Lionsgate Releases First Pantelion Film on Disc30 Mar, 2011 By: Angelique Flores
Lionsgate’s From Prada to Nada had several firsts.
It is the first movie from Pantelion Films, which was launched last September by Lionsgate and Televisa to produce films for the U.S. Latino market.
It was the first feature film from director Angel Gracia.
And it was the first time actress Alexa Vega plays a bitchy character.
Lionsgate releases the film, which garnered $3 million at the box office, on DVD ($19.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($19.99) May 3.
The romantic comedy takes a Latino twist on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and stars Vega and Camilla Belle as two sisters who live in Beverly Hills with their dad. Nora (Belle), the smart and serious sister, and Mary (Vega), the snobby, spoiled sister, must move to East Los Angeles with their feisty aunt (Oscar nominee Adriana Barazza) upon their dad’s sudden death, which left them broke. In a new setting and without their luxurious clothes, cars and maids, the two young ladies must learn to navigate with just the necessities, finding new values and love along the way. The film also stars Wilmer Valderrama as a street-tough artist, Kuno Becker as a suave teacher and Nicholas D’Agosto as a lawyer with a heart of gold.
“Mary is kind of awful,” Vega said about her character. “I never played a character like that. I was really excited to dive into this annoying kind of bitchy girl.”
Gracia had to dive in to his role as well. Having had a long career as a director of music videos and commercials, Gracia made his feature film debut with Prada. And it wasn’t until days before shooting started that he was named director.
“It was very scary,” he said. “It was a project that I had not developed. I had to step in. I came in late, but you learn and make it your own in the process. … We all brought something to the table.”
Vega said she and Valderrama rewrote the final scene for their characters and that Gracia added some quirky charm and removed some of the “cheesy” dialogue. She said Gracia used his “cheesometer” (his iPhone) to gauge if a scene or dialogue was too cheesy to keep.
“I told them to give me ideas of how they would perform those lines since they’d been working with those characters longer than I have,” Gracia said. “We reviewed the ideas and chose the best ones daily. My rehearsal and rewriting was all the same as shooting. I was afraid because you have no time to sleep. … We survived it.”
Vega also recalls “working nonstop,” but still had a blast.
“Everyone who has been part of Prada is like my family,” she said. “Wilmer, Camilla and I go salsa dancing every Monday.”
Bonus materials on both versions include deleted scenes; bloopers; a From Prada to Nada featurette; a “SPARC Your Imagination with Judy and Wilmer” featurette, in which Valderrama and real-life muralist Judy Baca tour her organization, SPARC, which advocates art programs for youth; and a “Mi Familia” featurette, with Gracia and the five stars of the film having a casual, roundtable discussion about the making of the movie while sharing funny stories, how they became friends and the cultural significance of the film for the Latin community.
“It’s like the audio commentary, but it’s a little more spontaneous,” said Gracia, who added that he included the kinds of extra features he likes to see on a DVD of a movie he likes. “I worked quite hard to make interesting features for my first movie. Next time around I want even more.”