Cassandro, starring Gael García Bernal, is coming to Prime Video on September 22!
Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, rises to international stardom after he creates the character ‘Cassandro,’ the “Liberace of Lucha Libre.”
In the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life. Based on a true story. Directed by Academy Award® winner Roger Ross Williams, who sends viewers a message here, the film currently has a 100% rating on film critics website, Rotten Tomatoes. Bernal, 44, is the son of two renowned Mexican actors.
He landed on our gaydar in Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education in 2004 and kissed Diego Luna in 2001’s Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother, Too). In Cassandro he shares a kiss with his co-star Bad Bunny, who has said he found the experience “very cool”.
Written by David Teague & Roger Ross Williams and starring Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla de la Rosa, Joaquín Cosío, and Raúl Castillo, with special appearances from El Hijo del Santo and Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (Bad Bunny). Produced by Gerardo Gatica, Todd Black, David Bloomfield, Ted Hope, Julie Goldman. Executive produced by Gael García Bernal, Paula Amor, Mariana Rodríguez Cabarga, A. Müffelmann, Matías Penachino, David Teague, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch.
“This journey started five years ago, when I met Cassandro because I directed a documentary about him, The Man Without a Mask, for The New Yorker series on Prime Video. I didn’t know much about Mexican Lucha Libre, as is likely the case for most people from the U.S. With my crew, I flew down to El Paso, Texas, and met Cassandro. From the first day, I was just blown away by his inner spirit and joy. He has an aura, a light; he is filled with this positivity and has struggled so much, and I was very moved.
That night in El Paso, we went to a tequila bar after shooting, and I told them, “this is my first fiction film.” Also, from the beginning as we were writing the script, I thought only one person could play Cassandro, and that was Gael García Bernal.
I know every production has obstacles, but we had significant challenges to overcome – from COVID to 100-degree shoot days – and we thought this project was dead many times. It’s a miracle we got here, but when it comes to stories that deserve to be shared with the widest possible audience, Cassandro’s is among the most worthy.
“Building the script was a long and interesting process I went through with David Teague. As a documentarian, I wanted to stay true to the real Cassandro, and his story was so complex, complicated, and fascinating, with so many twists and turns that we had to pare it down. The story had everything in it, including, of course, the crazy world of Lucha Libre. Cassandro went through rejection for so many years and had this sort of need to prove himself to the world. He has something to prove to everyone. And he loses everything and realizes that it’s serving a bigger purpose of being inspiring to young gay kids, giving him much more satisfaction and much more purpose in life than serving himself. We made it a very profoundly personal emotional story.
True to the spirit of Saúl, a larger than life Mexican-American icon, this film wouldn’t have been possible without all of our collaborators on both sides of the border, who generously brought their own experiences, insights and perspectives to this incredibly rich story. That partnership helped make this a truly universal story – one that I think people will identify with it because no one feels like they’re on top of the world and they’re the best. Many of us feel like outsiders, and everyone has experienced rejection, alienation, and loneliness… that Cassandro has also experienced.
I want audiences to go on a journey where they will laugh and, hopefully, cry. It’s like an emotional rollercoaster, from joy to sadness. It will be a fun ride because of Mexican Lucha Libre’s very entertaining, colorful world.
I want Cassandro to be a fantastic experience for international audiences to discover this world and its complexity through this absolutely fascinating character. I’m truly excited for everyone to see it.”
In select U.S. theaters September 15 and streaming globally on Prime Video from September 22.