For filmmaker Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner), making movies for families is something he said makes him feel alive, especially when he gets to work with young actors.
“I don’t have kids, so that’s one of the reasons I enjoy making these films,” Arteta told Remezcla during a recent interview. “I get to be a part of a growing family for three or four months. I feed from that energy.”
There’s a whole lot of energy in Arteta’s newest film, Yes Day. Adapted from the children’s book of the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the film introduces the idea of an entire day where parents are not allowed to say no to any request their children make (with some limitations). The film stars Jennifer Garner (Juno) and Edgar Ramírez (Hands of Stone) as the courageous parents.
“I think [Yes Day] is a new concept, but I think you have to put some limits on it,” Arteta said. “The idea of giving up control for a whole day is probably scary for parents, but apparently after you do it for a couple of hours, they start enjoying it.”
Arteta had worked with Garner before on the 2014 family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which was also based on a children’s book.
“Jennifer has been doing actual Yes Days with her family for years, so this movie started with her because she wanted to share her experience with the world,” Arteta said. “She found it was liberating not only for the kids, but for the parents as well. When she came to me with a movie called Yes Day I thought, ‘How could I say no?’”
He also couldn’t say no to working with Ramírez, who caught his attention in the 2015 movie Joy opposite Jennifer Lawrence. Arteta said when he suggested they make the father Latino, everyone was on board immediately. Arteta said he has always been influenced by the positive Latino movies of the 1990s like Mi Familia (My Family) and Stand and Deliver.
“I feel like a wave of Latino-themed work is going to start happening soon,” Arteta said. “I feel mainstream America is ready and will accept all these different Latino cultures and stories. I’d like to be a part of that in a big way.”
Yes Day premieres on Netflix March 12.