Ken Marino
Ken Marino Credit: Getty Images

Sadly, Ken Marino isn’t in “How to Be a Latin Lover.” But he did direct it. The prolific comic actor — an alum of “The State,” “Party Down” and his own sexy fireman show “Burning Love” — stays behind the camera on the new comedy, a vehicle for actor Eugenio Derbez, whose “Instructions Not Included” became the highest grossing Mexican film of all time back in 2013. Derbez plays a gold digger whose old, rich wife dumps him after 25 years. So he goes scouting for a second one, all while giving his young nephew (Raphael Alejandro) terrible, terrible advice.

We talked to Marino, 48, and our conversation got silly pretty much immediately.

So, what did you learn about being a Latin lover, being yourself an Italian-American?
Well, if I was taking tips from this movie, I’d be getting the wrong tips. I guess you can learn how to do a little sexy walk. Have a lot of confidence. But there’s a lot of bad advice thrown out in the movie.

I feel like most dating columns give out bad advice anyway.
I agree, I agree. But I guess I stopped reading those once I got married.

You don’t have to care anymore.
You should always care. You should always be working at a relationship. If you’re married, you should never sit back. You should always be trying to make it better and better and better. That’s what it’s all about. It’s work, but it’s work that you want to do.

So at least you’re giving me good advice.
I guess so!

You directed this but did not act in it. Did you feel left out with the actors.
No, I enjoy doing both. If there was a part in it where I thought it would be fun to play, I would have done it. But I just enjoyed directing this movie and not worrying about acting in it.

What is your directorial style? Are you incredibly dictatorial?
I don’t let the actors look me in the eye. If they do, they’re fired immediately. And I usually don’t wear pants.

That should keep them on their toes. Do you yell “Not funny!” if you don’t think they’re being funny?
I just yell “Again!” very loudly until they get it.

The director Samuel Fuller used to shoot a gun when he began a take.
I did something very similar: I would set people on fire at the end of a take. You’ve got to take it to another level. Sam, he did that already. So what are you going to do?

I have to admit I didn’t know Eugenio Derbez before “Instructions Not Included.” I felt very stupid and out of the loop.
A lot of people here in the States aren’t familiar with him. The hope for this movie is to get more people to know him. Because he certainly is a comic force.

And sadly it's rare to see Salma Hayek, who plays Derbez’s sister, do comedy.
She’s so good at it! I don’t think she gets as many chances to do comedy as I certainly want her to have. Because she’s talented on top of being so beautiful.

Is that intimidating, directing someone so beautiful?
See, I thought you were going to ask it the other way around: “Was it hard for her to look at me and my beauty?” And the answer is, no it wasn’t hard for her at all, because she clearly wasn’t intimidated nor did she think I was particularly beautiful.

We have to wrap this up.
It was a pleasure, Matt. And I feel like we’ve talked to each other long enough for me to say this: I love you.

I love you, too. I feel like you made this movie only so I could tell you how much I love you.
Maybe I did.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge


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