You’ve probably known of Diego Boneta as Drew from Rock of Ages, where he played the dreamy eyed kid with rockstar fantasies. Or more recently, as the titular character in Luis Miguel: The Series. Or, if you’re a lover of teen shows from the early to mid 2010s, you know him as a heartthrob who graced Pretty Little Liars, Scream Queens and Beverly Hills 90210. Or, you know him from his incredibly successful career in music and telenovelas in Mexico. The point is: one way or another, you’ve heard of Diego Boneta. And if you haven’t, you have now.
His most recent movie, Father of the Bride, has been a tremendous success for HBO Max, having drawn in the biggest streaming audience for a movie on the platform. After all that success, it’s not hard to imagine Diego would need a break, a chance to celebrate and take a vacation just for fun. We caught up with him on his way to the airport to talk about his new movie, upcoming projects and starting his own production company during the pandemic.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
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Esquire: Congrats on the success of Father of The Bride. I watched it last night and really liked it.
Diego Boneta: I’m glad you enjoyed it, thank you so much.
How was it making that movie? I know it’s been a huge hit.
Oh, I mean, it was so much fun shooting it. We really became like a family doing it, you know. We would hang all the time on set, off set. We had so much fun. We were all really invested in the script. We all loved working with our director Gaz [Gary “Gaz” Alazraki]. And, you know, since we were shooting a year ago, and it was COVID times, we all had to be in a COVID bubble, which, at the end of the day, made us super tight because we would hang all the time. That’s something that rarely happens is that even after you’re done shooting a movie. Like, you normally don’t see your fellow cast-mates until you start doing the promo tour, and here we all hung out after we wrapped.
We all became really close friends, Adria [Arjona] and I became really close friends. She knows my family. I know her family, we would hang constantly, and it was great.
That’s so sweet. Did you guys know each other before?
We knew each other before. Yes. We were both at a Golden Globes ceremony or at a party should I say? And that’s where we met.
How does it feel to have a movie that you worked on for so long be such a huge success?
I can’t believe it. You know, I’ve been doing this for long enough to always have no expectations. You know, just do your best, have fun shooting it and then, you never know, right? You never know. Seeing that so many people watch this it’s just… I mean, I can’t believe it. I’m so thankful. I’m so grateful for everyone who watched. I’m very proud the whole team behind it. Plan B, Jeremy Kleiner, our director. Like I said, we all became like a family and I’m very, very grateful.
The movie had quite an iconic cast. What was it like to work with such like huge actors?
I mean, it was a dream come true. You know, Gloria, I’d known for about 10 years, but she was at the table read for Rock of Ages, which was a movie that I did, like 10 years ago with Tom Cruise. So, I’ve known Gloria for quite some time. You know, she was like my godmother. We would see each other when I was in Miami, we kept in touch.
Working with Andy was amazing. There’s a scene in the movie that we had to improv like, they gave us the scene on the day. It was a completely different scene and Gaz, our director, was like, ‘Okay, you guys’ improv this.’ It’s the scene where I’m trying to tell him about my father, that, that he’s a billionaire. Being able to work with Andy Garcia and do that with him, you know, improv like that… I mean, that’s an actor’s dream.
You’re not just starring in movies, but you’re not starting to take more of a behind the scenes role in production as well. Can you tell me about that?
I have a production company called Three Amigos with my sister Natalia and my best friend and manager, Josh Glick. We started this production company after Luis Miguel, which was a show that I [executive produced] and Nuevo Orden, which is a movie that I also produced that won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Tom Cruise, when we work together inspired me to start producing. I would see how he was in post-production on a movie, he was on pre-production on a movie that he was going to do after Rock of Ages and I was like, man, you know, that is just the dream. So, we started a production company.
During COVID, we set a lot of projects up at different streaming on different streamers, we sold a lot of projects to Amazon and Amazon Prime Video came to us and we signed an overall deal with them, which is very exciting. I never thought that this would happen. So, so quickly, and then and so organically. And now we’re working on creating the best projects in Spanish and English, some bilingual, but mainly, you know, the best quality content. Because right now, like, it doesn’t really matter what language it is, it’s all about the quality of what you’re doing. You have shows like Squid Game, that are massive, successful worldwide. So, we’re all about quality and authenticity. If it’s a show in Mexico, we’re working with the best Mexican filmmakers and writers we can. With each project, we try to package it in such a way where we’re set up to succeed with the best teams we can collaborate with and so that’s very exciting. It’s a new chapter, I’d say, of my, of my career right now. Working with my sister and my best friend, I mean, it’s so much fun.
With Amazon Prime, you have several shows down the line, is there anything that you can tell us about those?
I mean, I can’t mention projects right now. I can say that that one of them is a sexual thriller that we’re working on, as a movie. Unfortunately, I can’t give you more details about the other projects, but I can tell you that there’s that there’s that there’s books, there’s limited series, there’s TV shows, there’s movies, podcasts, as well. We’re really, really going all in. But it looks like the next movie that we’ll be shooting is a sexual thriller.
What I can tell you is we just finished a movie called At Midnight, which is just another rom-com, which is going to be coming out on Paramount+ in October. It’s kind of like a modern love story, pop-culture fairy tale, in a sense. Notting Hill [the 1999 Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant flick] is a big inspiration. It’s about this big American actress who goes to Mexico to finish shooting a movie and falls in love with the hotel manager who I play. The movie stars Monica Barbaro, who’s in Top Gun: Maverick.
How do you feel about taking on a rom-com role like that?
It was great. It was the first movie that that we produced under Three Amigos and with Jonah Feingold, who’s a great director of Dating & New York. It was a great time, we shot it in Mexico – in Cancun and Mexico City.
It’s an original idea that I co-created. It was basically my idea. It’s a funny story. After Luis Miguel, I met with Paramount+, and I thought that they wanted to meet me to talk about acting stuff and just tell me about different acting opportunities. But, when I was in the meeting, they were like ‘So, Diego, we saw that you produced Nuevo Orden, we saw that you produced Luis Miguel, what are you producing next?’ And I froze, I was not expecting that question. I basically lied and told them that I had this this multicultural rom-com about an actress who goes to Mexico and falls in love with it. I had one of my best friends write the script in about a week after taking 10 espressos a day. And that’s how At Midnight happened. It’s an idea that I came up with my partners at Three Amigos, with Josh, Dave Bernon from Burn Later, which is another production company and my sister Natalia. We just all brainstormed, came up with the idea, and then had one of our best friends write it. That’s how we made the movie, which is kind of crazy.
When you created this company with your sister and your friend, how did that come together? Especially since you created it in the middle of a pandemic.
Well, we just realized like, ‘Okay, well, writers’ lives didn’t really change throughout the pandemic. ‘They’re normally writing in their homes. So, we were like, what can we do to take advantage and not just sit around doing nothing. So, we were like, ‘Well, let’s start developing ideas, let’s start selling ideas.’ And we came up with treatments, we would come up with different ideas, we would package them, find the best director and writer for each idea. We sold projects to HBO Max, to Paramount+, to Netflix, to Amazon, Apple. It just started growing in a very organic way – till Amazon came up and was like, ‘Guys, we want to close an overall deal with you’ after selling three different ideas to them. They were like, ‘We want you guys to be a part of the company and to partner with us.’
I know that singing is also a huge part of your career. Will any of these projects also involve any music?
Yes, yes. One of them is a musical and there’s a couple of projects, actually, that had a big musical component to it. Music is a huge part of my life. I started singing in Mexico and in Latin America.
One of these podcasts also has a musical component to it. There’s another movie as well that we’re working on with Amazon that’s a musical. So, you know, we’re working on different projects that have that musical component. And then there’s At Midnight, for example, which is not a musical, but we have Fred Berger producing it with us who produced LaLa Land.
I know Broadway is also something that you’ve been interested in. Is that something that we can expect from you?
I was actually going to be doing Evita on Broadway a couple of years ago, but it conflicted with a movie that I was going to be shooting at the time called Die in A Gunfight and I wasn’t able to do it. But yes, Broadway is definitely something that I would love to do. That’s on my bucket list, for sure.
I’m very excited to see that and the movies that you have down the line. Is there anything else that you know you want to add or mention?
Just how excited I am for what’s going on with Father of the Bride and how grateful I am for people who watched it. I can’t wait for you to see At Midnight soon and our other Three Amigos projects.
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