No matter the medium, the work of queer comedian Julio Torres is unmistakable, bringing magic to the mundane and inviting us to look at the world in new ways.
He brought a welcome sense of weirdo whimsy to SNL, he gave agency to a
plunger vase in a colorful children’s book, he flipped the script on serialized television with his (gone-too-soon) horror-comedy Los Espookys, and he even introduced to a few of his favorite shapes in his first-ever comedy special.
So it should come as no surprise that Julio Torres’ first foray into feature filmmaking is clearly, unequivocally, without a doubt the work of Julio Torres—and we can’t wait to see it.
Written, directed by, and starring Torres, Problemista is the story of Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer who (like the comedian himself) moved from El Salvador to New York City to pursue his dreams.
But Alejandro’s time in the big city is quite literally running out, as his work visa is set to expire in a month and he’s in need of someone to sponsor him. Unfortunately, his best shot is a peculiar art world outcast he’s been freelancing for named Elizabeth, who agrees to co-sign Alejandro’s visa so long as he helps her curate a new art exhibition.
In a fantastic casting coup, Elizabeth is played by cinema’s preeminent prestige oddball, Tilda Swinton. We simply can’t think of a better compliment to Torres’ outré sensibilities, and our heads are spinning at the mere thought of these two iconoclasts sharing the screen.
Beyond that dynamic duo, Problemista boasts an intriguing, eclectic ensemble, which also includes Fire Island star James Scully, scene-stealer Greta Lee, A League Of Their Own‘s Kelly McCormack, Hacks breakout Megan Stalter, Wu-Tang legend RZA, comedian and powerhouse vocalist Larry Owens, and the soothing vocals of Isabella Rosselini as the narrator.
From indie auteur studio A24 and co-produced by Emma Stone and her husband Dave McCary (a former SNL director), Problemista premiered earlier this year at SXSW where it was met with glowing reviews. Slate called it a “hilarious twist on the American Dream,” while Indiewire hailed it as “hilarious” and “a confident, imaginative calling card” for Torres as a filmmaker.
Problemista opens in select theaters on August 4. Check out its exciting, inventive first trailer below:
Looks quirky but interesting, with Tilda Swinton to boot.