The Cuban-born actor goes back to his roots for this very intimate film
Life was a lot different in Cuba in the 1950's from what it is now - Fidel Castro was not in power and the Cuban people loved being in the country. And to top it of, music came alive in clubs all across the country. But it all changed with the Cuban Revolution; Cubans never had the same rights they had before. Life was essentially not free anymore.
Legendary actor Andy Garcia came over to the States from Cuba at age 5 and has always looked at that time as a chance to tell the Cuban's point of view. In his latest film, The Lost City, he's done just that as director, producer, and actor. Andy portrays Fico, an owner of a popular Havana nightclub.
It took nearly 16 years, so you would think many chances would take place. Not so much; Andy was determined to get this story told and he knew eventually the film would get made. "The dream is the same, the story never changes. The execution of the story changes because you have perimeters that you have to function under - budgetary, weather, location. If I had my druthers, I would've filmed it in four different countries, but I could only be in one because that's all I could afford. You adapt yourself to tell the story, but the story never changes just the way you design it changes a little bit."
Andy got another legend in the Latino world to help write the script, Gabriel Cabrera Infante, who's Cuban himself. From the start, he knew Infante was the right choice. "I went to see him when I got the blessing from Paramount; he's one of the great novelists in Latin American literature. I went into his room and told him the idea, this basic idea of sort of "Casablanca" and the idea that someone would own a cabaret, and it's all inspirations also from his books Three Trapped Tigers and stuff like that. Although that's not the story he created, he would just nod and say, 'Okay. This can be done; it can be done.' We could have a sequence where we could attack the palace and I guess that he was curious that a young guy was so interested in Cuban history and knew about Cuban music and stuff. I guess that touched him and he said, 'Okay, we can work with that.' That was it and I went away and he delivered, in May 1990, a three hundred and fifty page screenplay."
Andy also scored the film as well; his music inspiration was once again, in his heart - it was Cuba. He had even been thinking about it as a kid. "Well, I started collecting Cuban music when I was very, very young; before I could drive, I was already collecting. Once I drove, I really started collecting because I could get to the stores whenever I wanted to. So in that collection, as I started forming the idea to make this movie, I had this vast collection at my house - and myself and Mr. Infante, who was also as dedicated about that world - between his suggestions and my own desires the movie was motivated by specific pieces of music and sequences designed around specific pieces of music. So I had all of those original recordings that I could pull from; then, I had recordings that I had been doing with Cachow for the past ten years. I started re-recording some things that I knew we were going to use in the picture and so that's the second element; then, I pre-recorded a couple of my themes before I went that I knew I needed."
Unfortunately, Gabriel Cabrera Infante passed away last February, before the film was completely finished.
The Lost City opens in Miami and other select cities April 28th; a wider release will happen in the coming weeks; it's rated R. The film also stars Enrique Murciano and Nestor Carbonell as Andy's brothers; there are also cameos from Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman.