Okay, it’s not a story we’d like—after all, telling stories about Cartel culture is a thorny issue. But the success of the movie “Emilia Perez at Cannes has definitely caught our attention. The film, starring Selena Gomez, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldaña, and Karla Sofia Gascon, received an 11-plus-minute standing ovation at Cannes over the weekend. 

The Spanish-language crime comedy musical, directed by Jacques Audiard, matched Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 war drama “Inglorious Basterds” in terms of applause—apparently the measure of success of films at the Cannes Film Festival—last Saturday. As Complex explained, the ovation for “Emilia Perez” was also the biggest of the festival this weekend.

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An unexpected plot

Audiard, known for films like “Rust & Bone,” first wrote “Emilia Perez” as an opera libretto in four acts. He wanted to tell the story of Rita (Saldaña), an overqualified and underrated lawyer. She works at a big law firm that is more interested in getting criminals off the hook than bringing them to justice, Deadline explained.

One day, she receives an unexpected way out when cartel leader Manitas (Gascón) hires her. He wants to retire from his business and realize a plan he has been secretly preparing for years: to become the woman she has always dreamed of being.

Although ‘Emilia Perez’ was inspired in Mexico, Audiard decided to shoot the movie in Paris

The film’s shooting was scheduled to begin in the fall of 2022. However, scheduling conflicts among cast members caused a six-month delay. And while Mexico was the initial location for “Emilia Perez,” the director decided to move the whole production to a studio near Paris.

In a conversation with Variety, Audiard said that working in a studio allowed them to “produce more form” for the movie’s rich visual style. However, he assured that the interior scenes included the reconstruction of an “authentic Mexican backdrop.”

Perfect casting and Selena Gomez’s first Spanish-language film

Pascal Caucheteux produces “Emilia Perez” in co-production with France 2 Cinéma and Mexico’s Pimienta Films. Spanish transgender actress Karla Sofia Gascon plays Emilia Perez. Selena Gomez is Jessi, Zoe Saldaña is Rita Moro Castro, and Edgar Ramirez is Gustavo.

It is also the first acting project entirely in Spanish for Gomez, who was moved to tears last Saturday by the film’s overwhelming ovation.

Although we’ll have to wait until Aug. 28 to watch “Emilia Pérez,” film critic Bilge Ebiri describes it as “a cross between ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ and ‘Sicario’ reimagined as a musical,” and we simply can’t wait.