Interviews TV

Acapulco’s Co-Creators Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman on Máximo’s Past Regrets Shaping His Future

Las Colina is a gorgeous resort where people from around the world go to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor. The sunny beaches and the warm water welcome tourists as the staff at Las Colina are there to make sure their stay is as wonderful as the weather. Eager to greet and assist guests in all their needs is Cabana boy Máximo Gallardo (Enrique Arrizon) who is a shining example of going above and beyond in customer service, because for him this is not just a job but a dream of a lifetime.

In Apple TV+’s Acapulco it tells the story of twenty-something Máximo Gallardo (Enrique Arrizon), whose dream comes true when he gets the job of a lifetime as a cabana boy at the hottest resort in Acapulco. He soon realizes the job is far more complicated than he ever imagined and in order to succeed, he must learn to navigate a demanding clientele, a mercurial mentor, and a complicated home life, without losing his way to shortcuts or temptations.

Inspired by Ken Marino’s How to Be a Latin Lover Ken Marino, The Koalition spoke to Acapulco’s co-creators Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman before the show’s season finale, about how they blend comedy with charm, the important lessons Máximo learns in the first season, why they included the adult version of Máximo and more.

“The first important thing was to connect the show with [How to Be a Latin Lover] in a way and to see how [it fits] into that universe. [We wanted to] show there is a part of him that regrets the choices he made. In the past everything is upbeat, I love it. It’s very happy but you know that is building up to a lot of things that now in hindsight to him know feel like they were not the right choices and it’s very ad hoc to the world we live in where now everybody looks at their past with the 2020 or 2021 lens,” said Eduardo.

“You look at the choices you made, [you] look at the things you said and then you go, ‘oh maybe that was not the smartest thing to say, that was not the best choice to make.’ So how do you reconcile who you are now when if it wasn’t for that person, you wouldn’t be here but that doesn’t mean you don’t regret some of that stuff and that doesn’t mean that maybe the price that you paid to be where you are might have gone a little bit too far. So, I think that is an important counterpart of the past and the present.”

Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman found themselves inspired by How to Be a Latin Lover’s themes “about sacrifice, about the prices you have to pay to get ahead in life [and the desire] do better than your parents Even though the movie is even more comedic and broad, there is still that spirit of ‘you get a rough hand and everybody makes a different decision as to how to move forward in society and upward mobility.’ It was most about taking the DNA of that and trying to see how we further explore that and along the way made the decision to dial down certain aspects; especially the part of him being a womanizer. I don’t think that would have been a long life for a tv show. You will see in the first season the character is always asking himself and people around him ‘where’s the line? How far do you have to go? What is acceptable if the game is rigged? What is acceptable to move ahead and what is acceptable to survive and to thrive?’ That’s a little bit of the common thread,” said Eduardo.

“As we’re writing each episode we’re trying to take into consideration [the development of] the characters; [especially] our main character Máximo and Memo and the people at the hotel that we’re invested in [such as] Don Pablo, Chad and Julia. So, we’re trying to make sure any guests we bring in from the outside only enhances and allows us an ability to know more about the characters not just for some plot or comedic effect,” said Jason.

For instance, in episode three we have guests coming in for a photoshoot [inspired by] New York magazine high life [and] that really allowed us to get into Julia’s past and her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Then you get to have Máximo react to that, you get to have Chad react to that; so, if it’s thematically and character relevant, we love bringing in outside guests. If there’s a story line that can just focus on our main cast, we try to keep it a good balance,” Jason finished.

To learn more about Acapulco, check out our full interview in the video above.

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