi Madre» with actress and singer Carmen Yolanda Coronado and the great actors Antonio Almorza and Carlos Figueroa. In 1972 I had the starring role in «Superzan y el Niño del Espacio,» the first co-production with Mexican producer Rogelio Agrasánchez Linaje. In 1973 I participated in the technical side of the film «El Cristo de Los Milagros» in Esquipulas. Also, I had a small role in the movie «Terremoto en Guatemala» filmed in 1976.
¿And in what year you decide to attend the university?
In 1977, I started at the University of San Carlos to study medicine, so I walked away from filmmaking due to a lack of time, although I occasionally made commercial television. After living 20 years in California I returned to Guatemala in 2006.
¿Did Mario Enríquez support you in your return to the cinema?
In 2009 I met filmmaker Mario Enriquez who reintroduced me back to the national filmmaking scene, offering me a role–as the villain–in the film «8 Grados Terremoto en Guatemala» which I also served as associate producer. As a result it reawakened my desire to continue the legacy of my father Rafael Lanuza. I decided to produce the film «Soy de Zacapa» in 2011. The original screenplay was written by my father just months before his death–where I also played the role of villain. The latest production was «María Chinchilla, el Diario de una Martyr» also by Mario Enriquez in which I also participated as co-producer and actor.
¿With your film productions, have you preferred Guatemalan actors, or artists of other nationalities?
My biggest interest is to support national talent, although should the opportunity arise, I do not rule out the idea of working with international artists. I am a friend of the English actor Mark Lester (of the famous film «Oliver Twist», «The Child and the White Pony,» etc.) who has expressed interest in participating in my productions.
¿Your movie scripts, are they collaborations with national writers, your original ideas, how do you come up in the selection of stories?
I have been lucky to connect with the young talent of Mario Enríquez (film dIrector) who among his many talents, has a gift for writing scripts such as «8 Grados Terremoto en Guatemala», «María Chinchilla, El Diario de una Martyr,» etc. Mario also wrote the film adaptation from the original screenplay by Rafael Lanuza to «Soy de Zacapa.» We collaborated in the exchange of ideas as we shaped the stories.
¿In the making of your movies, do you have auditions to find new talents or already have particular cast in mind? A bit of both, I inherited my dad’s «good eye» to see someone’s possibility as the ideal person for a certain role and of course I have also organized auditions that have provided us with pleasant surprises with the many talents we have found.
¿What film productions do you have in mind in the short, medium to long range? At the moment I have the production of «La Calle Donde tu Vives,» a television series in homage to the great storyteller Héctor Gaitán. I’d like to produce a film version of the award winning play «Pepián de Tres Carnes» based on the original story by Edgar Quiñónez, we have already had talks. I have been proposed for a co-production Guatemala-Mexico-Venezuela, which we are assessing the feasibility of carrying out.
¿How did the idea of the «La calle donde tu vives,» series arise?
My goal has always been to highlight Guatemalan values, in this opportunity we want to keep alive the work of the journalist, broadcaster, historian and overall great person Héctor Gaitán Alfaro. Nine books were published under the name of «La Calle Donde tu Vives,» what we are doing is presenting the stories in a visual way. We’re aiming at the high quality of film but in the format made for television.
¿Who are directly involved in the production of this series?
Mario Enriquez, Javier Corleto, Carlos Zecena and myself. We also have the support of excellent photographers, cameramen, make-up artists, technicians, actors, actresses and many more people.
¿How do you choose the actors involved? Thanks to the patronage of the owners of Casa Enriqueta in the historic center of Guatemala, there we conducted the auditions to cast the actors and actresses. Amazingly, we had over 200 people, including children, young people, adults, people with great experience as well as people who did not have any experience whatsoever but who are looking for an opportunity to dabble in film and TV.
¿What stories or anecdotes can you tell us? The best one of all was having my great friend journalist Heidy Sandoval who surprised everyone with her excellent audition with naturalness and presence.
¿In addition to the series «La Calle Donde tu Vives,» are there other projects? At the moment we are working on a blockbuster, which will be a co-production with two countries or more, and will count with the participation of national and foreign artists.
¿In your opinion how have you seen the development of «Los Invitados de Heidy/Heidy’s Guests?» Heidy is acquainted with them all, and with her charm and naturalness knows how to interview and make respondents confess all their secrets. The publication keeps always abreast with the people that are raising heads in the national art scene.
¿Can you invite your followers that read «Los Invitados de Heidy/Heidy’s Guests» Of course! Don’t miss «Los Invitados de Heidy/Heidy’s Guests» interviews, a relaxed and fun manner to meet all the men and women who are part of the history of art in Guatemala. «Heidy, blessings to you, your husband and to continue with this great work that you do with so much love».
Interview conducted by Heidy Sandoval Ruiz
Translations by René Corado
You can read the interviews on these links: