Matthew López, who recently became the first-ever Latine playwright to win a Tony Award, recently revealed that the script he is writing for the remake of the 1992 film The Bodyguard will feature a Latina protagonist.
“When Warner Bros. approached me about the idea, I quickly said I would, but I wanted the protagonist to be Latina,” López told Variety. “They agreed to that. It was important to me to use this opportunity to get Latin faces up on that screen and to get their stories told in a big way.”
Along with a Latina protagonist, López says he’s also planning to stray away from telling a story about a famous musician, like the character Whitney Houston played in the original film. Instead, his lead character will be someone who isn’t familiar with what it means to be a celebrity.
“Instead of focusing on an established star … this is about a young Latina performer who has just become famous,” he explained. “It’s about how her life has changed because she is an overnight sensation. In the 21st century, that means she’s in immediate need of protection.”
Despite his plans to write the character as a Latina, López doesn’t think that just because he is Latine himself means that he should only write scripts with Latine characters in mind. He was criticized in the past for having a white, Jewish protagonist in his Tony Award-winning play The Inheritance instead of a Latine lead.
“It is astonishing to me the way we are sometimes treated in this business,” he said. “Your last name is López, why aren’t you writing about rice and beans? If you’re not writing what we expect you to write or if you are not teaching me about the Latine experience in every single thing you write, then you are useless to us. It is the ultimate expression of white supremacy. You’re only good to us if you are teaching us about your culture.”