About The Production
Gloria Trevi, like many young hopefuls in Mexico, began her show-business
career by winning a spot in one of the fiercely competitive musical training
academies that develop talent on behalf of the national television networks. At
just 14, she became a member of Sergio Andrade's all-girl group, Boquitas
Pintadas, and became the star maker's standout protegee, eventually writing and
performing on a record-breaking solo album he produced. Trevi would become
Andrade's most magnificent creation, as well as his lover and the mother of his
child before almost being destroyed by his tumultuous personal life.
Filmmaker Christian Keller came across Trevi's story in a 2005 New York
Times article detailing the troubled star's release from prison in Brazil and
eventual exoneration on sex trafficking charges. The aspiring director had never
heard of the controversial superstar, but after reading the details of her
spectacular rise and fall, he knew it had all the elements of a great feature
"I was young and very naive," says Keller, a Swiss national who was 19 at the
time. "It was such an amazing story that I thought it would take me a year to
get the movie made-maybe two. Between getting the rights to the story and songs,
and putting together a group of like-minded filmmakers, it has taken nearly ten
Keller had no filmmaking experience or training at the time, only a burning
desire to direct and he was sure he had found the key to opening the industry's
tightly locked doors. With no contacts or credentials to speak of, he began by
cold calling anyone he thought could help him, starting with Gloria Trevi.
"Gloria seemed to like the way I saw what had happened to her," Keller says. "I
never wanted to make a conventional biopic. I envisioned a love story that ends
up in a very dark place. The film only covers the part of her life she spent
with Sergio, from the day they meet until the last time they see each other.
That's the core of the film."
Improbable as it seems, Keller secured the rights to Trevi's life story and
was able to raise a small amount of seed money for his dream project. His vision
and tenacity drove him on to assemble a multi-national production team, mostly
by cold-calling people including Barrie M. Osborne, whose producing credits
include such blockbusters as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Great Gatsby,
and Matthias Ehrenberg, founder of Rio Negro Productions and one of Mexico's
leading film producers.
"I hoped that an international team would tell her story without any
preconceived notions based on her notoriety in Mexico," the director says. "The
story is quite sensational, but we wanted to emphasize the human side of it. I
am Swiss, our editor is French and our composer is Scottish. Barrie is from New
Zealand and Matthias from Mexico. We have a Mexican writer and music producer.
That has helped us keep a fine balance."
Impressed by the ambition and drive he saw in Keller, Ehrenberg agreed to
sign on as a producer, but admits it was difficult putting the financing
together with an untried director and a controversial story. "A 19-year-old
Swiss guy with no connection to Mexico or pop music called me out of the blue
with this crazy idea to make a feature film about one of our national icons," he
says. "I said 'Christian who?' But after talking to him, I thought it was a
great idea. It's a terrific story, he had a good, solid script and I was just so
impressed by him."
Ehrenberg says there was considerable resistance to the idea of the film in
the beginning. "A lot of people didn't think the movie could be made. A lot of
people didn't want to see it made, because it was too controversial. And a lot
of people put a great deal of effort into making this happen, which is very
The screenplay was written by Sabina Berman, one of Mexico's most acclaimed
writers. She too was initially skeptical when the young and untested Keller
approached her. "About seven years ago, I got call from Christian," she recalls.
"He said he wanted to make a film about Gloria Trevi. I laughed, gave him my
best wishes and hung up. Then he came to see me and told me he had the rights to
her life story, but no money to make it happen. I declined again."
But as Berman learned more about Trevi's life, she became intrigued. "I read
one of the books that started the scandal as well as a collection of stories by
Sergio Andrade. Gloria was becoming very interesting to me. Even though I had
initially said no to Christian, the story started taking shape in my head. I was
Berman had two non-negotiable conditions for writing the screenplay. "Gloria
had to be willing to tell me her story herself," she says. "And she would have
no right to veto or correct the story. She agreed to both."
Berman and Keller sat down with Trevi and Andrade separately to hear their
stories first hand. "We taped about 30 hours of audio interviews just with
Gloria and Sergio," says Keller. "I actually lived with Gloria for more than a
week. We spent a lot of time with Sergio, who explained how they wrote music.
Each of them talked at length about the way they worked together. They have a
truly symbiotic relationship. Now that they are apart, they are not the same.
They are still brilliant, but together they were greater than the sum of their
The screenwriter met with Trevi both at home and at several stops on her
concert tour. "I wanted to understand both the woman and the diva," Berman says.
"And I needed to know why she would agree to relive this whole ordeal. She told
me quite clearly that she wants to be vindicated. There are many versions of her
story out there and she says that they are made up of half-truths and lies. Not
only do people not know whether she is guilty or innocent, they don't even know
what it is she is guilty or innocent of."
The film begins in Mexico City when the then 14-year-old hopeful first meets
the 27-year-old impresario. It covers the next two decades of their lives,
ending with the last time they see each other in prison in Rio de Janeiro.
"It was challenging to fit 20 years of this incredible woman's life into
under two hours," Keller says. "That was part of the decision to focus so
tightly on the relationship between Gloria and Sergio. Even then, figuring out
what really happened was difficult. Understandably, Gloria and Sergio gave
different versions of some events, so we had to turn to other sources for
Berman, who is also a leading journalist, built her story by beginning with
in-depth background research and crosschecking the sources and documents she
uncovered. A pair of tell-all books written by women formerly managed by Andrade
provided even more information. All of the facts were meticulously verified.
"I wanted to be as truthful and impartial as possible," she says.
"Interviewing Gloria and Sergio was the beginning, but we made sure to speak
with other eyewitnesses. They led very public lives, so things began to come
together pretty quickly."
Berman agrees that the deeply tangled love affair between Trevi and Andrade
is the heart of their movie. "Gloria and Sergio have a strange connection," she
says. "It includes the love they both have for music, as well as for each other.
To write these characters, I had to detach myself from questions of morality.
You can't judge."
Producer Ehrenberg says the script portrays the story and its principals
without preconceived notions of guilt or innocence, and without taking sides.
"We have focused primarily on Gloria, her rise to fame and some situations in
her life that spin out of control," he notes. "We're not laying blame, but the
amount of misinformation that is out there is incredible and we are trying to
correct some of that. It is a story of two people who have everything and end up
with nothing. They wind up disgraced and in jail. At the end, Gloria manages to
fight her way out of the hell she got herself into, which I think is inspiring."
Keller refuses to look at Gloria's life as a tragic tale of seduction and
sexual abuse. His aim has always been to tell a universally relatable story
about an ambitious young woman who is in love and yearning to feel loved. "That
led her to a very dark place," he says. "She and Sergio certainly did some crazy
things, but they also created magic together. And she has emerged from a
potentially crushing experience as a strong, triumphant woman who has gone on to
even more success."
The end result, Ehrenberg says, is a powerful movie that combines music and
drama to bring the turbulent life story of "the Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop," to
the screen. "It's a great biopic, but that's not all it is," the producer says.
"I think it will be an important movie for the Hispanic community all over the
world. Gloria is part of our collective imagination. She is still a strong
presence in this world. Since the events of the film, she has reinvented herself
and become a huge star all over again. There aren't that many people who are
interesting enough to make a movie like this about, but Gloria surely is one."
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