DC superhero 'Blue Beetle' brings Latino family team to big screen

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Xolo Mariduena quickly learned that he and his character in the latest DC Studios film "Blue Beetle" have one big thing in common — they cannot hide anything from their families.

The Cobra Kai actor plays college graduate-turned-superhero Jaime Reyes, the first Latino superhero in a DC movie, who finds it impossible to keep his alter-ego a secret.

"There's no hiding from mom and dad that I'm Blue Beetle. As a Latino, I know that there's no secrets in my family, so I felt it resonated with me and the fact that the superhero in this movie is really the family," Mariduena told Reuters last month before film promotion was halted by the Screen Actors Guild strike.

In the film, Jaime returns to his hometown of Palmera City after graduating from college and has his life turned upside down when he is chosen by a blue scarab from an alien planet to become the Blue Beetle.

Jaime bonds with the scarab, which transforms into protective armour for him. He must ensure the scarab does not fall into the wrong hands while also trying to protect his family.

Blue Beetle arrives in theatres on Friday and also features comedian George Lopez as Uncle Rudy and Susan Sarandon as the main villain.

Focusing on the importance of a Latino family was always a top priority for the Puerto Rican director of the Warner Bros film, Angel Manuel Soto.

"The resilience of our people is represented in each of those characters, from the dad to the mom to the sister and when it comes to the uncle, for example, Uncle Rudy is inspired 100 per cent on the uncle of the writer (Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer) who passed away last year," Soto told Reuters.

"He wanted to immortalise him in this film and bring this dark brown energy to the family."

For Soto, making the film would not have been possible without emerging equity in entertainment. As the most underrepresented group in the industry, Latino talent is keen to change their narrative.

Last week, Variety reported that 27 Latino Hollywood organisations signed an open letter calling on the community to amplify Latino work, especially Blue Beetle.

Mariduena believes that Blue Beetle is "just the first step" to hopefully open the door for other Latino superheroes to reach the big screen.

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