Isabela Moner Hopes 'Dora & The Lost City Of Gold' Inspires Next-Gen Latinx Kids – EXCLUSIVE
When she was growing up, Isabela Moner rarely saw people who looked like her on screen. As a young Latina woman, she hoped to watch people like herself in movies, but unfortunately, that wasn't so common. Now she's part of making sure that changes, especially thanks to her newest movie and its almost entirely Latinx cast. Isabela Moner hopes Dora & The Lost City Of Gold sheds light on the importance of representation in Hollywood, and inspires the next generation of Latinx kids watching at home.
Dora & the Lost City of Gold takes Dora the Explorer, the iconic animated character from the Nickelodeon series, and makes her story bigger and more action-packed for the big screen. The character was made famous on the preschool-age show Dora the Explorer, which teaches children skills, including how to speak Spanish. Those Hispanic and Latinx roots carry through to the movie in a big way, and they're important to Moner.
We deserve for our stories to be heard.
Moner tells Elite Daily one movie stood out to her when she was growing up because of its Latina lead: Selena. She was inspired by the film and hopes Dora & The Lost City of Gold can do a similar thing for young people today. "[Selena] was like one movie that I remember watching and I was super happy and really excited to see someone that I relate to and someone that I look like. I just loved that movie," Moner says. "And so I hope that this movie can be something like that for that kids who watch it."
The adventure movie follows Dora from the jungle to a big city high school and back to the jungle again, all while joined by a cast almost entirely comprised of Latinx actors.
"We deserve for our stories to be heard. I’ve never seen before such a heavy Latinx cast in a blockbuster like this. And I’m really proud of it, and I’m really glad that I’m a part of it," Moner explains.
Even though Dora gets aged up to be a teenager in the movie, she maintains a lot of the cartoon character's bright-eyed optimism.
"She has this unchangeable nature which is something I really admire about her. [I also admire] her positive energy and her optimism in every situation, and her ability to just be herself in every situation," Moner describes. "She can be in the worst position and still be herself, which is really admirable."
Dora cares a lot about learning and and making the world a better place, and Moner thinks that's part of what makes her a good role model.
"In a world where it’s cool to not care, cool to not say a lot, or just try to fit in, I think it’s a great message," Moner says.
Moner describes Dora & The Lost City of Gold as "Indiana Jones for kids." The majority of the movie was filmed on location in the jungle, and Moner and the main cast did many of their own stunts.
"They built this whole pool inside a stage and a water slide and it was huge," Moner remembers. "We got to slide down like 40 times. I mean, you just don’t know when you’re gonna get to do something like that again, so I tried to treasure that as much as possible."
Along with Dora, several other classic character from the original series show up in the movie, including Dora's best friend Boots the Monkey, who gets the CGI treatment for the film. But while she was filming on set, Moner experienced a much different version of Boots.
"We’d seen sketches and stuff and I saw that Boots was supposed to look cute," Moner says. "But in reality what they actually used on set when we were filming was a thing called a stuffy. It was actually really terrifying. It looked really lifelike and scary and like possessed. And it was just terrifying. And every time I would do a scene with it I jumped a little bit inside looking at it."
Moner says she's excited for fans to see the movie. She promises fans "everything they love from the original Dora" along with plenty of action and Latinx representation.
Dora & the Lost City of Gold is in theaters everywhere.