Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Dora the Explorer is such a familiar name for many kids – and parents. Dora the Explorer became a regular series in the year 2000, and is one of the longest-running series on Nick Jr.
My daughter watched it when she was a little girl, and I liked that it was fun, educational and very interactive. I think everyone either grew up on it or has watched it with a child or grandchild!
Now Dora the Explorer has been made into a live-action movie. It’s about Dora, now grown up as a teenager who leaves the jungle life she grew up on to start a new adventure in high school.
Our family saw it an advance screening of the movie last week, and this week, thanks to Allied Global Marketing, I had the honor of interviewing two of the stars, Isabela Moner and Eugenio Derbez! Isabela plays Dora, and Eugenio plays Alejandro, who helps Dora and her friends try to save her parents. Eugenio also co-produced the film.
My Interview with Isabela Moner and Eugenio Derbez
What’s it like to interview celebrities?
Isabela and Eugenio were scheduled for a meet and greet in the Rotunda of the Mall of America on Thursday, August 8th from 1:00 – 3:00pm, and a small group of local bloggers and journalists were invited for a round table interview of the actors in a private room at the mall beforehand. I was thrilled to be invited for this opportunity.
We sat at a small table and the whole thing felt like it went by pretty quick. We each took turns asking questions and then we had the opportunity to get our photos taken with the actors for our outlets.
Interviewing them was a blast. They were very nice and enjoyed sharing some laughs and interesting tidbits about their experience making the film.
Question: My family enjoyed the movie, especially my 11-year-old daughter. I think the movie is for all generations but I’ve heard it’s targeted especially to tweens and teens who grew up with Dora. What are your thoughts?
Derbez – My kids grew up watching Dora. I also have a 5-year-old kid who watches Dora every morning. The cartoon is simple. The movie appeals to a broader audience.
Moner – For the key demographics, I think it was moms and their kids who are like 8 years old. I really think it speaks to everybody in a way, especially my generation that really grew up with Dora.
Question: How much fun was it to film something like this? With all the work you’ve done between voice work, Transformers, Overboard, but what was it like to film something action-packed and fun but still very light-hearted and family-friendly?
Moner – It was amazing, working with all the stunt work and each other, and everyone is improvising. You’re working with these CGI characters so you have to work with these things like stuffies, that are the size and shape of them, but they don’t look as cute as them, so it was kind of scary (laughs). But it was a great time.
Derbez – For me it was a dream come true. I grew up watching Hollywood action movies and I always wanted to be part of them. I never thought it was going to happen but it happened so I was really, really happy. I wanted to do all my stunts because it was fascinating, even though it was hard. I really wanted to be the guy doing everything, you know. So it was a lot of fun. It was scary, it was very demanding, and probably the most exhausting film physically that I’ve done. We went through all that. All the cardio. The underwater scene, the quicksand. Everything was real. The log also. We were inside a log rolling.
Moner – We did a simulation-type thing so it was in a soundstage but they had the trunk rolling and we were inside of it. We had to just not get hurt! But someone threw up. (laughs)
Derbez (laughing) – It was really hard. It was really, really hard.
Moner – We don’t know who but we know where. (laughs)
Question (to Moner): Piggybacking on the conversation about the animated show…How can you relate to Dora? Dora is a couple years younger than you but the whole high school experience…if you could relate to that at all?
Moner – I actually went to middle school and I had to leave because I was doing work. I remember middle school being terrifying. I had been to many schools like public, private, catholic. I appreciate Dora’s parents home-schooling her. You go at your own pace and they don’t tell you how to think, so I really appreciated that. I could relate to the peer pressure and the feeling of not really fitting in necessarily anywhere but I just function in different ways than everybody else. I didn’t really have a social circle – it was kind of just me doing my own thing.
Question – In an interview you did with Forbes you shared that you were excited about Peruvian culture and that it was getting exposure on such a large scale, and that you were learning Quechua, an indigenous language. Can you talk a bit about that learning process and what it was like?
Moner – It was crazy. I never imagined that I would ever be learning Quechua for a movie but never say never, right! So I got to learn it and I had a voice memo to work; just a voice memo from San Marcos University in Peru. And that was all I had.
Derbez – It was an unwritten language, right?
Moner – It was the language of the first people (the Incas). They used a Quipu, which is like knots on a rope. The knots mean different things. It’s crazy. Usually you just learn the language from hearing other people speak it, so a lot of my older relatives knew how to speak it so I called them if I needed an extra translation.
Question: Do you have a favorite scene?
Derbez – Watching it, my favorite scene was the quicksand. But performing wise it was the one of the most difficult scenes. It was like a week and it was insane and really demanding. That and the underwater scene.
Moner – There was the scene underwater and the scene where we get pulled underwater after Randy saves the day and we go on the waterslide. They built a huge waterslide inside the soundstage and we got to go down at least 30 times. It was so fun. There was a big pool as well.
Derbez – They wanted us to hold our breath for 2 minutes. I thought it was going to be impossible. I said I can’t do more than 45 seconds. But they trained us for like a week and finally we did it. But it was really hard. Before the scene we had to be treading water for several seconds and it was very exhausting.
Moner – It was hard to breathe fully (take a full breath in) when you’re already treading water. And we were dressed – we had our clothes, backpack and shoes. It was really hard.
Derbez – you were almost drowning.
Moner – I was drowning, yeah. The water’s right here (shows with her hands) and we were in this really tight space. Everyone was kicking water because we’re trying to stay above. We were all choking but I actually started choking. We were already rolling and they were like “3,2,1” and they were going to pull us underwater but I couldn’t tell them I was choking because I was choking.
Derbez – They thought she was laughing.
(We all gasped and laughed with them.)
Moner – But things like that happen.
Me: Well, that probably wasn’t your favorite moment of the movie! (laughing)
Moner – I think it turned out great (laughing). I hope they use the actual take.
Derbez – But the dancing scene. The salsa – that was your favorite, right?
Moner – That was my favorite, yes. I’ve always wanted to sing and dance in a movie so that was a cool little taste of it.
Question – You were acting with big people in the business, Eva Langoria, Michael Peña… how was it?
Moner – It was great. I feel like everybody in the cast was really hard-working and everybody had their own little moments to shine. Everyone was really good at improv. Specifically I feel like especially Michael, Eva, – they made me feel comfortable with improvising. I had not done much comedy in the past. Seeing them really inspired me to feel comfortable with that, and being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Question – What are your thoughts on the representation of Latinos in Hollywood today?
Derbez – Representation in Hollywood I think right now is really important. The timing is perfect. It’s good to tell our people that with the Dora movie that everything is cool and to tell the kids who speak Spanish that it’s ok and that it’s a good thing. I’m glad that the movie came out at this very moment when we need that support.
Moner – We need to unite. We need to support each other more than anything because in the industry, at least my point of view of things, there aren’t many Latinos and Latinas. I see the same people at every audition and it’s the same kind of roles, the same kind of dialogue, and the same attitude. It would be great to see some diversity or at at least some more roles that are ethically ambiguous but are given to other people…that representation without it being overtly like “this is representation.”
It was great with Eugenio producing it because he made sure it was authentic and it wasn’t like “Google translate Spanish.” He made sure that the dialect was correct and that there were no stereotypes. In fact, I’m sure he’s faced many of them, so it was good.
Question: Do you guys have any favorite cartoons that you’d love to see made into live action adaptations?
Moner – I’ve got some weird ones. I grew up with Clifford the Big Red Dog – I love dogs. I also like Dragon Tales. Those would be great to see made into adaptations.
Derbez – I grew up watching the Flintstones – that was my favorite.
After the interview
Following the interview, we took pictures with the actors, and then we left as they prepared to go to the Rotunda for the Meet & Greet happening from 1-3pm. There were many people excited for their arrival!
About the Movie
In addition to interviewing the actors, I saw the movie with my family. Here’s the synopsis:
Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for her most dangerous adventure ever – High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), a mysterious jungle inhabitant (Eugenio Derbez), and a rag tag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña) and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold.
My Movie Thoughts
I thought the movie was fun and exciting. It was like a mix of movies like Indiana Jones or National Treasure, but for today’s younger generations.
The movie did a good job of portraying Dora as an upbeat, quirky, smart and adventurous real-life teen who is true to herself no matter what others think. She’s a good role models for girls like my own daughter.
The movie is actually like 3-in-1. The first third transitions Dora as a 6-year-old girl, as in the animated show, to the middle of the movie, which follows Dora leaving the jungle life to attend high school and navigate teen life with her cousin Diego. The final third is an adventurous journey with Dora and her friends through the jungle as they try to find the treasure in the lost city of gold. The story going through all these different transitions keeps you engaged and the actors were wonderful wherever the story took them. And Boots, the monkey, and Striper, the fox, as well as other animated animals, added fun and cuteness throughout the movie.
Notes for Parents
As a parent, there are some things to note. Though it’s ideal for tweens and teens and their parents, it was definitely not a G-rated movie (it was PG). Some scenes were surprising to see, like when Dora sang a song about going “poo” in the jungle, and in a brief animated scene, when the characters inhaled some drug from some flowers, and Alejandro went running naked into the jungle alone. Because of scenes like these, I wouldn’t bring young children. It was definitely not written for preschoolers, but rather for those who grew up on the cartoon themselves. Nonetheless, it did have good messages for all ages.
Run time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Rating: PG for “action and some impolite humor”
In theatres: August 9th, 2019
Check out the movie preview:
For more information about the movie: