Luis Gerardo Méndez hopes 'Half Brothers' sparks important conversations during holidays

The Mexican actor says the comedy will surprise you with its themes of family, empathy and the immigrant experience.
The road trip comedy "Half Brothers" provides laughs while exploring the immigrant experience. Actor and executive producer Luis Gerardo Méndez says that while this film is hilarious, it will also open the door for families to have important conversations during the holidays.

The film follows Mexican aviation executive Renato, played by Méndez, who visits his ill father and shockingly learns that he has an American half brother, Asher (Connor Del Rio). The two go on a road trip together to uncover their father's past and why they never met.

The comedy serves as a metaphor for Mexicans and Americans, according to Méndez: "We are half brothers and we are not that different."

Méndez also said it was important for them to represent migration to the United States with dignity. But in this movie, rather than focusing on the immigrant's perspective at first, they turned the camera to the family who stayed behind.

"What happens with the family that stays?" Méndez posed. "What happens with all those emotional scars with the people that stay in Mexico and with the people that go to the States and they cannot come back?"

While tracing his father's migration journey from Mexico to the United States, Renato soon realizes that his father did not willingly abandon him as a child.

Méndez gained fame starring in Mexican television shows and movies, and more recently acted in "Murder Mystery" and the "Charlie's Angels" reboot. However, he said this role as a successful businessman is the most important one he's played in an American movie.

"For me it was really important to see myself represented on the screen in a different way," Méndez said.

The actor recalled seeing the film in theaters and watching audiences laugh throughout the majority of it, but described the last 15 minutes of the film as an "emotional rollercoaster," as it deals with complex family relations and finding empathy for others.

"Empathy -- it's been the theme of this year," Méndez said. "The film resonates with that more than you're expecting when you're seeing a comedy like 'Half Brothers.'"

"Half Brothers" will be available on demand beginning Weds., Dec. 23.
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