Aimee Garcia is bringing about the change she wants to see in Hollywood. The Lucifer actress stars in the new Netflix holiday film Christmas With You, which premieres on November 17. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Aimee about why she was drawn to this film in particular amid the holiday movie craze.
“Growing up, I never saw a classic Christmas movie with a Latino family. Even now, an all-American classic Christmas movie, where at the center of it is a Latino family, I think is also rare. And not only is there diversity in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. There’s a Latina director, Gabriela Tagliavini; Latino producers, German Torres; Latino writers. So I think in its own way, it’s this trailblazing movie where it’s a Christmas classic. It has all the stuff you love — romance, family, heart, and humor — but it also has a Latino POV. It has tequila and tamales and a little bit of Spanish and a multicultural aspect to it, which I think is so beautiful, because one of the biggest compliments was I just went on Kelly Clarkson, and she said, ‘I wanted to be part of this family. I watched it with my kids, and it made me want to be part of this family.’ It’s so beautiful to just have a film that’s universal but the family at the center just happens to be Latino.”
Aimee stars as a pop star named Angelina who escapes the city to grant a young fan’s wish in small-town New York after experiencing career burnout. Since she’s playing a pop star, Aimee truly dedicated herself to the role. She did all of her own singing, dancing, and piano playing in the film. She performs 3 songs in Christmas With You, including a Christmas song.
The actress revealed that she had “three days to prepare” to record the songs. “I’m not going to become a professional singer overnight. All I could do was just sing from my heart. I’m not the best singer, and I don’t have the best range. I’m not a professional. But I just sang honestly,” Aimee said.
Aimee also opened up about Angelina’s journey over the course of the film. “She has fame and fortune and Grammys, but she doesn’t have love,” Aimee said about Angelina. “Enter the very charming Freddie Prinze Jr. who I think was everyone’s heartthrob back in the day. Angelina’s been accused of not being relevant anymore, which I think is a very relatable thing for anybody of any gender. It’s a very human thing to feel like you’re not valued anymore, and you’re not needed anymore. So she goes through that when she’s replaced by a younger, more successful pop star.
She continued, “She really wants to reconnect with her fans, and she finds this young woman who was about to have her quinceañera, and her Christmas wish is to have a selfie. That’s what starts us on our journey of this fish out of water, total diva, coming into a small town and maybe or maybe not falling for the music teacher who is the 14-year-old’s dad. It has Notting Hill vibes.”
Aimee added that Christmas With You is “very female-forward in that she’s the kind of unattainable one, and he’s the homemaker. It’s really nice to see that switch, and Freddie does such a wonderful job. I mean, I think it’s his first romantic comedy in 20 years. So in a way, it’s a comeback for him, which is really fun.”
The Lucifer alum gushed over working alongside Freddie in the film. “He was so professional. He just has this very subtle charm, and I love the choices he made,” Aimee told HollywoodLife. “He has Hugh Grant charm, but he doesn’t have Hugh Grant external energy. He really draws you in as an actor and as an audience. He was just always down to try scenes in a different way. He has the biggest heart, and he would kill me if I said this, but he’s just gooey on the inside. I think that it’ll be really nice for people to see him as just a charming, romantic leading man, which he does so effortlessly but in a different way, right?”
Aimee was excited to showcase some of her Latina culture in the film, including her mom’s special cure-all. “My mom’s cure-all for everything is tequila. Sprained your ankle? Tequila. If you have a headache… tequila. So obviously, it was really fun to see the grandma bring that out as a cure-all for everything. That felt very comforting,” Aimee told HollywoodLife.
Spanish is also Aimee’s first language, and she was grateful to have “certain lines” in Spanish. “I have to give Netflix a lot of credit,” she said. “At the beginning of the process. I said, ‘Would it be possible to do a stanza of the Christmas song in Spanish?’ And Netflix said yes. I translated it myself because I was googling American Latin Christmas songs, and the only thing that kept coming up was ‘Feliz Navidad.’ So I thought it’d be really nice to have an original Christmas song that has a little bit of Spanish in there. That felt really nice because in my family we sing and dance in both Spanish and English because we’re Mexican and Puerto Rican. It was really nice to bring that to this very sweet Christmas movie.”
In addition to acting, Aimee also has her own production company that she started with New York Times bestselling author AJ Mendez. “We started this production company, Scrappy Heart, and we decided to create the change we wanted to see. We wrote a bunch of comics in the DC universe, in Dungeons and Dragons, very female-forward in like writing Latin families in the Wonder Woman world.”
She went on to say, “We wrote the sequel to 47 Ronin and wrote for female samurai, because we thought, why can’t female samurai exist in movies? We’re very happy that the two protagonists of the movie are female, and it just dropped on Netflix on October 25. It’s a movie that we co-wrote and it highlights badass women. I feel like hopefully if there isn’t a sequel my goal is just to write the movies and the shows that I didn’t have as a kid, like a ton of Christmas movies with Latina leads and action movies with women of color that are just female-forward. I hope that we are headed in the right direction. There still is a long way to go, but I feel like the best way to really implement change is just to roll up your sleeves and create and write the change yourself.”