In The Works

Premiere, August 1994

By Eliza Bergman Krause
ARAU ACCENTUATES HIS `WALK’

Like Water For Chocolate director Alfonso Arau is getting a taste of studio life. While Keanu Reeves has been cast as a chocolate salesman who falls in love with an upper-class Mexican woman named Victoria in A Walk in the Clouds, the powers-that-be at Fox expressed concerns that the female lead should be well-known too – and that would mean two non-Latin leads in a picture with Mexican protagonists. “The problem is,” says Arau, “for Victoria there is [no one] in the United States who is a star who is also Hispanic.” Just the kind of thing the Latin community likes to hear: “They are always struggling, that’s their duty, and they take certain positions beforehand without knowing. At one point they attacked me because they said we offered the part to Winona Ryder. That was not true, they invented it.” (Arau does, however, plan to offer Ryder this next project, entitled Regina.) The Walk script, originally developed by Jerry and David Zucker at MGM, was written with Italians in mind. Arau had that changed, creating six substantial roles for Hispanics, including the role of Victoria: “So far all the candidates we have are Latin and I’m not having any problem from the studio.” Of course, “[Fox] would prefer that [she] doesn’t have an accent.”