Q&A: 'How the Gringo Stole Christmas' brings a classic movie trope to East LA

Andrea Flores, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

What is Christmas without a little bit of family drama? A new twist on meeting your partner’s family has arrived this holiday season in “How the Gringo Stole Christmas,” directed by Angel Gracia and starring George Lopez.

The holiday comedy, which was released last week, is Gracia’s second major film after his directorial debut, “From Prada to Nada,” in 2011.

Lopez plays Benny, the patriarch of a Mexican family from East L.A.

When Benny’s daughter Claudia, played by Emily Tosta, brings home her white boyfriend Leif, played by Jack Kilmer, it creates tension in his East L.A. home during the Christmas season.

For some of the film’s supporting roles, Gracia looked to popular social media figures like content creators Justice Alexander, Francisco Carillo, Jairo A. Orozco and Bryan Rojo. The film also casts queer influencer Anthony Zuniga as Claudia’s gay ex-boyfriend, Javier.

Ahead of its release, Gracia and Tosta spoke to De Los about the film.


The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

How was the experience for you both in directing and acting?

Gracia: My cast was just lovely. Shooting a movie in three weeks in Jackson, Mississippi, is not easy, so it helps that you have a good cast.

Tosta: I think the reason why we were able to create such a safe and great environment for all of us to play around in is because (Gracia) was able to allow us the space to be creative and to step into our characters. He was so collaborative all the time and so receptive.


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