Marc Anthony & J-Lo at El Cantante Premier

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez were on hand for the premiere of El Cantante at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week.

The film was produced by Lopez and stars Anthony in the leading role as Hector Lavoe, the legendary salsa singer, and Lopez as his hot-headed wife Puchi. While the film did not win the top prize at the festival, Picturehouse, an independent distributor co-owned by HBO and New Line Cinema, paid just under $6 million for North American distribution rights to the drug-fuelled story of the late salsa pioneer.

The film is a biopic of Hector Lavoe, a Puerto Rican salsa singer who became crazy famous in the late 1960s and in the 1970s. However, despite his incredible success, Hector sought alcohol and drugs as a refuge from his own fame and pain. He survived the death of his brother in a car crash, the murder of his mother-in-law, the death of his father, and the accidental death of his son with his wife Puchi at his side. The weight of these tragedies, in addition to the alcohol and drug abuse, lead him to jump off the ninth floor of a hotel room in an apparent attempted suicide. Those closest to him later claimed that he saw a vision of his son outside the window asking him to come outside. Although he survived the fall he would never be the same from that day forward. He died four years later from complications related to AIDS, which he probably contracted through his extensive intravenous drug use. Also, even though he was wildly successful, due to his excesses he died penniless.

The tragic story of a man that made amazing music. I just can’t wait to see this film.

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