'The Wedding Ringer' Argentinian Star Ignacio Serricchio Plays Funny, 'Flamboyant' Wedding Planner Edmundo, Channels John Leguizamo, Hank Azaria & Martin Short (EXCLUSIVE)
When Argentinian actor Ignacio Serricchio was cast to play the role of a flamboyant wedding player in "The Wedding Ringer," starring comedian Kevin Hart, "Frozen's" Josh Gad, "The Big Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and the legendary Cloris Leachman (among other lovable and hilarious actors), he knew of a few characters he could channel from real life and film.
Serricchio conjured the emotions and gusto to play a "flaming, fabulous wedding planner" by learning how to work it, own it and channel the dramatic and feisty Latinas in his life -- including his mother, he told Latin Post in an exclusive interview.
"It's honestly a combination of a number of people. ... A lot of the reactions that came from Edmundo came from my mother, who has a very strong accent and is flamboyant," Serricchio explained.
With his mother's mannerisms and demeanor down pat with an added boost from "a crazy Dominican woman" who is a friend of the family's, as well as a character from the "Young and the Restless," Serricchio had all the ammo he needed for the comical role.
"This character is bigger than the character, it's a tribute to my mom, to some of the characters that John Leguizamo did," he said. "We all know flamboyant people in our lives, and I am not just referring to sexual preference. The combination of people who I love in my life who have had an impact on me."
"Ignacio is our secret weapon," added producer William Packer, who has produced four films featuring Kevin Hart, including "Think Like a Man" and "Ride Along."
"He brings such a zest to his performance that is so natural and so authentic, but then when he has to turn and flip it, he does that with such ease. The character is going to be very memorable and he is going to break out from this film," added Packer, who is also the first African-American producer to have seven films top box office charts during opening weekend.
The role of Edmundo is also reminiscent of the beloved wedding planner "Franck Eggelhoffer" played by Martin Short in the 1991 hit film, "The Father of the Bride," starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, but Serricchio put his own spin on the character.
"Martin Short, oh my God, yeah," he said. "I almost saw my character as combination and an homage to those great characters in 'Father of the Bride,' and Hank Azaria as Agador Spartacus in 'The Birdcage' (1996) and John Leguizamo." (Both in stand-up and in film -- Leguizamo also played a feisty Latina drag queen named Chi-Chi Rodriguez in the 1995 hit film, "To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" where he and the late Patrick Swayze were nominated for Golden Globes for their roles.)
"John Leguizamo is someone who I very, very much look up to. I have a history with him, he affected my life because he gave me the rights to his show 'Freak' about 10 years ago when no one else had done it after him," he explained. "I met him briefly once, I have seen all of his shows. I went to see him in his last show, 'Ghetto Klown,' and I told him how much he affected my life."
Serricchio's hard work and influences from fellow actors paid off for Serricchio nailed the audition to play Edmundo.
"Ignacio was the first guy to audition for Edmundo and he was so amazing in the audition that I expected every other person who came to be as good or better, which didn't happen. We saw a ton of people and every person who came in, I just kept feeling; he's not as good as Ignacio," according to director Jeremy Garelick.
"So we finally stopped the search and let go of the fear of casting the first actor we saw in the room," Garelick explained. "I was incredibly grateful that we found him as he really elevates a character that could become one-dimensional in the wrong hands."
In "The Wedding Ringer," Doug Harris (Josh Gad, who was also the voice for Olaf in Disney's "Frozen") is "a lovable but socially awkward groom-to-be" who is lacking a best man and the fun-filled memories of his youth with the guys.
With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams (Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need.
While to pull of the big con and impress his bride-to-be, "an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy," leaving them to both reassess their lives and relationships.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a small town called Lanus Este, Serricchio moved to Mexico City at age 12 with his family where he studied and learned English.
While living in Mexico, Serrichio competed nationally in martial art tournaments and became a scuba diving instructor and a certified rescue diver. In 2000, his family moved to New York where he attended Syracuse University as a theater major. During his sophomore year his family moved to Los Angeles, California.
He landed his first lead role in the film "States of Grace" and soon became a regular cast member on "General Hospital" playing the part of Diego Alcazar. When he's not landing TV and film gigs, Serricchio does stand-up comedy and charity work for foundations such as the Desi Geestman Foundation, which helps families affected by cancer.
Check out the official trailer for "The Wedding Ringer," which hits theaters on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015.
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