Netflix Films Venezuela-Set Spy Comedy In the Dominican Republic

Lead Photo: Kevin James in 'Grown Ups'
Kevin James in 'Grown Ups'
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As far as original content goes, Netflix keeps throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, and frankly, it hasn’t been a bad model for the digital streaming empire. That’s not to say, of course, that Netflix’s recent forays into feature film production haven’t been without their stumbling blocks. Just last year, Netflix took a stab at broad comedy with the decidedly unsubtle Adam Sandler vehicle The Ridiculous Six, and the result was by many accounts a cinematic disaster. One on end, Netflix claims the film went over swimmingly with subscribers, but some of the movie’s Native American extras walked off the set in protest, and critics universally lambasted the film’s overtly racist and unapologetically adolescent humor after its release.

Whether or not Netflix execs ultimately regretted locking into a four-picture deal with America’s consummate frat-house comedian, it seems they’re taking their new comedy schtick on the road to Latin America with a recently-announced Kevin James vehicle entitled True Memoirs of an International Assassin. Yes, Kevin James: the King of Queens, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, will be playing a pulp fiction writer who gets mistaken for an assassin-for-hire, kidnapped, and taken to Venezuela, where he is forced into an assassination plot.

So far we have South America, kidnappings, and assassinations, which is a great recipe for yet another ignorant Hollywood fart-joke fest that uses Latin American stereotypes as a comedy prop. Then again, maybe it will actually be an intelligent exploration of modern U.S.-Venezuela relations set against the backdrop of South America’s history of colonialism, slavery, and political upheaval. We won’t actually know until we see it, right?

What we do know, however, is that True Memoirs will be throwing more work in the direction of some beloved Latino actors, including Andy García, Yul Vazquez (the recurring Puerto Rican stereotype from Seinfeld), Genesis Rodriguez, and newcomer Maurice Compte (Narcos). It will also apparently be employing local crews down in the Dominican Republic, which is doubling for Venezuela on the production. Unsurprisingly, no Latinos seem to be involved in any of the film’s key positions, but at the very least director Jeff Wadlow can take a look at The Ridiculous Six for an exhaustive primer on how to make outdated, racist comedy — then do the opposite.

True Memoirs will be wrapping production in mid-February and will be available on Netflix’s streaming platform sometime in 2016.