“La Usurpadora” , the 1998 Televisa classic, was one of the most successful telenovelas of all time. It was an international hit, exported to over 120 countries and generating record breaking ratings. The romantic drama is now taking on a new form as The Lift and Pantelion Films team up to turn it into a feature length musical directed by Santiago Limón.
While the project was stalled initially due to COVID-19 restrictions, it began pre-production in October of 2020 and is now in full swing. Filming across the four Mexican states of Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nayarit and Mexico City, and with a cast and crew of up to 400 people on set, it is easily the largest production The Lift has worked on yet. “This project’s logistics and operation have been challenging given the size of the crew and the number of locations,” recalled The Lift Producer Julian Torregrosa. “Luckily, our experience at The Lift with hospitality made it easy to juggle the international crew and talent.”
“It has been a very enriching learning experience,” said Patricia Sánchez, EP of The Lift Entertainment. “For musicals, the pre-production stages are very important because you have to have a lot of rehearsals to see how the choreography will line up against the blocking and lighting on set.” Choreography in this case refers not only to the incredible dance numbers featured in the film, but the movement of lights, cameras, actors, and equipment in perfect synchronicity. “Since the very beginning of the project, the challenges have been immeasurable,” The Lift Producer Julian continued, recalling the exciting atmosphere on set. “Every day is a new adventure. The experience on set exceeded all expectations, and the talent was super professional with an impressive discipline on set.”
The film also blends together dialogue and music in Spanish and EThe film also blends together dialogue and music in Spanish and English, capturing both the core Latino U.S. audiences who are mostly bilingual, and audiences beyond. “It is interesting this Mexican-American collaboration,” Patricia continued. “The US producer had the idea of adapting hit songs from the nineties in Latin America into the story.” Luckily the team had the support of eight time Grammy Award, and 12 time Latin Grammy Award, winner Sebastian Krys to create a soundtrack which features the cast performing 15 of the biggest Latin music hits from that era.
“La Usurpadora pushed us to design new ways of operation to provide solutions and support for a huge demand of complex artistic and logistical needs.” Said production coordinator Ceci Gallegos. “When seeking solutions for every challenge, we always found our north in The Lift’s DNA, which is empowering creativity. Our immense gratitude to all the professionals, artists, technicians, teams, and suppliers for their effort and perseverance to make this project possible.” The film follows L.A.-based Spanish-language streaming platform Pantaya and Pantelion partnering with The Lift Entertainment for a multi-year first look deal. We are thrilled to see what this new step will bring for The Lift’s future in longer-form media.