Miles Morales’ movie debut in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is nothing less than empowering for Afro-Latinx people everywhere. The Brooklyn-born teen was born to an African American dad and Puerto Rican mom and the scenes where we see them together couldn’t feel more authentic.
One of the main reasons why? Rio Morales, voiced by Nuyorican actress Luna Lauren Velez, speaks mostly Spanish throughout the entirety of the film—and isn’t subtitled.
Remezcla had an opportunity to speak to the cast and crew on the red carpet at the premiere in Los Angeles, including writer/producer Phil Lord. Lord was also in charge of the Spanish-language dialogue in the film.
“I grew up in a bilingual household in the bilingual city of Miami where you hear Spanish all over the place, and it’s not particularly remarkable,” he told Remezcla. “I certainly understand what it’s like to feel like you’re half one thing and half something else.”
Lord talked about how important it was for the cast and crew to hear Spanish in the film and not necessarily have it subtitled in order to normalize it. He explained that the intent behind it was so that, “it’s just part of Miles’ community and family life.”
“That was really bold, because if you use subtitles all of a sudden we are outside, and we are not part of this world anymore. It was brilliant that they just allowed for it to exist,” Velez explained to Remezcla.
Shameik Moore, who voiced Miles, also worked with a dialect coach in order to make the parts where his character does speak Spanish sound more authentic. Velez spoke about how important it was for Miles to speak in both languages in the film.
“Growing up my parents spoke to us in Spanish and responded in English,” she said. “Now this happens with my nieces and nephews. You want to make sure kids remember their culture and where they come from.”
You can catch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in theaters on December 14.