In a world where world where “cultural appropriation” is considered PROBABLY WORST THING EVER – and Justin Bieber‘s dreadlocks are cause for international outcry – one would think that bringing back Speedy Gonzales would be problematic, at best. But stereotypes be damned – that’s exactly what’s happening. And Warner Bros is doing it explicitly to counter the rise of racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration sentiment surrounding Donald Trump‘s campaign.
“We see this as an origin story of the great master, like a Robin Hood character, who ultimately ends up taking from the rich and giving to the poor,” producer Dylan Sellers told Deadline. “In a time when Donald Trump is gaining momentum, the world needs Speedy more than ever.”
History has not been kind to the animated mouse. He was originally voiced by Mel Blanc, who was prone to yelling “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!” and other bits of pidgin Spanish, and dressed in a stereotypically Mexican manner. The other mice Speedy encountered were usually characterized as lazy or drunken. In the past decades, American TV has banned the cartoon outright, labeling it “offensive.” Nevertheless the character has been called “an icon” by the League of United Latin American Citizens andis still incredibly popular in Latin America, and has appeared globally in numerous Looney Tunes productions over the decades.
The 21st century Speedy Gonzales will be voiced by Mexican actor, screenwriter, and director Eugenio Derbez.
“In Mexico we grew up watching Speedy Gonzales. He was like a superhero to us, or maybe more like a revolutionario like Simon Bolivar or Pancho Villa,” said Derbez. “He watched out for the little people but with a lot of bravado and a weakness for the ladies. I’m really excited to be bringing this character to the big screen. And besides being Mexican, my full name is Eugenio Derbez Gonzalez and I have big ears. The casting couldn’t be better.”
There are no plot details yet, although Warner Bros describes the movie as a “heist caper”. While there’s no release date either, it is said to be on a fast track production schedule, and the studio will be releasing it bilingually, with Spanish and English language versions. (via Wired)