christmas with you

Interview: Christmas With You Director Gabriela Tagliavini on Latin Representation

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to director Gabriela Tagliavini about her upcoming holiday film Christmas With You. The movie is set to debut on Netflix on November 17.

“Feeling career burnout, pop star Angelina escapes to grant a young fan’s wish in small town New York, where she not only finds the inspiration to revitalize her career but also a shot at true love,” reads the film’s logline.

Tyler Treese: Freddie Prinze Jr., this is his big return. We haven’t seen him in a while and it feels so right that he’s in a rom-com. How exciting was working with him, and did he pick up straight where he left off?

Gabriela Tagliavini: Yeah, it’s so funny you asked that question because it’s now becoming this viral news, the comeback of Freddie in this movie, Christmas With You. But he was actually nervous about coming back on the screen because he hasn’t acted in a few years. So at the end he told me “thank you for making it easy, because I was nervous,” and I didn’t realize he was so nervous until he told me at the end and we hugged and we cried. He did a wonderful job. He’s so talented.

The two leads are great. Aimee and Freddie have a great chemistry. When did you know that it was translating on screen and that this relationship was really going to impact viewers?

Luckily, they knew each other. Not a lot, but they like each other, and that was a great start. Then we did a lot of rehearsal to enhance the romance. So I’m glad it translates because a lot of people tell me that they have great chemistry, and that’s what rom-coms are all about.

One thing I like about the film is the whole pop star element. Aimee’s character is so fun. She’s doing these choreographed dances, but there’s also this element of burnout that she’s dealing with and is at a reflective point in her career. What did you find most interesting about seeing this pop star not at her peak but trying to figure out her next steps?

I love that about the story when I received the script. I love the idea of a pop star that is not, like you said, at her peak, because she’s closed down and not open in her heart. We always made the analogy of what would happen if Jennifer Lopez would go visit a fan just to grant her Christmas wish and take a photo, then falls in love with the father of the fan. I think that’s a great concept.

There’s such a great incorporation of so much of Latin culture in the film. How great was it putting in that representation?

Thank you! Yeah, this is the first time that Netflix has done a Christmas movie with an all-Latino cast and Latinos behind the camera. The producer’s Latino, the writer, the director, the composer, and that brings a whole flavor in, mixing the Christmas with the Latino music and food. I think it gives it an original flavor.

There’s such a rich history to Christmas movies and Netflix always does such a fun job each year releasing a few. What was most exciting about adding onto this tradition?

I love Christmas movies and I have already done a movie with Netflix called Despite Everything, but this is my second movie with Netflix and I’ve never done a Christmas movie. I am so excited that they had the vision to create a new Christmas movie that represents our culture.

I was curious if you had a favorite Christmas movie that you always break out each holiday season?

Yes, I love Love Actually. That’s my favorite Christmas movie because it’s grounded and it makes me cry every time I watch it, I’ve probably seen it like 30 times and I hope people feel the same way about Christmas With You, our movie., and that they laugh and they cry and they watch it this year and next year and the following year.


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