Eugenio Derbez Talks Hulu’s ‘The Valet’ & Love Letter Celebrating Essential Workers

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Comedy may be subjective, but for actor Eugenio Derbez (CODA), it also must be meaningful, so it can make an impact on an audience.

Derbez remembers once going to the movie theater with some friends, who ended up laughing raucously through the entire movie. When the movie was over, and they walked out of the theater, someone asked his friends if they enjoyed the film.

“They said, ‘Eh, it was good,’” Derbez, 60, told Remezcla during a recent interview. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?! You were cracking up!’ It was then that I realized that when a comedy doesn’t have a message or doesn’t have emotion or depth, it’s empty. You walk out of the theater, and you forget it.”

These days, Derbez would rather audiences remember the movies he’s in. So, he’s taken the approach to star in projects that he hopes will have a lasting effect. It’s something he was able to capture in his last film, the 2021 Oscar-winning crowd-pleaser CODA, and something he’s looking to emulate moving forward, including in his latest film The Valet.

In The Valet, Derbez plays Antonio Flores, a parking valet in Beverly Hills, who gets caught up in a scheme when a famous Hollywood actress named Olivia Allan (Samara Weaving) and her PR team recruit him to pretend he and the starlet are dating. Without his help, Olivia’s reputation could be ruined if the public finds out she is having an affair with a married politician (Max Greenfield).

Like CODA, The Valet allowed Derbez to play a character that is funny, heartfelt and genuine. Derbez said that ensuring there was an emotional aspect to Antonio was a top priority for him. He also wanted to make a film that recognized the working-class immigrants who are usually overlooked by society.

“We wanted to make a touching movie – a movie that could celebrate all the people who work in America like janitors, valets, waiters, cooks, everyone in this country,” Derbez said. “It’s a love letter to all of them. It’s also one of the funniest comedies I’ve done in my career.”

Derbez doesn’t make The Valet memorable on his own, however. His supporting cast, specifically late Mexican actress Carmen Salinas (Under the Same Moon), who plays Antonio’s amorous mother Cecilia, brings out the best in Derbez during their scenes together. Salinas died in December 2021 at the age of 82. The Valet was her final film.

“I feel blessed to be a part of this movie that happens to be the last movie that Carmen Salinas did in her life,” Derbez said. “It’s a pity that she was not able to watch the finished movie. We built a great relationship. I definitely think it is one of her best performances.”

Now, Derbez looks forward to making more movies that give him the opportunity to show what he can do as a dramatic actor. “Thanks to CODA…my next [movie] is going to be a true drama – no comedy at all,” he said. “I’m actually a little bit scared because it’s a big jump in my career. But I’m also very excited.”

The Valet, starring Eugenio Derbez, premieres on Hulu on May 20, 2022.