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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
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.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world