Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar have seen better times as the Three Wise Men. Fierce rivalry with Father Christmas and their refusal, so far, to promote a well-known soft drink brand (“Caspar said that would be like selling out to capitalism,” a somewhat resigned Melchior confides) has led them to the brink of an identity crisis, and a popularity one, too.
But this crisis is also an opportunity to reinvent their legend. Not exactly in the way that former Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena went about it (some distinguished members of parliament will never forgive her for that) but some other kind of bold and disruptive solution. Such as hiring Lola, the former agent of Spanish singer-songwriter Rozalén. Or making a kind of at-home-with style documentary showing what Their Majesties are like when nobody else is around. Answering questions like, how well do they get on with each other, what their life together in the palace is like, and what little quirks they have. And, of course, how they came to meet the baby Jesus in their brief encounter with Mary and Joseph (“Staying longer would have obliged them to offer us dinner.”) As well as how they handle the battle between them to be the wise man (or ‘king’ as they are referred to in Spain) most loved by children. Spoiler alert: it would be wise to cut that question to Melchior from the screenplay.
And that’s the basic premise of the mockumentary Los Reyes Magos: La Verdad(The Three Wise Men – The Truth), which Prime Video premieres on December 16 in the countdown to the yearly arrival of Santa Claus, whose popularity is booming. In keeping with that premise, the film takes on an air of the Spanish TV programmes Mi cámara y yo (My camera and Me) and Comando Actualidad (Current Affairs Squad) in that a camera crew films all the ins and outs of the private life of these three ‘kings’ without any of the sugar-coating of other, not so royal, stories, like that of the Sussexes; Harry and Meghan.
The cameras follow the trio for the 100 days leading up to the most magical night of the year as they submit themselves to something similar to a talent show boot camp in a bid to reinvent themselves, or die. Former Spanish gymnast Almudena Cid overhauls their diets and gives them a workout schedule. Spanish designer Lorenzo Caprile fits them out with loud new suits in line with the flashy fashion on contemporary catwalks. An advertising agency does a SWOT analysis of their strengths and weaknesses to convince them of the need for drastic changes. Changes such as putting an end to the wasting of candy, to animal abuse involving their camels, and the over-representation of masculinity among the three men from the East. Their street parade must also be radically revamped. And even Rozalén herself will lend a hand, allowing her music to form the backdrop to the new dance routines the men must learn.
And accompanying them in all this is their long-suffering agent, who is all the while trying to set up gigs for them in shopping centers and attract influencers from Generation Z in order to adapt to changing times and to new generations glued to their screens.
Esty Quesada opens the door to the world of social media for them (“On LinkedIn nobody’s going to ask you for presents but on Grindr, maybe.”). And even Jordi Hurtado has a small cameo. But not even the Three Wise Men, with their two millennia of wisdom behind them, are capable of pinpointing the exact or even approximate age of the perennial Saber y ganar (Know and Win) quiz show host.
Víctor García León (Vota Juan, Selfie) directs this wacky comedy in which Camila Viyuela portrays the new agent of the Three Wise Men, who are played by Mauro Muñiz, Javier Carramiñana and Pedro Gutiérrez.
Los Reyes Magos: La verdad was produced by Onza for Prime Video, with Gonzalo Sagardía and Santiago de la Rica as executive producers. Director Víctor García León was also in charge of the screenplay, along with Daniel Castro and Teresa Bellón.