Ben Hernandez Bray’s ‘El Chicano’ Seeks to Fill the Void of Latino Superhero Movies

Lead Photo: Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Natural Resources Defense Council.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Natural Resources Defense Council.
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In a cinematic landscape where Latino superheroes are still non-existent we should praise any chance Hollywood throws their way, right? El Chicano is described as a “dark, urban-inspired superhero movie” now currently in production according to Deadline. The film focuses on a “mysterious barrio vigilante known as ‘El Chicano,’” though not much more is known beyond that.

The film has an interesting slate of stars, both up-and-coming and established. Raúl Castillo, Aimee Garcia, Kate del Castillo, and George Lopez have all recently been announced as starring in unnamed roles. Castillo is best known as a star of the HBO series Looking and is currently on the Netflix series Atypical. Del Castillo adds this to an ever-expanding resume that includes the Netflix series about her meeting with notorious drug lord, El Chapo. And comedian George Lopez most recently had a successful HBO stand-up special looking at our current political situation and his life. The group joins a cast that already includes David Castañeda, Noel G, Pablo Cantillo, Marco Rodriguez and Sal Lopez.

So the cast is solid, but what about behind the camera? El Chicano is set to be helmed by Ben Hernandez Bray, who up until this point has only directed television and is best known as a stuntman. It’s being co-written by Bray and Joe Carnahan, who is best known as the director of action films like Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team. Bray is of Irish and Mexican descent, but the fact he’s coupled with a white co-screenwriter is troubling, though not a death sentence. Furthermore, the language used in the studio copy – “barrio vigilante” and “urban-inspired” – denotes a possibly stereotypical viewpoint on this project. Would writers call Metropolis in the Superman universe “urban-inspired” even though it’s set in a facsimile of New York? Nope. Movie execs only use the term “urban” when referring to black or Latino films. Without having seen the film, we can’t make a final judgement but we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that they get it right.

There is no current release date for El Chicano.