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Mexican myths morph into Austin-made movie

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TWC News: Lone Star Scene: Mexican myths morph into Austin-made movie
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The Travis County courthouse has likely never seen a case like the scene that plays out in "El Güey." The upcoming Austin-made movie puts a modern twist on Mexican folklore with characters that include Chupacabra, La Llorona and a Tex-Mex luchador who's laying down the law.

On trial for the death of her children is Lilith Manes, a modern day embodiment of the Mexican myth La Llorona, and she says she's gotten a bad rap.

"They're bringing in witnesses who are all saying the same thing. I claim the Chupacabra killed my children. No one believes me, of course, because they think it's a myth," actor Elle LaMont said.

Outside the courtroom, the trial draws sensational Casey Anthony-style coverage.

"The media deems her La Llorona, or 'The Wailer,' 'The Crier,' and so she's on trial telling everyone that the Chupacabra was responsible for killing her kids," director Eduardo A. Tobias, a San Antonio native, said.

Over the past three weeks, Tobias and his crew shot in Austin-area courtrooms, jails, bars and boxing gyms setting the stage for the movie's musclebound hero. The title character is a renegade wrestler who moonlights as supernatural bounty hunter.

"She hires me, The Dude 'El Güey,' to find out and handle that business," actor Raymond Tostado said.

The premise brings new life to characters that have haunted Latin folklore for centuries,
including a murderous drug dealer who shape shifts into El Chupacabara.

"He's a suave, but a creepy, powerful beast," actor and producer Jesse Campos said.

Working on a budget of less than $7000 calls for local actors, free locations and a film student getting the most bang for the buck.

"I'm a huge Robert Rodriguez, [Quentin] Tarantino fan and it was sort of my homage to what they have done," said Tobias, who studies film at the University of Texas-Arlington.

This crew doesn't have much in the budget for special effects, but they believe their impact comes from a strong cross-culture take on the superhero genre.

"I kind of refer to him as El Batman Mexicano, the Mexican Batman. He has no superpowers. His power lies in his corazón," Campos said.

Producers of "El Güey" plan to finish the film over the summer and screen it in Austin and San Antonio in early November.

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