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When I spoke with Roger Ross Williams about CASSANDRO on September 9, 2023, I wanted to get the obvious question out of the way. That would be about why he wanted to make a narrative about the eponymous, openly gay luchador after making a documentary about the exótico who became the exquisitely painted face of LGBTQ rights, not just in the world of lucha libre where he wrestled with both style and power, but in Mexico, too.
The film, Willams’ first scripted film, stars Gael García Bernal in an awards-worthy role, and has the same joyous spirit that Cassandro himself showed in the ring, but does not shy away from his heartbreaks. While exploring Cassandro’s social impact, Williams rightly made the center of his film close, tender relationship the wrestler had with his brash and passionate mother, Yocasta (played with verve and heart by Perla De La Rosa).
We went on to talk about why entertainment was the right way to re-educate the homophobes out there; the importance of the right costuming; and Gael García Bernal’s eyes.
The film co-stars Bad Bunny, Roberta Colindrez, Raúl Castillo, Robert Salas, Joaquín Cosio, and El Hijo del Santo as himself. Williams directed from a script he co-wrote with David Teague, and his previous work includes MUSIC FOR PRUDENCE and GOD LOVES UGANDA.