A new miniseries based on Mesoamerican mythology and created by a Mexican animator debuts this Friday on Netflix.
Maya and the Three, by Jorge Gutiérrez, tells the story of Maya, a warrior princess in a fantasy world. Gutiérrez based the magical story’s setting on Aztec, Mayan and Inca mythology, as well as modern day Caribbean culture. The nine-episode series features the voices of a number of well-known actors, including Gael García, Diego Luna, Joaquín Cosío and Kate del Castillo. The English version of the audio also features the voices of Zoe Saldaña and Alfred Molina.
To create the story, Gutiérrez conducted extensive research, reading the Popol Vuh, a sacred Mayan text, watching documentaries and even drawing inspiration from the work of painters like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jorge González Camarena.
When he began the project, however, Gutiérrez had doubts about whether he was the best person to tell the story.
“I felt the weight of thinking, who was I to represent this culture. I questioned myself a lot, but I realized that every person can tell their version. My mom’s enchiladas are different than those of my grandmother and those of my aunt, but now it’s my turn to make my own enchiladas. I’m Mexican and I have that right,” Gutiérrez said.
In the end, Gutiérrez was happy to be able to create a story with a strong female lead that honored Mexican and Latin American culture. He described characters like Maya — who was designed by his wife and fellow animator Sandra Equihua — as “super important, because Hispanic characters and Mexican women in the history of Hollywood have been hyper-sexualized … that’s how other countries see us.”
“The character of Maya represents humanity, but she comes from someone from Mexico, not just visually but also from the heart, and it shows,” Gutiérrez said.
With reports from Milenio