DDC spoke with Yordanka Ariosa and Jazz Vilá, two of the actors appearing in the film. Cuba's cultural authorities barred it from being shot in Cuba.


Jazz Vilá, actor and coach, told DIARIO DE CUBA that the movie script respects the core of the book. "It is a captivating story because it centers on a matter of destitution in Cuba which is rarely discussed or documented.Even if we wanted to, it was real, and we cannot erase it." he said.

In Pedro Juan's literature, you can find a lot of insight and depth.20 years ago, Vilá stressed, it was literature about Cuba's everyday life.

Throughout my life, I have never said so many bad words.

"In my view, they explored the dark and dismal aspects of that period; the blackouts, the decay. The characters are marginalized, and the idea is to portray that reality faithfully, through grimy makeup and tattered clothing; a bleak image of degeneration," said the actress.

Since the movie portrays the effects of the Special Period so starkly, it would be difficult for Cuba to allow it to be filmed there.

As part of the project, Villaronga went to the Dominican Republic with his actors.So far, The King of Havana has not been shown in Cuban theaters.

Playing the lead role

Jazz Vilá, who participated in the casting process in Cuba, described it as being divided into two parts.

."Maykol Tortolo is a non-actor, but he was a perfect fit for the role."

The musician himself plays Raulito.The character doesn't have a lot to do, but I loved him because he opens up a new world of masculine characters that are serious."

Raulito is a pusher, and a sort of pimp, and as a coach, I played a transvestite as well, the kind of role an actor does in the theatre, but not in cinema," he added.

Yurdanka Ariasa, who is known in Cuba for her theater work, played the leading role in her first film.

"She's a complex character who is likely to end up being a negative influence on audiences," she said.

ICAIC abandoned the project

As the casting had already been completed in Cuba, and possible locations selected, the ICAIC's refusal to allow filming in Havana led the team to search for other options.

This "delayed the film, which in fact was on the verge of never being made," said Vilá.This decision required a new casting process in the Dominican Republic, as well as a further casting in Spain.

Both San Pedro de Macor*s and Santo Domingo were the shooting locations.As part of the team and art director Alain Ortiz, the aim was to recreate the atmosphere of the Cuban capital.

"Havana has colors and scents that you cannot describe in a cinematic sense, but are part of the actors' realities.Cuba is an entirely unique place thanks to its deconstruction, atmosphere, construction, state, ambiance, and ambiance.There is nothing like the city."

In the past, Cuban cultural authorities have rejected coproductions with foreign directors, squandering the chance to explore world cinema.

Vila says "this will be another great movie by Agust* Villaronga.".It is unfortunate that we missed out on having someone of this caliber working in Cuba."