A bus ride that started in the Bronx and – four years later – arrived in Cannes

Director Michel Gondry brings New York teenagers to a world they'd never seen

Four years ago a group of teenagers from the Bronx joined a bus ride that would take them to Cannes. None of them had left America until they hit the Croisette this week with the new movie by Green Hornet director Michel Gondry.

Seven of the young stars of The We and the I, the film that opened in Cannes this week, were stunned to spend just one full day in the city.

One of them, Raymond Delgado, said: "It's so beautiful I don't want to go home."

Another, Alex Barrios, added: "There's a lot of love that I never felt before."

The film was four years in the making, and follows the story of a group of kids on a long bus ride after the last day of school. It tracks the different stories and group dynamics that emerge over the journey.

It was Gondry's brainchild, and a world away from the big budget Green Hornet. The director was inspired by a journey on a bus packed with rowdy teens over a quarter of a century ago. He discovered a number of youths at a community centre in the Bronx called The Point and spent three years interviewing them in preparation for the film that largely takes place on the bus. Delgado said: "These stories need to be told." Laidychen Carrasco added: "These stories came naturally to us – we're kind of playing ourselves. Eighty-five per cent is not acting – it's real." None had ever acted in a film before.

Gondry pointed to their tough backgrounds – "such as the kid who's lost his father, the girl who gets molested by the tough nuts". He said: "These kids' lives aren't easy; they have to work and contribute to the family's income."

One had lost his mother and had to look after his paralysed grandmother. There was originally no part for him but after working on the production side, he stepped in when another youngster dropped out.

Brandon Diaz said that acting on screen was tough: "With this project it's even worse because it's our stories. So if people say 'why did they do that?', it's actually our life stories. It's not like we're acting about going into outer space."

Yet Diaz thinks the film could help those who face similar situations. He said: "I hope that in general the movie can save someone's life. You know if you are the guy being bullied, people do care."

Jonathan Ortiz said: "Yeah, like you're the guy who always wanted to say something but kept it in..."

Michael Brodie said: "You can stand up to bullies. Don't be afraid to speak your mind."

The stories and issues are universal, Jillian Rice said. "Every bus in every country has rowdy teenagers and they all have problems."

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power