IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Real-life road trip helped ‘Brad’s Status’ actors bond
TORONTO » Ben Stiller thought the best way to prepare for his role as a dad taking his son on a college tour in the film “Brad’s Status” was to take the actor playing his son on an actual road trip.
So Stiller and Austin Abrams got in a car and took a drive from Montreal to New York, making stops along the way. “I feel like it really it helped because we’re supposed to be like father and son,” Abrams said.
The bittersweet comedy has Stiller’s character, Brad, driving his son around the Northeast looking at schools, but all he can think about are his own failures in life. Along the way, he starts to question if he has really failed.
Stiller saw the subject matter as relatable, along with having a chance to work with Mike White, who wrote and directed the film, which hit theaters Friday.
The road trip not only helped the two actors’ relationship on screen. Stiller said they also had a great time doing it. On the way, Stiller stopped at a historical attraction and dressed up in a Revolutionary War outfit, much to embarrassment of Abrams.
That moment made it feel real. “I was like hey, we’re father and son. This is happening,” Stiller said.
J Balvin arrives to US with “Mi gente” high in the charts
NEW YORK » J Balvin has kicked off the U.S. leg of his “Energia Tour” with seven sold-out concerts and the hit “Mi gente” high up on the Spotify and Billboard charts.
The reggaeton star’s “Mi gente” is the third fastest to reach 500 million views in YouTube and already exceeds 746 million since its release this summer, according to Balvin’s label, Universal Music Group. It is in the top five of Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart and is in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“I am really super grateful. All I can do is thank God and the audience for the blessings they have given me,” Balvin said from his native Colombia. “I believe this is only the beginning,” he added. “I feel it very deep within me. I am a man of great faith and I believe that I am just starting.”
“Mi gente,” a collaboration with DJ Willy Williams of France, is Balvin’s eighth No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay. It is one of very few Spanish songs that can be heard on the U.S. top 40, and comes right after Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s megahit “Despacito.”
Balvin said dealing with the pressure and temptations of fame hasn’t been a problem for him.
“It’s not hard,” he said firmly. “When you know that these are blessings that not everyone has it lets you be more thankful. Few people have this gift, so we need to behave well.”
Something that he says has helped him stay grounded — surrounding himself with good people. “Childhood friends, my family, my blood — that helps a lot,” he said. “To a great extent, you should not allow yourself to be swayed much by it, you have to simply enjoy it.”
J Balvin performs during the Latin Billboard Awards in Coral Gables, Fla.