Your new movie Carne
the Taco Maker - in a few words, what is it about, and what can
you tell us about your character?
Don Taco's mobile taco stand is famous for having the best
prepared meat tacos in Los Angeles. He is responsible for making
money to support his controlling mother Rosa and his dependent
brother Memo. Don Taco is in love and obsessed with one of his
customers, Maria, who lives with a jobless boyfriend. Don Taco is
willing to help Maria financially if she comes over to his house for
a special dinner, "with no strings attached". Maria agrees
in exchange for the rent money to avoid eviction.
Don Taco is a romantic and always falls in love with his beautiful
customers; he is willing to abandon his family's business and give all his
money to his latest imagined true love, Maria. Don Taco is controlled by
his mother and can never fulfill his ambition because of his mother's
power over him.
What did you draw upon
to bring your character to life, and even if it might sound mean, how much
of yourself can we find in Uncle Taco?
I created my family's back life as preparation for my character. I
imagined going back to a time when my ancestors were living as cannibals in the jungles of Mexico and missionaries found them and
civilized them and took them to Mexico City were they started selling
tacos with their specially prepared meat and then migrated to
I have always been a romantic and known for my singing and dancing and
you can say I have been always able to sweep beautiful women off their
feet. Don Taco loves being the business man of the family and finding
the best meat in town but has never killed anyone, he leaves that to his
brother Memo. There were times I got scared of Don Taco's character and
had nightmares about him and afraid his psyche was entering me and
could be the basis for another movie.
How did you get
hooked up with the project in the first place?
I have been dancing, singing and acting since age 3. I started working
with the director and producer of Teatro Urbano for several years as an
associate producer and musical comedy actor. My credits with Teatro
Urbano include Joaquin Murrieta - The Musical as Three Finger
Jack with a 3 month run at world famous Doug Weston's Troubadour in
Beverly Hills, Beto's Dream - The Musical as Mr. Williams, and
various parts over the years in the award winning Los Angeles
Chicano play, The Silver Dollar about the death of LA Times
reporter at the hands of Los Angeles County Sheriff during the Chicano
Moratorium on August 29, 1970.
Rene Rodriguez came up with the idea of Carne
the Taco Maker
5 years ago and told me he wrote the part of "Don Taco" for
me, and which I will forever be grateful for. Rene told me I had to be liked
by the audience before my dark side was revealed.
To what extent can you identify with the film's rather gruesome content,
but also its own brand of humour?
I identify with the
struggles of the working class and the social injustices of trying to make
a decent living on the streets of the city. I have worked with mentally
disabled and incarcerated persons who lose all reality and live in a
parallel world and commit crimes when in a different state of mind and
guided by their demons. There is always humor in the worst circumstances
and sometimes this is a safety net for those who are involved in the worst
What can you tell us
about your director Rene Rodriguez, and what was your collaboration like?
Rodriguez works closely with character development and then gives the
actor the freedom to express yourself and excel. He is calm, supportive,
encouraging and gets the best performance with his guidance. He makes you
feel great and treats everyone like a star.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
We shot on the streets of Boyle Heights and our base was at Corazon Del Pueblo community arts social collaborative
center, where we have been performing in Teatro Urbano's The
Silver Dollar for a limited run for about 6 years. We did
casting and recruited crew from Corazon Del Pueblo and also original
music by Timothy Skyy and additional music by La Chamba
came from Corazon.
The on set atmosphere was great and of course the great food provided for
all was a plus. It seemed we had the support of the community and as I
walk around Boyle Heights I am greeted as "Don Taco"... on many
scenes involving the taco cart people would wait and line up to buy tacos.
future projects you'd like to share?
I am working on
several projects in developement including Jesus's Tailor
Show, The Miraculous Disappearance of Maria Guadalupe
Valdez from my screenplay that was a part of an HBO Latino
Screenwriter's Workshop, an actor in the play Lola, produced
and directed by international award winning film maker Yazmin Ortiz. I also
have international commercials for Vitamix Blenders, International House
of Pancakes, and several recording sessions as a blues singer, and part of
Dia Del Mariachi and Santa Celia annual event at Boyle Heights
Mariachi Plaza and Gold Line Metro Station.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
I have been acting since age 3, and my mentors
include Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Ricardo Montalban, Apollonia Kotero, Lupe
Ontiveros, Rita Rogers, and my acting coach was David Alexander who was
director of The Real McCoys and also the coach for Jack Lemmon and Cliff Robertson, and he told me that sooner or later his coaching
would pay off. I have an extensive list of voice coaches for musical
comedy, but that is a different story.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Carne the
I have many film credits with American
Film Institute, USC Film School, UCLA Film School, Los Angeles Film School,
and Independent Films including award winning films Pan Dulce/
Sweet Bread co-starring Jeff Conaway, The Divorce Ceremony
starring Apollonia Kotero, The Teacher's Lounge, Los
Girasoles/Beneath the Sunflower co-starring Jeff Conaway, The
Eleventh Station and The Land of Darkness which closed
the AFI and Mexican Film Institute Festival. This is a partial list of
films and I have worked with Madonna as a dancer, actor, and production
crew for the music video La Isla Bonita, directed the
queen of video directors, Mary Lambert.
How would you describe yourself as
an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
will take you
can do comedy, dramatic, musical comedy in English and Spanish. I always
spend one to one time with my characters and create an extensive back
life. I always ask the director, writer(s) and producers if appropriate,
many questions about the character and take it from there. I am very
flexible and nothing is ever set in stone. Each director has a different
style and each project is also a learning experience and my main goal is
always to respect and provide the best performance under the director's
(and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
My inspirations are
Lupe Ontiveros (RIP), Anthony Quinn (RIP), Jack Lemmon (RIP), Peter
Sellers (RIP), Peter O'Toole (RIP), Bette Davis (RIP), Rita Hayworth
(RIP), Pedro Armendariz (RIP), Cantinflas (RIP), and Orson Welles (RIP)
and Edward James Olmos to start.
Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Whatever
Happened to Baby Jane, La Dolce
Vida, Real Women Have Curves, Gravity, La Strada,
House of Wax, La
Bamba, Harold and Maude, Vertigo, Psycho,
of Guillermo Del Toro's films.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
love all films.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
give up in your dreams and learn from all experiences.
for the interview!