'Una Noche' Stars, Who Play Twins Fleeing Cuba, Expecting Twins After Fleeing Cuba
It's a remarkable story of art imitating life, sort of.
A pair of young Cuban actors who play twins who attempt to flee the Communist country have sought political asylum in the U.S. -- and are now expecting twins of their own.
The film is Una Noche, a gripping tale of a trio of beautiful Havana teenagers and their daring escape from the city. It began as the thesis film project from NYU film student Lucy Molloy. The project gained the interest of NYU alum Spike Lee, who offered his input from the early script stages and championed Una Noche through its debut on the 2012 film festival circuit. There it collected a slew of awards, including best actor, best cinematography and best new narrative director at the Tribeca Film Festival.
It was on the way to that festival in April 2012 that two of the film's stars -- Javier Nunez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, who play sensitive twin siblings Elio and Lila -- vanished from the Miami Airport during a layover to New York City. Only costar Dariel Arrechaga -- who plays their horny, hotheaded pal Raul -- made it to Tribeca, telling reporters there that he had no knowledge of their whereabouts. Three days later, the missing Cuban actors confirmed to Reuters that they were alive and well and seeking political asylum. The dramatic getaway made international headlines.
The pair, now both 21, have at last resurfaced, showing up to a recent Spanish-language press event in Miami. (The film is already in theaters in Miami and New York and currently available on iTunes; it gets a Los Angeles theatrical opening on Friday, Sept. 6.) It turns out that Nunez Florian and de la Rua de la Torre -- both non-actors chosen by Molloy after auditioning over 2,000 Cuban youth -- fell in love on the set, and are currently living together as boyfriend and girlfriend in Las Vegas. What's more, de la Rua de la Torre is four months pregnant with twins.
"It's just crazy, because they're twins in the movie," a flabbergasted Molloy tells The Hollywood Reporter by phone. "The screen twins are having real twins together!" Last week's press event in Miami was the first time the 33-year-old London native had laid eyes on her leads since shooting wrapped in 2010. Both stars are still interested in pursuing acting careers, Molloy says, but de la Rua de la Torre is waiting tables to get by while Nunez Florian has been "doing this and that." Arrechaga has been living legally in New York City, a source close to the actor tells THR.
The development is made all the stranger by the fact that Molloy, who had lived in Cuba for a number of years before shooting Una Noche, had noticed a great many pairs of identical twins living there and sought them out when casting extras: "If you look through the movie, a lot of them are identical twins. I just found it really amazing that there was so many twins in Havana. I thought it would be cool to incorporate that -- and because [Elio and Lila are] twins in the movie."
The Cuban government has so far remained silent on the actors' defections. Recent changes in Cuba's travel laws have increased the length its citizens can leave the country from 11 to 24 months. Meanwhile, on the American side, a new visa policy offers Cubans five years to visit the U.S., during which they can stay up to six months at a time.
"It's lucky for them," Molloy offers, hopefully. "They should be able to return to Cuba to see their family."