Let’s get this out of the way early: “Acapulco” is not really a “How to Be a Latin Lover” sequel series, and Maximo in the Apple TV+ show is not really Maximo from the movie. But it kind of is, and he kind of is.
OK, so that probably didn’t clear up any confusion, but who cares? “Acapulco” is a sweet comedy — sweet, meaning both in its kind tone, and in that it’s pretty awesome. (And its rad ’80s timing and extra-’80s hot-pink Las Colinas resort setting, a real hotel that was completely repainted for the series.)
There almost was a traditional sequel to “How to Be a Latin Lover,” Eugenio Derbez, the star of both the movie and this streaming series, told TheWrap. But then they had a better idea: “I thought it would be interesting to see what happened to Young Maximo in that hotel,” Derbez said.
We should explain that part too. A vacation-destination hotel — a different one — was also the setting for the 2017 movie. But we’re almost at the end of the similarities.
In the movie, Derbez first played an older Maximo, this one an aging gigolo kicked out of his lifestyle as a (very) kept man. His real-life son, Vadhir Derbez, plays the 21-year-old version of that Maximo.
In the series, the older Derbez’s older Maximo is a billionaire and Younger Maximo (Enrique Arrizon) is the newest employee of the local Acapulco “it” resort. (The movie and the series also both star Raphael Alejandro in the role of Maximo’s nephew Hugo. We told you, it’s like the same, but not.)
Plus, Derbez didn’t want to box out people who didn’t see the movie, so they made this Maximo character “totally different.”
“Let’s say that it is *slightly* based on ‘How to Be a Latin Lover,’ but you don’t need to have any reference of the movie to enjoy the series,” he said.
How much did they alter for this version? Arrizon, who as Young Maximo really gets the lion’s share of the Maximo-allotted camera time here, saw the movie when it was released — but even he didn’t put together that this Maximo was kind of that Maximo all the way up until his audition.
After booking the role, Arrizon went back to the movie as his source material to align his own acting with Derbez. With COVID-19 safety protocols in place, the two actors sharing the same character shared the same bubble for months and months — but really only got to interact over Zoom. They made it work.
“I grew up watching Eugenio in the TV shows,” Arrizon told TheWrap. “He’s familiar to me … I took screenshots and I had every single scene of ‘How to Be a Latin Lover’ in my cell phone.”
And the dailies on Acapulco provided Arrizon with real-time source material. “Eugenio’s specific laugh helps me to get on the right tone,” he said of finding Maximo’s (literal) voice.
We promise we’re not going to go back to juxtaposing “How to Be a Latin Lover” and “Acapulco” again — but really only because we’ve got another comparison to get into here. “Acapulco” follows in the footsteps of another excellent Apple TV+ comedy, “Ted Lasso.” That one is also not a total coincidence, the Maximos told us.
“I was tired of watching all the platforms and 90% of the platform is violence,” Derbez, who fondly remembered watching shows like “The Love Boat” “The Addam’s Family” and “Beverly Hillbillies” with his parents, said. “It’s kidnapping, murders — and there’s nothing that’s family friendly.”
“We tried to do this,” he said of the show’s light tone. “It’s very refreshing to see something different and I think we’re heading toward a more family-friendly environment.”
“The writers and the producers and directors knew 100% where Apple wanted to go with its series,” Arrizon said. “This feel-good series, I think, it’s going to become the signature of Apple.”
“I think ‘Ted Lasso’ was the perfect path to go on and we are taking advantage of that,” he continued.
“Ted Lasso” just won seven Primetime Emmys, so yeah, we’d agree with that approach.
The “Acapulco” Season 1 finale will be available to stream Friday on Apple TV+.