Park City, UT – The Sundance Film Festival has played a large part of Diego Luna’s career, and today the Utah festival has become a platform on which he can pay homage to someone who has played a significant role in his life: his dad.
Luna’s film, “Mr. Pig," addresses the complicated nature of parent-child relationships, and how both parties often begin to understand each other and fix past misunderstandings as they grow older.
"It’s about a father having a second chance to reconnect with his daughter,” Luna told Fox News Latino. "It’s my need to say to my father, now that I’m a father, 'I get it, dad. I’m sorry. Let’s start all over again.’”
The fictional film follows Ambrose (Danny Glover), an aging and broke American swine farmer who packs up his prized pig, Howie, and drives his old van into Mexico in the hope of selling him to Payo (José María Yazpik), the son of Ambrose’s late friend. After a disagreement, Ambrose rejects a generous offer by Payo and continues his search for a purchaser in Mexico.
Meanwhile, his worried and frustrated daughter, Eunice (Maya Rudolph), shows up after not hearing from her father. Their emotionally-charged encounter sparks an overdue reconciliation.
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Tuesday night’s world premiere in Park City marked the first time Luna let his father, the Mexican scenic director Alejandro Luna, watch the film. Diego said he wanted his father to see “Mr. Pig” in the theatre and experience the reactions of the first-ever audience.
“This film is a love letter to my father,” Diego told the audience at the screening, urging people to call their own fathers after the film and do some reconnecting.
An overwhelmed Alejandro told FNL about his son's film, “I liked it a lot.” But he added that he needed more time to process its sentiment and message.
At the premiere, a tearful Glover reminisced about his own relationship with his father, and told his costar Rudolph, “All of a sudden those moments when we were riding in that van together, and you don’t see it, but the camera sees it, and it was just so beautiful doing that with you.”
She gave Glover a hug, prompting a roar of applause from the Sundance audience and a tearful scene between the actors and Diego.
The movie's heartfelt depiction of love and forgiveness also offered an opportunity for the diverse cast to talk about other personal experiences.
Glover, who grew up in the Bay Area surrounded by Hispanics, said taking the role felt natural since he has always been close to Mexican culture. He said this road movie was a treat because he got to see a different side of Mexico as they traveled through small villages in Jalisco.
“Even though I don’t speak Spanish, there was always this kind of connection throughout my life with it,” he said, admitting that some of his favorite historical figures include Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.
Rudolph said she also felt a strong connection to her role in “Mr. Pig” because she has a deep love for Mexico, and it was time for her to participate in a film that was “meaningful and interesting."
She also stated, however, that her rare non-comedic turn had been a challenge.
“For me, just personally, it’s so much more vulnerable to be emotional, and I felt like I was ready to do that,” she said.
Diego’s long-time best friend Yazpik also spoke to FNL about the film.
“[Filming] always has a personal effect when it comes to Diego, because he’s so amorous and so generous,” Yazpik said. “The whole crew [and] the rest of the cast feels the same, so it’s a pleasure to work with him.”
Angela M. Santos is a freelance reporter based in Utah.