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Rudy Mancuso and Camila Mendes play love interests in ‘Música.’ Their chemistry sparked a real-life romance.

In Entertainment
April 06, 2024

Millions of people know Rudy Mancuso as a social media star. Now he’s starring in his first movie Música, which he also co-wrote and directed.

The coming-of-age romantic comedy premiered at South by Southwest festival in March and is now streaming on Prime Video. Mancuso, who got his start on the short-lived video platform Vine, is best known for his comedic music videos and “Awkward Puppets” skits.

He told Yahoo Entertainment that he has been “auditioning” material for his first feature film throughout his online career.

“Film and music have always been my foremost passions, but the internet [popularity] happened organically,” the 32-year-old said. “I just happened to start filming music videos and characters and developed a following that way.”

In Música, Mancuso plays a fictionalized version of himself as he navigates life in Newark, N.J., as a street performer with synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes him to hear rhythm coming from everyday sounds. He’s also dealing with a crumbling relationship with his long-term girlfriend Haley (Francesca Reale) and a budding romance with Isabella, played by Camila Mendes.

The movie closely reflects Mancuso’s real life — he is a Brazilian musician from Newark, he has synesthesia (a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one of the senses induces a reaction in other senses) and his onscreen mom is played by his actual mother. But Mancuso’s life also drew from the movie: It helped him fall in love.

Mancuso is now dating his co-star Mendes. In the movie, he’s in the middle of a synesthesia-induced musical scene in a market when he first locks eyes with her. An enormous fish immediately flies through the air and smacks him in the face, so she writes him a sweet message on his order, which ignites a romance between them.

In real life, they both told Yahoo Entertainment that they never expected a romantic connection when they first started working together on Música, but their similar Brazilian backgrounds gave them common ground. Mancuso said falling in love on set felt “surreal.”

“I’ve never had this experience. I don’t think either of us expected for the chemistry to penetrate real life as deeply and quickly as it did, but it was amazing,” he said. “It made my life as an actor a lot easier and the dynamic between our characters a lot stronger because it was real.”

Mendes also became an executive producer for the movie a few months before filming to “specify some of the female roles a little bit and make them feel more well-rounded,” but lauded Mancuso’s “vision and creativity” as something that has always shone through for her in the project.

“I haven’t been able to be a part of a Brazilian American story ever before,” Mendes said. “It was a dream come true for me … and such a unique story that felt like nothing I’d ever read before.”

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