TIFF 2019: Exclusive Interview with Chino Darín and Sebastián Borensztein on the Argentine Hit HEROIC LOSERS

Director Sebastián Borensztein (left) with actors Ricardo Darín (center) and Chino Darín at the international premiere of  Heroic Losers  at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Director Sebastián Borensztein (left) with actors Ricardo Darín (center) and Chino Darín at the international premiere of Heroic Losers at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Heroic Losers / La odisea de los giles is an all-star production. It reunites Argentine superstar Ricardo Darín with director Sebastián Borensztein (Chinese Take-Away, Kóblic) and author Eduardo Sacheri, who wrote the novel that inspired Oscar-winning film The Secret in Their Eyes. It also marks the first time Darín appears on screen with his son, actor Chino Darín.  

Heroic Losers tells the story of a cast of misfits banding together to reclaim their investment in a local grain co-op after the 2001 crash of the Argentine economy leaves them penniless. The film is a crowd-pleasing heist with a heartwarming payoff. A box-office juggernaut in Argentina, it was recently chosen as the official Argentine selection for Best International Feature at the Academy Awards.

We sat down last month at the Toronto International Film Festival with Chino Darín and director Sebastian Borensztein to talk all things Heroic Losers.

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After starting their own production company, Chino and his father were looking for content to produce. “We loved Eduardo’s story and its characters, so we decided to turn it into a movie.” Chino continued, “It's a very personal and emotional project for us. In the beginning, I was going to produce the movie—not act in it—but when I read the script with my father, we decided it was the right opportunity for us to collaborate on screen for the first time.”

Acting opposite a gigantic star who just so happens to be his father left Chino with a few jitters. “We have a wonderful relationship. I knew that we were going to have a great time, but I was also kind of anxious on set. It took us two weeks to just relax, chill, and be able to play with each other,” Chino explained. “The most surprising thing for me is that, while I know my Dad has lots of experience as an actor, I discovered that he's also really good at managing things behind the scenes. I think he has learned a lot from his own personal experiences. He has a great eye for editing. He's very precise with his observations.” Sebastian, having worked with Ricardo on two previous films, agreed. “He is involved in every project he’s in. He’s not only concerned with his own character, but the whole project. He’s a natural producer and now he has the title to prove it.”  

“It was also so funny and lovely to see Ricardo and Chino working together for the first time,” Sebastián mused, continuing, “Seeing the energy of Chino and the experience of Ricardo blend and create something amazing—I actually had a lot of déjà vu because I work with my own father from time to time.”

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The film has not only made bank at the box office, it’s also connecting deeply with Argentine audiences. “Unfortunately, we were kind of lucky that there’s a synchronicity between the events of 2001 and the current economic crisis in Argentina. I knew the movie was going to work because it has adventure, comedy, and a big heist,” Chino divulged, “but I think with the current crisis, the film has actually produced a very emotional experience for our audiences.”

Although the film plays specifically to Argentina’s economic history “this is not something exclusive to our country,” Sebastian said, stressing, “2008 saw big market crashes in other countries. Everybody can relate to what happens when the banks don’t give you back your savings. The film definitely plays across borders.”

Considering how the hearty reception by North American audiences in Toronto—he film played to huge laughs and a standing ovation—Sebastian doesn’t have anything to worry about. Success for Heroic Losers promises to be global.