'Cantinflas' Star Oscar Jaenada Discusses Film’s Mario Moreno-Inspired Soundtrack
As the Cantinflas film is being seen across the country over Labor Day weekend, fans of the late comedic actor Mario Moreno are also being treated to the soundtrack, which sets the tone beautifully for one of Mexico’s most celebrated entertainers.
The film stars Spanish actor Oscar Jaenada as Moreno, who became famous by performing as Cantinflas, the endearing and fast-talking street cleaner that made him relatable to the working class. Moreno, who starred in the classic film Around the world in 80 Days, achieved success in Hollywood but was considered a major star in his native country.
The film's soundtrack features Latin music from singer/songwriter Aleks Syntek to the Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia, fronted by La Marisoul, who sings the classic song “Tu Vida Es Un Escenario” (Your Life is Pure Theater). The song was made famous by the late Cuban singer La Lupe.
While the film's music was inspired by songwriters such as the legendary Agustin Lara, the soundtrack and the score honored the past with a modern flavor, said the film's producer Vidal Cantu, adding that the Mexican film in its initial run will be seen in 15 countries.
“We wanted the music to parallel the quality of the acting,” Cantu said. “To have artists like Aleks Syntek, Enrique Bunbury, La Santa Cecilia, Pate de Fua and Los Claxons be part of the album represents the best.”
Roque Banos Lopez, who is currently working on Ron Howard’s film Heart of the Sea, also scored the newly released Pantelion Films project, which also stars Michael Imperioli, who is best known for his work on The Sopranos.
Syntek, who wrote the song “Riete de Amor Hasta Que Mueras” (Laugh at Love Until You Die), said that his composition was inspired by Moreno's life and that he also recorded several versions to parallel the film’s bilingual approach since it shifts from English to Spanish.
Jaenada got in on the musical direction by asking his friend Bunbury to be part of the soundtrack.
“It added a different element to the film to have someone like Bunbury and Syntek,” Jaenada said. “You’ll feel the past through the music and yet it also has a modern vibe.”
As for playing Moreno and his iconic Cantinflas, Jaenada, a method actor, said it was one of the biggest challenges of his career, but a thrilling ride that doesn’t come around too often.
“Mario Moreno was an artist and a businessman,” Jaenada said. “He achieved so much with Cantinflas. For a Mexican to reach Hollywood the way he did back in the day is impressive. He came from humble beginnings: the circus and tent shows. I related to him in many ways."
"Cantinflas" opened Aug. 29 and in September will open in more theaters around the world, including Latin America.