IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How Gloria Estefan’s daughter was included in the ‘Father of the Bride’ remake

TODAY spoke with the iconic singer about how her daughter was included in the latest version of the classic rom-com.

The latest iteration of “Father of the Bride” holds a special place in Gloria Estefan’s heart for many reasons.

The Grammy-winning artist not only reunites on screen with her longtime friend Andy Garcia after more than 20 years, but the remake of the timeless classic is also Gloria’s first leading role — and features her daughter, Emily Estefan, in a surprise part.

Gloria’s 27-year-old daughter portrays the younger version of her character, Ingrid, in a heartfelt flashback that sets up the 2022 version. TODAY spoke with Gloria at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) closing night screening of “Father of the Bride” on June 5, where she shared how her daughter got involved in the project.

2019 Miami Design District Performance Series - Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Estefan and her daughter Emily at a Miami event on April 12, 2019.Johnny Louis / Getty Images

“I was secretly happy that she was going to be staying with me,” Gloria said on the red carpet. “For Emily, it’s tough because she tries to stay away from my persona because she wants to do her own thing. And when she got this opportunity, I go, ‘Mama, you’re not playing with me. You’re playing me.’ So it’s a different thing. And she was so thrilled.”

The remake follows the same format as the 1950 and 1991 movies, following Andy as Billy Herrera, the father of the bride who must comes to grips with his eldest daughter Sofia (Adria Arjona) marrying Adan Castillo (Diego Boneta).

Actors (from L) Diego Boneta, Adria Arjona, Casey Thomas Brown, Gloria Estefan, Chloe Fineman and Andy Garcia attend the 2022 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) closing night screening of "Father Of The Bride" on June 5, 2022.
Actors (from the left) Diego Boneta, Adria Arjona, Casey Thomas Brown, Gloria Estefan, Chloe Fineman and Andy Garcia attend the 2022 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) closing night screening of "Father Of The Bride" on June 5, 2022.VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images

The updated film — directed by Gaz Alazraki — adds a number of exciting twists, including the dynamic between the Cuban American Herreras and the Mexican Castillos as they prepare for their children’s wedding. There's also the shock of Sofia being the one to propose to Adan, and Billy and Ingrid's impending divorce that they are trying to keep a secret from their daughters.

To get a full understanding of Billy and Ingrid’s relationship, a flashback scene depicts the couple’s history, showing when they met, got engaged, got married and started a family. It’s in this montage where where Emily embodies a young Ingrid. 

Andy Garcia as Billy and Gloria Estefan as Ingrid in one of the opening scenes of the film, which depicts them arguing in their marriage counselor's office.
Andy Garcia as Billy and Gloria Estefan as Ingrid in one of the opening scenes of the film, which depicts them arguing in their marriage counselor's office.Claudette Barius / Warner Bros.

Gloria was a proud mother on the red carpet, sharing how her daughter took over the wedding scene and even started a conga line.

“That scene that she’s in, you don’t see a lot of it, but she took command of that whole wedding and she’s the one that started the conga line,” Gloria boasted. “And she took control!” 

“I left because I didn’t want her nervous that I was there,” she recalled. “And so I said, ‘OK, I’m gonna go,’ but Andy stayed and told me, ‘Your daughter killed it!’ He said she just made that party what it was.” 

Q85: A Musical Celebration For Quincy Jones
Gloria Estefan and her daughter Emily perform onstage at "Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones" at the Microsoft Theatre on Sept. 25, 2018 in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

“She certainly knows how to do the conga, that’s for sure,” the singer, known for her Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga!”, expressed with a laugh.

While chatting with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, Estefan revealed that it was Garcia's idea to include Emily in the flashback scenes.

“‘We should use Emily,’ I told them,” Garcia recalled during the two stars’ visit to the studio on June 16. “They saw her singing and dancing and I said, ‘She can do it all.’” 

“And then when we shot that scene, I went in to visit for a little bit on the set and just said, ‘Go for it, let Emily take over the party.’ And she did,” he added.

Emily, who is also a singer, has shared the stage with her mom on multiple occasions. The two also co-host their Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk: The Estefans” with family member and TV personality Lili Estefan.

Joining the cast of “Father of the Bride” was a no-brainer for Gloria, who was “a big fan” of the previous incarnations, and previously worked together with Andy on the 2000 drama “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.”

For Gloria, she said, the roles she takes on must be “worthwhile,” adding that has two criteria for saying yes to a part.

“I’ve gotten sent so many scripts that my two criteria are; Does it advance me as an actor? Or, does it represent our culture in a way that’s respectful and good like this?” she explained. “And a lot of the times the answer has been no.”

But after one text from Andy that read, “Hey, I’m sending you a script” and reading the “Father of the Bride” screenplay, she was all in.

Garcia and Gloria Estefan walk Adria Arjona's character Sofia down the aisle.
Garcia and Gloria Estefan walk Adria Arjona's character Sofia down the aisle. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“I laughed out loud reading the script. And I knew Andy and Gaz took it to a whole other level because they really didn’t go for the stereotypical things, for the easy laugh. They wanted the warmth and the love of a family,” Gloria explained, happily adding. “It’s my first leading role. They trusted me and I knew I was in good hands.”

“Father of the Bride” is now streaming on HBO Max.