When thinking of Hollywood family royalty, one must include names like the Coppolas, Barrymores and Fondas as some of the most important family units to work in the business for as long as it has been around. Although they would be the last to admit it, the Derbez family is making a case for themselves on the impact they, too, are currently having on the film and TV industry.
One of the youngest acting members of the Derbez family is Vadhir Derbez. The 30-year-old is the son of actor Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City of Gold) and grandson of the late Silvia Derbez, who performed in classic Mexican cinema throughout the 1940s and ‘50s. His half-sister Aislinn Derbez (Miss Bala) also acts, as does his half-brother José Eduardo Derbez (TV’s Renta congelada) and stepmother Alessandra Rosaldo (Spare Parts).
My mother always helped me understand that I should never let it go to my head.
They all star in the reality show De Viaje Con Los Derbez, which will begin its second season next month on the streaming platform Pantaya.
Aside from that, Vadhir Derbez is starring in his very first lead role in an American movie. In The Seventh Day—which is currently playing in select theaters and on VOD—Derbez stars as Father Daniel Garcia, a novice priest who teams up with legendary exorcist, Father Peter Costello (Guy Pearce), to help save a young boy possessed by a demon.
Although Derbez has worked on an American production before (he played a younger version of his father’s character in the 2017 comedy How to Be a Latin Lover), starring in The Seventh Day was an entirely different experience. Working on North American movies is something he hoped to start doing when he moved to Los Angeles about three years ago.
“Most of my career has been in Latin America and in Spanish,” Derbez tells Remezcla. “I moved here looking to cross over. It’s been a journey. You have to be patient. Finally, it’s starting to pay off and things are starting to pick up. I’m very happy that I’m transitioning to English-language projects.” Not only is The Seventh Day an English-language film, it is, of course, a horror movie, a genre that Derbez said he had always wanted to do.
“Doing a horror film was something I had never done before,” he says. “I think the U.S. is one of the best places to do a horror film. My best friend was like, ‘I love you, man, and I watch all of your movies, but I don’t think I want anything to do with a movie about [exorcisms]. I just laughed. So, hopefully some brave people will show up and give it a try.”
As for coming from a family of actors, Derbez credits his mother, Silvana Prince, for keeping him “humble” all these years. Derbez started his career on Spanish-language TV shows like Mujer, casos de la vida real and Cómplices al rescate when he was only 10 years old.
I think the U.S. is one of the best places to do a horror film.
“I’m definitely grounded,” he said. “My mother always helped me understand that I should never let it go to my head.”
Derbez said he’s extremely proud of what his family has built over the years, in both the American and Mexican film and TV industries.
“I’ve always acknowledged what we’ve been able to do, but never to the point where I’m like, ‘Oh, we’re this or that,’” he shares. “We’re a family who is very passionate about what they do. I thank God that we are very successful in the things we are doing. I know for myself, I try to dream as big as possible.”
Dreaming big includes, hopefully, one day getting to work with one of the big three Mexican filmmakers and Oscar winners in Hollywood today—Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). Oh, and Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel).
“[Anderson] is so good with everything he does—the editing, the colors… it’s so nice,” Derbez says. “I would love to be in a movie like that. I love being in that kind of creative world.”