Q&A By: L.M.W.
Break down your upbringing for us.
I grew up in Miami and I’m an only child who was raised by a single mother. I spent a lot of time watching cartoons growing up. Then when I was old enough, I started going to punk and hardcore shows and that changed my life.
Why is “Craigslist” significant in your life?
Once I got into the punk and hardcore scene, I started a band were we eventually got pretty big and started touring the world. At one point, the singer suggested we try acting. He planted that seed in my head and I searched for a cheap acting class in Miami. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it in case we didn’t like it. So, I turned to Craigslist for one. We ended up going and fell in love with acting.
What was the biggest misconception you had about Hollywood before you got there?
As a place, actual Hollywood is way dirtier than one would expect. And as an industry, once you have an agent and manager in LA, things will get easier.
Tell us about the film, “Peppermint” and your role.
I play a hitman for the cartel. I commit a heinous crime against the loved ones of Riley North (Jennifer Garner) which causes her to seek revenge. I’m really not a good guy by any means in this project.
As an actor, is it easy to be typecast or are various roles avail-able? At any point, have you had to turn anything down?
Yeah, it’s easy to be typecast. I feel like Hollywood is just really starting to write great roles for ethnic people. So you are seeing more minorities in the lead role as the love interest or the lead detective, as opposed to small stereotype. I’ve been lucky enough to go back and forth between bad guy role and “normal guy” roles as I call them. I have turned down roles if it’s a role I’ve done before and on a project that I don’t think has anything special to it.
What was it like being part of AMC’s, “The Walking Dead”?
I got my first piece of fan mail for acting from being on that show. I also remember they would spray us with sunscreen to make us look sweaty while we were filming that. Also Andrew Lincoln, who’s from the UK, would keep his southern accent in between takes.
The David Ayer film, “The Tax Collector” is coming up soon. What is that film about?
It’s going to be a cool one. He did Suicide Squad, which was a big studio film. So I’m sure he didn’t have a lot of control over that film. This film is a much smaller film and it’s more like his old projects like Training Day and Harsh Times. It’s about a guy who collects taxes from different street gangs in South Central LA and his partner. They are badasses and everyone respects them but eventually they run into someone who comes and disrupts their business. It’s gritty and dark.
Shia Lebeouf is a pretty interesting guy. What has your experience with him been like?
He is an intense guy. He’s a great actor and I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. I think he’s the type of dude that eventually will land the right role and win an Oscar.
Which do you enjoy most between music and acting and why?
They are both great in their own way. Music was fun because I got to travel for free and see different parts of the world. It would be awesome to book a big film where you go around the world doing press for it. Acting is cool because you really get to explore humans and emotions/interactions so it never gets boring. You literally get to be a different person each audition.
Who are your “Top 5” artists/bands of all time (any genre)?
Metallica, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, NWA and The Beastie Boys.
Is writing/directing a film you are also acting in harder than acting alone or is there a certain freedom that comes with doing all three? Tell us about the short film, “Amigos”.
Yeah, it definitely is harder. You are wearing a lot more hats, especially if it’s a small film. You don’t have the luxury of hiring a huge crew so you have to do a lot of extra things yourself. Creatively, it’s more rewarding. Amigos is my directorial debut. It will be screening at the official Latino Film Festival in Coachella, CA and Nighmares Film Festival in Columbus, OH. It’s a dark comedy/horror. I’ll definitely dabble more in directing and writing in the future.
What was the most challenging role you had to play?
The role of Hector on Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk. It was difficult because it was the largest project I had done and it was my largest role. It was directed by Ang Lee, who has won multiple Oscars for directing. I was intimidated on working with such a big director and my character had a monologue. It ended up going great but it’s like diving into the deep end of the pool.
How’d you like working on Netflix’s, “Bloodline”?
I enjoyed working with so many talented actors and actresses. The lead cast on that show was insane with Sissy Spacek, Ben Mendelsohn and Linda Cardellini. I got to work with all of them and held my own. I feel really lucky to have worked with some of the amazing people I have worked with so far.
What are “The Young Storytellers” and “826LA”?
They are non for profits that I volunteer with. With Young Storytellers, you help a fifth grader write a short screenplay over the course of a few weeks. Once it’s finished, they bring actors in to act out the screenplay the kids wrote in front of the entire school. It’s awesome when the kids see what they wrote come to life on stage. 826LA also deals with creative writing, so you help kids write a short book that is bound and pressed for them at the end of the session and they get to take it home.
Finish this sentence: “Who needs the Kwik E. Mart?…….
I DOOOOOOOO! The Simpsons is one of my favorite shows of all time and seeing Apu sing that last line on top of the roof was so heartbreaking.
What would you like to see happen for Latinos in entertain-ment within the next 10 years?
I would love to see more latinos writing and directing. I think this will lead to more latinos as leads in studio films.
Any last words?
Thanks for having me! Scope me out on IG at @Randy_G.
PHOTO BY: SELA SHILONI