13 episodes

When Edward James Olmos set out on his directorial debut, American Me, he wanted to accomplish two things: to represent Chicano culture on the big screen and to save part of his community from gang violence. But when people were allegedly murdered because of their participation in the film and Olmos himself was allegedly extorted by the real life Mexican Mafia, it exposed the unintended risks of trying to represent someone with an agenda in mind, even a well-meaning one. On the 30th anniversary of the cult classic, host Alex Fumero and producer Nigel Duara delve into the true story of American Me and the legacy the controversial film left behind.

More Than a Movie: American Me My Cultura Network

    • True Crime
    • 4.4 • 80 Ratings

When Edward James Olmos set out on his directorial debut, American Me, he wanted to accomplish two things: to represent Chicano culture on the big screen and to save part of his community from gang violence. But when people were allegedly murdered because of their participation in the film and Olmos himself was allegedly extorted by the real life Mexican Mafia, it exposed the unintended risks of trying to represent someone with an agenda in mind, even a well-meaning one. On the 30th anniversary of the cult classic, host Alex Fumero and producer Nigel Duara delve into the true story of American Me and the legacy the controversial film left behind.

    Retrospective

    Retrospective

    We recap what we've learned, especially the whirlwind final months when we got to the bottom of what happened here.

    We set out to find out what happened during and after the production of the movie American Me. It took six months, but we think we've determined who did what, and why they did it. Instead of fuzzy memories and street rumors, we finally talked to some of the people closest to the events. We put the events in context for the listener and provide our major takeaways. For perhaps the first time ever, we learn the "why" to one of the most notorious movie productions in American history.

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    A Former Mexican Mafia Member Sets The Record Straight

    A Former Mexican Mafia Member Sets The Record Straight

    A former member of the Mexican Mafia who was in the criminal syndicate at the time of the movie, explains how it all went down.

    A former member of the Mexican Mafia explains the process of extorting Edward James Olmos and the fallout on the street after the release of the movie, including the reasons for the killings of people who participated. He explains how the gang works, to what they took offense, and why people died. 

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 23 min
    Edward James Olmos' Right-Hand Man: Danny Haro

    Edward James Olmos' Right-Hand Man: Danny Haro

    Danny Haro was Edward James Olmos' right-hand man during his extortion and the production of the movie

    Danny Haro worked with Edward James Olmos throughout his career and was instrumental as the link between the filmmaker and the Mexican Mafia. He coordinated the delivery of the script to the prison and served as the go-between for Olmos and the Mexican Mafia. 

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 47 min
    Antoinette Levine

    Antoinette Levine

    Antoinette Levine was one of the best-known location managers in Hollywood when Edward James Olmos asked her to get him into a prison. 

    Antoinette Levine was one of the premier Hollywood location managers in the early 1990s, with a talent for finding gritty Los Angeles backdrops for directors like Tony Scott. When she pitched Edward James Olmos on her vision, he went for it — then asked her to get him into Folsom Prison. With some convincing, she was able to get the movie to film in an active, working prison, a Hollywood first.

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min
    Lives In Hazard: The Real Hood of American Me

    Lives In Hazard: The Real Hood of American Me

    While American Me was being filmed, a documentary was being shot behind the scenes following the real-life gangsters who were working on the movie.

    Filmmakers Susan Todd and Andy Young join the podcast to talk about "Lives In Hazard" the documentary they made behind the scenes about the neighborhood gang members and the inmates at Folsom who were integrated into the cast and crew. We'll hear about the real-life or death scenarios behind American Me as documented by the filmmaking duo.

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 39 min
    Erick Galindo: What The Streets Said About American Me

    Erick Galindo: What The Streets Said About American Me

    Writer Erick Galindo grew up with American Me and remembers vividly the impact it had on the streets of L.A.

    Podcaster and writer Erick Galindo doesn't hold back in the recounting of his childhood in East and Southeast LA in the 1990s. And in those days, the movie that every kid in the barrio knew backwards and forwards was American Me. Erick says he saw firsthand how the film impacted recruitment into gangs and the word on the street when it came to the murders connected to the movie.

     

    More Than a Movie: American Me is a podcast that digs into the history and mystery of American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos that had a huge impact on Latino cinema and culture. In every episode, our host, Alex Fumero will be diving into the controversy behind the movie.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
80 Ratings

80 Ratings

BIGSMILEYSESDLKS13 ,

Fire

Very informative.

alonzomourningfan33kidney ,

A+

I love this podcast I’ve been listening to it all week

Herrow herrow how low ,

Talk Show NOT Documentary

I legit learned more in 30 minutes of watching Danny Trejo interviews about American Me on DJ Vlad & a 15 min scene establishing of American Me, plus a clip of the Documentary about American Me — than 4 hours of this podcast that are 50% ads. This is so biased and overlooks Olmos’s entitlement, especially as a successful male in the Industry. They just lionize this coward for no reason. Bring up the Jerry’s Deli meeting with Trejo, but don’t say what happened! Had to go to the source. These dudes do NOT know ANYTHING about the film industry (I do), and the stereotyping of Latinos and glamorization of gang life this move brought about. It did the opposite of being a PSA — and if it was trying to combat gang recruitment, why bring REAL gang members on set to “act” in the movie?

They also go a gang interventionist killed!! She was doing real work to save lives — and Olmos brought her in, used her, and had her working a degrading job on set.

Don’t call this an audio documentary, then proceed to just gossip with has been actors & extras about what happened 30 years ago in disorganized interviews that produce nothing because these people know nothing about what actually happened behind the camera. They didn’t care. They took the opportunity for granted.

ALSO — the irony of this host saying “Capitalism” or “gotta sacrifice blood to the overlords” before YOUR 3 MINUTE ADS that YOU PROFIT OFF OF is off the charts. Greedy. Lastly, stop calling MM “Chicanos.” Chicanos were actual activists and revolutionaries that believed in non-violence — not Mobsters doing whatever it takes to obtain money and power. Just shows how out of touch these suburban middle class kids are talking about this subject matter — just like the “DIRECTOR” (Actor) who made this movie that didn’t even bother asking human beings for permission to use their likeness and story in HIS script. You have to get permission. A good filmmaker making a Biopic SHOULD not only get permission — but SPEAK to them firsthand and get their story. Otherwise, do what every other “based on a true story” film does, and change some names, combine some characters — and then you can even get away with all the “creative license” this film took.

Again, it created a stereotype of all Mexicans. It did not have a positive impact on the community. And per the comment about Hoffman & Pacino: if Dustin Hoffman EVER got cast to ACTUALLY play a Jewish character, and was able to get hired in Hollywood as an openly Jewish man — people would “remember him as a Jewish-American actor.” There’s absolutely NO Jewish representation in any TV or Movies or Documentaries UNLESS they’re playing Antisemitic trope or it’s featuring Hasids from Brooklyn to make all Jews look like weirdos! And the only actual representation’s always played by NON-JEWS like Robert Dinero! Quit being so ignorant. Danny Trejo actually has respect.

Btw, on set, in LA, over half of the crew are Latino. You guys are so out of touch! My God.

Top Podcasts In True Crime

NBC News
NBC News
audiochuck
Tenderfoot TV, Resonate Recordings & Cadence 13
Fox Audio Network
Tiffany Reese | Wondery

You Might Also Like

iHeartPodcasts
The Black Effect and iHeartPodcasts
The Black Effect and iHeartPodcasts
A Tradition of Violence
iHeartPodcasts
The Black Effect and iHeartPodcasts