When someone has had a career as successful as actor and comedian Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included, Overboard, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), it might come as a surprise to some people to find out that they’d like that career to go in a bit of a different direction.
After starring in Mexican TV comedies like La familia P. Luche and American comedies like Jack and Jill, as well as movies like How to Be a Latin Lover, Derbez hopes filmmakers begin to see him in a different light now that he has delivered a career-best performance.
In the drama CODA (short for Children of Deaf Adults), Derbez plays Bernardo Villalobos, a high school choir teacher who helps one of his students, Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), prepare for an audition that could land her a music scholarship at a prestigious school. When Ruby is not singing, she is helping her mother, father, and older brother – all of whom are deaf – make a living running their fishing business in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
For Derbez, it’s a “dream come true” for him to land a role like this, primarily since he is best known for his comedic performances. “I always wanted to be a dramatic actor, but for some reason, I ended up doing comedy,” Derbez told Remezcla during a recent interview. “In doing this film, especially because it’s a beautiful story, I hope this changes my career. I hope people see me differently because they have been looking at this comedic side only.”
While Derbez has starred in a few dramas before (some with comedy elements), including Under the Same Moon, Instructions Not Included, and Girl in Progress, CODA feels different. If there was ever a time Derbez could transition to more dramatic roles, it’s now. It’s a rare opportunity for an actor to hit the pinnacle of his career in a film that will likely earn awards recognition in the coming months.
“You do a movie you think is going to be really special, and then at the end, bad editing or a bad director or bad post-production changes everything, and it ends up being just another movie,” Derbez said. “In the case of CODA, it was the opposite. I think a lot of people are going to identify with this story.”
CODA debuts on AppleTV+ August 13.