Rob Schneider To Star in and Direct Spanish-Language Comedy ‘Amor es Amor’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By John Hopewell / Variety

BERLIN — Teaming two of the most energetic players on the new Spanish-language content scene, El Estudio and Infinity Hill are teaming to produce “Amor es Amor,” Rob Schneider’s Spanish-language movie debut as both an actor and director.

A comedy, “Amor es Amor” turns on Enrique Juarez, an up-and-coming Mexican telenovela actor on the verge of breakthrough as a leading man, who has to hide his true self in order to achieve stardom.

That includes creating a fake relationship with former pop sensation, Sofia. The mastermind behind the whole scheme is Julian Rodin (Schneider), a big TV network honcho, who is secretly having an affair with Sofia.

“Amor es amor” marks the latest turn in a career which saw Schneider debut in 1990 as a writer and soon after cast member on “SNL,” then break out out in movies in “Deuce Bigalow – Male Gigolo” in which he created one of his most famed characters, a sad-eyed and inordinately hapless fish tank cleaner pushed by cruel happenstance into becoming a “man whore,” as his pimp tells him.

Schneider longstanding friendship and artistic collaboration with Adam Sandler caused The New York Times to dub them the Hope and Crosby of the 1990 and 2000s. Schneider has always been more than an actor, however, co-writing “Deuce Bigalow,” writing 2001’s “The Animal,” 2002’s “ The Hot Chick” and 2010’s “The Chosen One.”

From 2015, he has written, directed and starred in “Real Rob,” now renewed at Netflix, a fictionalized autobiography about Schneider and his real-life wife Patricia Maya Schneider, trying to make it in Hollywood.

Written by Schneider and Patricia Maya Schneider, who also penned “Real Rob,” “Amor es amor” is not a large leap, he said  describing it as “a funny and warm rom-com, to be made entirely in Spanish.”

He added: “Mexico is basically my second home, where I met my wife and where some of my favorite movies in the world were made, so directing and starring in a Latin American film is both a joy, a pleasure and kind of natural for me.”

“Amor es amor” is produced by Diego Suarez Chialvo, Pablo Cruz and Enrique López Lavigne for El Estudio and Axel Kuschevatzky, Phin Glynn and Cindy Teperman for Infinity Hills.

Launching at last November’s American Film Market, Infinity Hill partners longtime Telefonica and Viacom exec Axel Kuschevatzky, one of the Spanish-speaking world’s highest-profile film executives, “Waiting for Anya” producer Phin Glynn and producer Cindy Teperman (“Animal”).

Based out of L.A, London and Buenos Aires-based, Infinity Hill’s announced productions to date take in well-received Berlin competition player “The Intruder,” The Doorman,” produced by Glynn, starring Ruby Rose (Warner Bros.’ “Batwoman”) and Jean Reno (“Leon”) and a Lionsgate U.S. pick up; ”“Hunters in the Dark,” adapting Lawrence Osborne; and a William Boyd adaptation of Graham Greene’s “The Captain and the Enemy.”

Going public at this year’s Berlin Festival, the MediaNet Partners-backed El Estudio teams three of the most connected producers in the Spanish-speaking world: Canana head Pablo Cruz, “The Impossible” producer Enrique López Lavigne; and former Sony Pictures Intl. Productions head Diego Suárez Chialvo.

With offices in Mexico, Los Angeles and Madrid, its early El Estudio hits the ground running with 63 projects in development or production. Early partners include Sony Pictures Intl. Productions (“Juan of the Dead”), Netflix (“El Baile de los 41,”), HBO, Lionsgate (“Verguenza”) and Viacom Intl. Pictures.

Beyond “Amor es Amor,” multiple more productions and a key strategic alliance will be announced from Berlin through Cannes including titles with Chile’s Pablo Larraín (“Jackie”), Argentina’s Pablo Trapero (“The Clan”), Spain’s Paco Plaza (“Veronica”), Mexico’s Karla Souza (“How To Get Away With Murder”) Omar Chaparro (“No Manches, Frida”), and Catalina Aguilar Mastretta (“The Hours With You”).

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