Watch Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldaña in the Official Trailer for 'Emilia Pérez'

emilia pérez
What We Know About the ‘Emilia Pérez’ Movie© Shanna Besson


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One of the buzziest upcoming films of the year is Emilia Pérez, a Spanish-language comedy-drama-musical directed and co-written by Jaques Audiard. When it premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May, the movie received an 11-minute standing ovation that brought its stars to tears.

The acclaimed film received even more praise when all four leading ladies—Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez, Karla Sofía Gascón, and Adriana Paz—won the Best Actress Award at the festival for their performances. Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone, one of the event’s jurors, said during the ceremony, “We decided that, how can you award a harmony by singling out individual notes? They’re stronger when they resound together, so we decided this year to award Best Actresses.”

emilia perez red carpet the 77th annual cannes film festival
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There’s much buzz surrounding the film, so ahead is everything you need to know about Emilia Pérez.

What is Emilia Pérez about?

The trailer, which officially dropped on June 18, introduces us to lawyer Rita Moro Castro (Saldaña). She is tasked with assisting Emilia Pérez (Gascón), a former cartel leader who fakes their own death and undergoes gender-affirming surgery, which she longed to do for years. Now, living as Emilia, she chooses to leave her criminal past behind and lead a normal life. But when she begins to miss her wife, Jessi Del Monte (Gomez), and their two children in Mexico, who all think that their husband and father passed away, Emilia reaches out to Rita again and asks her to help her pretend to be a distant relative so that she can visit her family. Will Emilia’s violent history catch up to her somewhere along the way?

a woman sitting on a bed
© Shanna Besson

The songs are composed by French musician Clément Ducol, who worked as a co-orchestrator on The Little Prince (2015). Rolling Stone says the film contains “heartbreaking ballads and lyrically savvy show tunes.”

When does Emilia Pérez come out?

a person with red hair
© Shanna Besson

As of June, there is no exact release date just yet. In May, Deadline reported that Netflix was in negotiations for rights to the film in the U.S. and U.K., but it still is unknown when it’ll come to the streaming platform. At the time of the report, Deadline stated that “the pact is in its closing stages.”

Who is in the cast?

a man in a red dress
© Shanna Besson

Spanish telenovela actress Karla Sofía Gascón is the film’s titular character, a transgender former gangster. Only Murders in the Building star and Rare Beauty owner Selena Gomez plays Emilia’s wife, Jessi Del Monte. Guardians of the Galaxy’s Zoe Saldaña is lawyer Rita Moro Castro. Édgar Ramírez from Yes Day is the widowed Jessi’s no-good boyfriend Gustavo, who is set to marry her. Mexican actress Adriana Paz plays Epifania, who reportedly develops a romance with Emilia.

In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Gascón opened up about the film’s trans representation, as well as her experience having to play a man, Manitas.

“It was a fantastic gift that I was given. I don’t know what actor can dream of a better opportunity in a career to have such a journey and such a complex character to embody. From the very beginning that when I became an actor, I wouldn’t have dreamt of a better role than this,” she said. “The part that I found most fun was to be Manitas. Of course, Emilia is closer to myself, but what I like about the craft of acting is the playful aspect. I really enjoyed being Manitas, having to wear the makeup and play around with the masculinity. Being a man means being able to be more free in your body, in your movements. I think men are more restricted in their thinking but women are more free in their minds. But then, with your body, you have so many constraints to accept as a woman.”

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