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People Staff
October 23, 2007 AT 05:00 PM EDT

After a long search for a distributor, the film Bella, winner of the 2006 Audience’s Choice Award in Toronto, will finally hit the big screen this Friday. The movie stars Eduardo Verástegui, who assures that his character does not reflect the typical stereotypes of Latinos who live in the United States.

“In the United States, they portray us as drunks, criminals, drug dealers or gang-bangers, and as Latin lovers or womanizers. That was the stereotype that fed my career for 12 years,” the Mexican actor, 33, told news agency EFE.

Verástegui and U.S. actress Tammy Blanchard play two people whose lives change forever when the actor’s character loses everything and ends up appreciating family values. Verástegui also produces the film directed by the Mexican Alejandro Monteverde.

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