“Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto is rolling solo during his film’s promotional tour and he wishes he was sharing the moment with his stars amid the double strikes. “It’s unfortunate that the strike happened right before we started promoting the movie,” Soto told TheWrap in an interview during the film’s promo stop in Dallas.
Of course, everybody would love for it to happen after the movie premieres, so that at least our actors have the time to shine and to be celebrated and see how most people are connecting with their stories,” Soto continued. “A lot of these young kids that are watching the movie see themselves represented in them [the characters] because it’s a beautiful experience I’ve been able to witness.”
The Boricua filmmaker from Santurce, Puerto Rico still has stops to make in Miami, Toronto, and New York before the film’s gala premiere in Los Angeles next week.
Soto is also aware how the strikes this month are having a profound effect on films made by filmmakers of color.
“We all can agree that [the strikes] affect disproportionately to minorities,” Soto said. “At the same time, I have nothing [but] respect and support for my actors who are fighting the good fight, and our writer too. They’re fighting the good fight for better pay, for better treatment, so that the money is better distributed between the people [who] are creating this content.”
“Blue Beetle” tells the story of Jaime Reyes (Xolo Mariduena), a young man who becomes a reluctant superhero when he acquires a mysterious object known as the Scarab.
When DC’s latest comic book movie hits theaters on Aug. 18, it will be the first superhero feature starring, written and directed by Latinos on the big screen. This event has the potential to be what “Black Panther” was for Black audiences and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was for AAPI viewers: a celebration of a film representing marginalized audiences in a Hollywood landscape that remains remarkably white.
Soto knows that for many of his actors they are are sacrificing this unique opportunity.
“They’re sacrificing it for the greater good at the end of the day,” Soto said. “So for me, they’re heroes in their own right.”
His actors would have wanted nothing more than to be alongside him promoting the movie, according to Soto. “So I hope their sacrifice is not in vain,” Soto said. “I hope everything concludes quickly because we want them to enjoy this moment. I also want them to help me out a little bit.”
Soto might be front facing for the promo tour, but he is also getting a lot of help from the film’s outdoor promotion, where the poster and imagery are plastered on billboards, bus stops and train stations, a first for a superhero film centered around a Latino.
“I’m very happy that finally we’re able to see how the whole promotion is being manifested,” Soto said. “Us seeing a Latino superhero of our own in Times Square is something that, if were think about it, is that even possible? Now it’s happening!”
“Being able to not only be promoted in the areas where our community transmits, but to also be up there with the other big posters and the big movies just shows you the power that we have and that we can also be the heroes that we know we can be,” he explained.
Soto also noticed the efforts of the #BlueBeetleBattalion online and loves what they’re doing.
“The reaction of the people and the awareness that is building up, starting with #BlueBeetleBattalion with the kids online making memes and having fun with this, and now moving forward with actually seeing it everywhere, the engagement has been beautiful.”
“Blue Beetle” is in theaters August 18.