Cheech Marin Reflects On Chaplinesque Approach To ‘Born in East LA’

One of the wonderful aspects of co-hosting Matt and Greg Used To Interview Movie Stars is getting movie recommendations from actors and filmmakers. During The Lion King press junket, Cheech Marin talked about Born in East L.A., and if you want to hear some archived Marin audio, take a listen below!

The Lion King press junket took place on May 20, 1994, and Marin (voice of Banzai) was asked to name two of his favorite movies from his body of work. His answer was Up in Smoke and Born in East L.A. Here’s what he had to say about the latter film (the full Cheech Marin interview starts at 30:20 of the episode):



“It represented my first solo project,” said Marin. “And also it was a combination of some kind of statement about societal issues combined with comedy. For me it harkened back to classic kind of comedians like Charlie Chaplin that could combine both of those things in a broad comic format.”

“If I was going to a studio today and say ‘I want to make a comedy about immigration,’ they would just laugh at you or (say) ‘I don’t think so it’s not a funny subject,'” added Marin. “But it was a funny subject. There is humor in it but there is tragedy in it as well. It’s how to combine those elements, tragedy and humor, in a form that’s not leaden. It’s like a balloon, it’s a souffle. You have to have this big light mass in order to carry this little payload.”

Here’s the full audio version of Cheech’s answer:

Born in East L.A. was released this year via Shout! Factory, and extras on the Blu-ray include:

  1. A new audio commentary from director/writer/star Cheech Marin.
  2. New interview with Cheech Marin,
  3. New interview with actress Kamala Lopez
  4. New interview with actor Paul Rodriguez.
  5. Extended television cut of Born in East L.A. (standard definition)
  6. Theatrical trailer, photo gallery, and production notes.

Have you seen Born in East L.A.? If so, tell us what you think of the feature (I still haven’t checked it out). To subscribe to Matt and Greg Used To Interview Movie Stars, check out our website.