Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Musica’s Rudy Mancuso Knew Camila Mendes Needed to Play His Love Interest

By Michael Apr 4, 2024

Rudy Mancuso knew he needed Camila Mendes to star in Prime Video’s Música before she was even cast as his love interest.

“She’s immensely talented. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s quick, she’s beautiful. I had seen her work [including] Coyote Lake, Palm Springs and obviously Riverdale. I knew that I wanted to explore a different side of her,” Mancuso, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly about his now-girlfriend. “After meeting with her, I knew she had [that different side] in her, which was just embracing the Brazilian American culture and background.”

Mancuso recalled reaching out to Mendes, 29, to get her involved in Música, which is based on his own life.

“As soon as I met her — I met her for this project — she quite literally ticked every box,” he explained. “[Her character] Isabella is Brazilian American and is this grounded free spirit who embraces struggle and is very family oriented. All those qualities Camila actually possesses in real life.”

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In addition to playing Mancuso’s love interest, Mendes was also an executive producer on the project.

“She was able to personalize the character so much more than I had even anticipated. When I was writing, [Camila] was heavily in mind whether I knew that we’d get her or not,” he shared. “Camila and I tailored these two characters to our actual selves so much more than the page had suggested. And she did a very good job of protecting all the characters’ integrities and arcs — not only hers and mine.”

Música, which will be available to stream on Prime Video, is a coming-of-age love story centered around Mancuso’s experience with synesthesia, which is a neurological condition where two unrelated senses are activated at the same time. As Rudy falls in love with Isabella, he must navigate the pressures of family and his Brazilian culture in New Jersey.

Mendes previously praised Música for reinventing the idea of a rom-com.

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Música — which is coming out in April — I never even perceived that as a rom-com even though there is a lot of romance in it,” Mendes explained to Us in February. “And when that movie comes out, I guess you’ll see for yourself. But it’s not necessarily a straightforward rom-com. There’s so much more about it that is entirely unique to that movie.”

Rudy Mancuso Courtesy of Prime

During his conversation with Us, Mancuso broke down his vision for Música.

“I’m always trying to think of a way [to] just slightly exist outside of a few boxes that feel familiar. If I’m going to do something that is remotely similar to a rom-com, I’m going to try to break those conventions in some ways that you can’t say it’s full on rom-com,” he noted. “If I’m going to do something that is remotely similar to a conventional musical, I’m going to try my best to break the musical conventions.”

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Mancuso continued: “It was very much a deliberate intention to not be so full into one specific box, but have a little bit of three or four boxes to pull from. It’s a musical, romance, surreal storytelling [and] comedy. But it was never imagined as any one thing. It was always a lot of many things. So whether that’s confusing to some people, I know that audiences love to put stories and people and ideas into boxes. To me, it just makes it more interesting.”

Amazon MGM Studios

Mancuso not only inspired — and starred in — Música. He was also the director, writer and composer for the movie.

“It was certainly a lot of hats to wear. But for me, it almost felt more like one big hat because all those different departments were so woven into each other. Writing the scripts and composing the score and playing myself and ultimately steering the ship all felt very intertwined,” he added. “It definitely had its fair share of obstacles. There were times when I wanted to just sit back and watch the picture being painted rather than be inside of the painting, but I honestly don’t know if I would’ve done it any other way.”

Música starts streaming on Prime Video Thursday, April 4.

By Michael

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