Filming has wrapped for the new HBO Original series Like Water for Chocolate, based on the novel by Laura Esquivel. Production began in September in Mexico City and in Haciendas (ranches) in the State of Tlaxcala, involving approximately 1,200 people from the cast and crew.
Bringing to life the endearing characters from the story, the Like Water for Chocolate cast is led by Irene Azuela as Mama Elena and Azul Guaita as the beloved character Tita. Ari Brickman is Don Felipe and Ana Valeria Becerril portrays Rosaura, Tita’s sister and love rival.
The young Andrea Chaparro interprets Gertrudis and Andrés Baida will play Pedro, Tita and Rosaura’s romantic interest; the great Ángeles Cruz will be Nacha, the ranch cook and Tita’s mentor, and Louis David Horné, is Juan Alejandrez.
“Like Water for Chocolate is a classic of Mexican literature,” said Salma Hayek Pinault, the series’ executive producer on behalf of Ventanarosa Productions.
“The story, set in times of the Revolution, also speaks to another type of struggle: that of women fighting to control their own destiny. Ventanarosa is very excited to adapt this extraordinary novel by Laura Esquivel for a new generation of viewers.”
“We are very proud to tell a story that is so Mexican, so emotional, that represents such an emblematic period in the history of our country and boasts its gastronomy….” said Julián de Tavira, main director on the series.
“To make a story that has a primarily feminine voice has been a source of pride for me and it was necessary to keep our eyes and ears open so that this never got lost. We were fortunate to have a fantastic cast, so generous and talented.”
“Making Like Water for Chocolate turned into one of the most exciting challenges of my career,” said director Ana Lorena Pérez Ríos.
“It connected me with the lineage of women in my family, with the traditions that we carry between generations and with the role of women in society, who constantly struggle with ‘what is’ and ‘what should be.’ It led me to a very enriching experience of being able to show a deeply emotional world full of nuances.”
To prepare for their roles, the cast took classes in cooking, dancing, and horseback riding. Additionally, each department worked with historians over several sessions to refine details regarding the period in which the story takes place.
In addition to the top-level cast and production team, the special locations in the State of Tlaxcala will also be a core part of the series. The beautiful natural landscapes, as well as the unique Haciendas selected to serve as the setting of the story, will allow the audience to be immediately transported to the universe of Like Water for Chocolate.
“The filming of Like Water for Chocolate had an exquisite seasoning,” said Irene Azuela, who interprets Mamá Elena. “It has been an unforgettable blend of softness and feminine intelligence. It is amazing how a story from Mexico set in the 1900 can be so relevant today. It shows our hearts still want to bet on love.”
“I’m so grateful to be in such an important project and so well cared for,” said Azul Guiata, who plays Tita. “It is a project full of love and a lot of effort, that helped me face my fears and improve as a person. I will be eternally grateful to all the people involved.”
Actor Andrés Baida, who plays Pedro, emphasized that being part of this project was a huge journey. “It’s the first time I’ve faced playing a character of this magnitude. I took away a lot of humility and discipline from this project, Pedro taught me many things, both good and bad. I faced many challenges […] and I am eternally grateful to all the people involved who were part of the team.”
Portraying the entire period was challenging, not only in the selection of locations. The costumes, by the talented Amanda Cárcamo, were based on wool garments worn at the time of the Mexican revolution in which the story takes place.
“The inspiration comes from the scripts, images, and research we did for the project,” said Cácamo. “We refined a lot until arriving to the final proposal for the characters in our story. We cannot stray from the novel or the movie that we saw in the 90s, which both impacted an entire generation.”
Like Water for Chocolate will show that tradition is not always the best path. Our protagonists Tita de la Garza and Pedro Muzquiz are two souls in love who cannot be together due to deep-rooted family traditions. Tita will be forced to navigate between the destiny dictated by her family and her fight for love through magical colors and flavors, as we accompany her in the place where she finds her greatest refuge: the kitchen.
“Any remake is challenging, since there is a point of comparison with the original work,” said Jerry Rodriguez of Endemol Shine Boomdog. “In this case the challenge becomes enormous due to the great reach of Laura Esquivel’s novel, and the success of its film adaptation.
“We had a big responsibility: to live up to the powerful images that were etched in the imagination of entire generations as well as giving a modern look to the story. The most important thing about revisiting a novel is having something new to say. And I think the result will accomplish both things.”
To achieve greater realism in the production, food stylist Maru Rangel’s expertise was required. “Laura Esquivel’s greatest achievement in her novel was to start each chapter with a recipe and make it inseparable from the story itself,” said Rangel.
“The preparation of the recipes marks the result of Tita’s dramatic emotions and passions. I can’t imagine Chabela Wedding Cake without crying or Quail with Rose Petal Sauce without remembering the best lover in my life!” she stated.
Like Water for Chocolate is the first television series adaptation of the original novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel. It is directed by Julián de Tavira and Ana Lorena Pérez Ríos and executive produced by Salma Hayek Pinault, José Tamez and Siobhan Flynn from Ventanarosa Productions; Sharon Levy, Lisa Fahrenholt and Flavio Morales on behalf of Endemol Shine North America; Alejandro Rincón, Jerry Rodriguez and Clara Machado, as well as Manuel Vargas, who supervises the physical production, for Endemol Shine Boomdog; and Mariano Cesar, Mônica Alburquerque and Anouk Aarón on behalf of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Mirko Parlevliet has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 1998 and founded Vital Thrills in 2018 to cover the latest streaming, movie, TV, and video game news. Mirko previously created the websites ComingSoon, Spider-Man Hype!, SuperHeroHype, and ShockTillYouDrop.