Screenshot 2024-05-19 at 11.45.17

Source: Festival de Cannes

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has credited the Emilia Perez script for providing her with a potentially iconic line, speaking at the press conference for Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Competition title.

Gomez was asked by a journalist whether a particular speech of hers in the film would become “iconic erotic dialogue… some of the sexiest dialogue ever heard in Spanish.”

“I don’t know if I’m sexy!” responded Gomez. “That’s the writing, it’s not me.”

“It’s a very powerful moment in the movie and it was very poetic.”

Emilia Perez is written by Audiard, with collaboration from Thomas Bidegain and Lea Mysius. It follows Rita, a lawyer who receives an unexpected offer. She has to help a feared cartel boss retire from his business and disappear forever by becoming the woman he’s always dreamed of being.

Emilia Perez had its world premiere in Competition last night (Saturday 18). The Veterans handles international sales.

The musical film also stars transgender actress Karla Sofía Gascón, as a cartel kingpin who has gender reassignment surgery.

Gascón spoke passionately about transgender people and their right to exist in the world, saying “trans people should be treated like everybody else, no better or worse.”

“People who are trans are often the subject of insults or death threats simply because they exist or what they are,” said Gascón. “In Mexico there are harsh phrases when addressing trans people.”

“We have our body – we’re allowed to change it because we want to. I wanted to be a trans woman – if somebody isn’t happy in his or her body, why not change it?”

Emilia Perez is Cannes veteran Audiard’s first film since 2021’s Paris, 13th District, which also premiered in Competition.

Asked why he chose Mexico as the setting for this new story, Audiard responded, “Something shocks me deeply in Mexico – all these problems of missing people. There are whole regions you can’t go because they aren’t safe. I wanted to make a musical; so why not against the background of a tragedy?”

The film also stars US actress Zoe Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican-Dominican heritage.

“Every day was a brand new day to absorb everything they were throwing at us,” said Zaldana of her experience shooting the film. “It was just a lot of surrender.”

The Competition continues today with Kirill Serebrennikov’s Limonov, The Ballad starring Ben Whishaw.