Maluma is a bona fide music sensation, now he has his sights set on becoming a Hollywood movie star, too. The Colombian singer, born Juan Luis Londoño Arias, made his feature debut in Marry Me, starring alongside Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.
"Ten years ago I said, 'I am going to be an actor in Hollywood,' but I never thought my first movie would be with Jennifer and Owen and in a leading role," he says. "I learned so much, and I am grateful to the team for letting me be part of it. I think that one is also born with the gift of acting, and as much as you want to act, if you aren't blessed with that gift, that gets hard. But there was a naturalness to it, because it felt like I had done it before. At my concerts, I become a character — which is Maluma."
In Marry Me, Lopez plays pop superstar Kat Valdez, who is set to wed her equally successful singer fiancé, Bastian (Maluma), during a live telecast. Moments before they're set to say "I do," Kate discovers he's been cheating on her. So, she decides to marry a complete stranger in the crowd, school teacher Charlie (Wilson). Along with co-starring in the rom-com, Maluma was involved in the soundtrack, writing "Segundo," "1 en 1 million," and collaborating on the title track.
The multi-hyphenate has grand plans for what comes next. "I want to be in action movies. All my life, I've been a huge fan of James Bond. I love Batman," he says. "Superhero and action movies interest me, I would love to be part of those."
Below, Maluma shares the five movies that have most influenced his career as a musician, songwriter and artist.
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis | Written by: William Broyles Jr.
It was one of the first times that I went to the movie theater, and I remember that I went with my parents and my sister in Medellín. There were a lot of scenes that impressed me — obviously Tom Hanks' acting. I felt very connected to him with everything that he went through when he was on the island alone. Because as a kid, one also feels that type of loneliness. I remember the scene where he finds Wilson, and he hugs him, and he's full of joy — like if it was a person. And me, as a kid, I thought that way. I thought that my friends weren't just people, but also objects. So, I felt very connected to that scene and all the story in general. I think from that day, cinema made a huge universal jump.
Directed and written by: James Cameron
I love Avatar and it's one of my favorite movies, because I am a dreamer. Since I was young, I always believed in the impossible, and that's why I'm sitting here today. When I was in college, they told me that I wasn't going to get anywhere, that music wasn't for me, and that I should dedicate myself to soccer. And I told my friends, "You're going to remember me. In 10 years, you're going to see me not only singing, but also as an actor in Hollywood. And I'm going to make it with a lot of hard work and discipline."
For me, that represents Avatar. It's about dreaming about the impossible, seeing a world that is not a reality, but bringing that world to reality and making one's dreams happen. That's why Avatar is a movie that inspires me, and also, since I was a kid, I loved animals. I love horses and that animal that sort of represents that "horse" of Avatar represents a lot to me. I also have a huge connection with horses and those animals sort of remind me of them.
Directed by: Leon Ichaso | Written by: Leon Ichaso, David Darmstaeder and Todd Anthony Bello
Héctor Lavoe is my favorite singer. I have admired a lot of artists, but he's who I enjoy listening to the most, and who unfortunately isn't with us any more. He died around the same time that I was born, so, I feel that connection with Héctor Lavoe. And when I met Marc [Anthony] and had the opportunity of working with him, I spoke to him a lot about the movie. I told him that it was one of my favorites, that I appreciated him portraying Héctor Lavoe, and that he was the perfect person to take on that role. Now years later, I'm working with Jennifer Lopez on Marry Me. So, I have a lot of connections with the movie. It also shows you that dreaming big is worth it and nothing is impossible.
Directed and written by: Robert Rodriguez
I love seeing Latinos in big movies. I have always been a big fan of Antonio Banderas. I remember once I was doing a big tour in Europe and we rented a private jet, and it was Antonio Banderas' jet — but I didn't know. On all the plates and around the plane, it read "A.B." and I said, "Could this be Antonio's jet?" And it was! I always felt a great connection when seeing Latinos in Hollywood movies. I also love Mexican culture, mariachi, rancheras, tequila and tacos. I feel very connected to Mexican culture, and that's why I also love Desperado.
Directed by: Fernando González Molina | Written by: Ramón Salazar
Tres Metros Sobre el Cielo is a movie from Spain that left a mark on me because when I watched it I was living a very similar life to the main character. I thought that nothing could happen to me, that I was invincible, that I could have any woman in the world. But, at the end of the day, if something happens in movies, it could happen in real life too. And, at the end, the story isn't what you expect. So, I identified a lot with the movie and the main character. I feel like it's a movie that took Spanish cinema to another level. There isn't a person in Latin America that hasn't heard of the film, and I would love to be a part of Spanish cinema.