Ramón Franco AKA Fausto “el Diablo” Galvan on “The Bridge”

Ramon Franco and Angela Ortíz ©2014 Teresa Garza

Ramon Franco and Angela Ortíz
©2014 Teresa Garza

Franco, Puerto Rican-born and South Bronx-raised, is an actor who has been honing his craft for over 30 years. So when it came time to play “Galvan” on The Bridge, he was ready. Some of Franco’s credits include the new season of Orange is the New Black, Major Crimes, “Sucio” in Weeds and so many others. He’s back as part of Season Two of The Bridge, and we got a chance to chat with him on the set about his role–a part that was originally supposed to run for only two episodes, but keeps going and going and going.

Frank Grillo on “The Purge,” “Captain America,” and Being a Bad Ass

Frank Grillo ©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

Frank Grillo
©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

We all carry around a lot of preconceptions about actors–especially actors who make their biggest impressions playing iconic characters. That’s certainly the case with Frank Grillo; he’s been playing cops, criminals, and tough guys for close to twenty years, since Silk Stalkings and Minority Report, and these days he’s best remembered as playing Brock Rumlow (the future Crossbones) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now he’s about to make an even bigger impression as Sergeant in the sequel to The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, an action/horror film with a big social message and a number in the mix, including Kiele Sanchez, Justina Machado, Nicholas Gonzalez, Carla Jimenez and Castulo Guerra, among others.

The_Purge_–_Anarchy_Poster200

L-r: Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Frank Grillo

L-r: Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Frank Grillo

Se Fija! was part of a panel of journalists that got to sit down with Grillo a few days before the premiere of the picture, and we all got a pleasant surprise: not only was Grillo not the grim and scary guy we’ve seen in so many movies, he’s was actually funny, and a family man, and a professional who knew–and knows–exactly what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, and what he’s doing next. Here are just a few audio clips from our talk:

Grillo really does come from the old-school tradition of Bad Assery. What characters does he look to as historical precedents and inspiration?

Frank Grillo has a reputation–borne of hard work–that he’s a tough guy in real life as well as in film. But he’s the first to tell you that’s not entirely true.

And he’s aware of the opportunities his persona gives him…and its limitation.

Still, as he says, Grillo may walk like a man who can take care of himself, but he has fears like everyone else.

And here’s another interesting contrast between the ‘tough guy’ image and the ‘real’ Frank Grillo:

Okay, then, tough guy: what do you think about the concept behind The Purge: the idea that for one night a year, you can kill (or do anything else) without fear of reprisal?

Still, even within the concept, it can go too far, Grillo says. One scene comes to him immediately…

The Purge 2 works very hard not to be just another home invasion/revenge violence flick. What aspect of that was the most difficult for Grillo?

Shooting action movies can be physically grueling for everyone–actors and crew alike. And The Purge 2 was no exception, with its huge array of night-shoots (in every sense of the word)…

Not that Grillo can’t take it. He is, after all, a tough guy…

It’s been a long, smart career climb for Frank Grillo…

So is a Purge 3 a possibility? And if there is one, will Frank Grillo be part of it? He answers in a typically straightforward way:

But enough about The Purge. Let’s talk about your other big role of the summer, Brock Rumlow—the future Marvel super-villain Crossbones–in Captain American: Winter Soldier. Are we going to see more of him in the inevitable next chapter?

Whether or not there’s more Purge or Crossbones in the future, Frank Grillo won’t be waiting around. He already completed a murder/ghost story, Demonic, and a thriller called Big Sky with Bella Thorne and Kyra Sedgwick, and there are a string of other projects already lined up. We’ll be seeing plenty more of him…and The Purge: Anarchy open this week.

Approaching El Matador: Three Personal Conversations with Roberto Orci, Alfred Molina, and Gabriel Luna

Matador-TV-Series-300Publisher Angela Ortíz sat down with three of the principles behind Matador (and you better pronounce it right!), Orci’s new action/adventure/espionage series premiering this week on Robert Rodriguez’ cable network, El Rey.

L-r: Alfred Molina, Angela Ortíz, Roberto Orci and Gabriel Luna ©2014 Anselmo Sinclair Ortiz

L-r: Alfred Molina, Angela Ortíz, Roberto Orci and Gabriel Luna
©2014 Anselmo Sinclair Ortiz

And make no mistake about it: it is Rodriguez’ network. As Roberto Orci told us, getting a series on TV–even for a high-powered writer/producer like Orci—is no easy task.. You’d think Orci could walk through any door these days; he’s been writing successful shows since Xena: Warrior Princess, he’s a major co-screenwriter for the Star Trek reboot, the power behind the Hawaii Five-0 reboot and the pop-cult supernatural success Sleepy Hollow among so many other project. But it’s no easy process…

 

…and he stayed very involved in developing the character of Tony Bravo and his world:

For all of Orci’s involvement in major projects on the big screen, he sees unique advantages to telling stories on television–and with actors that may be new to most of us.

Finding the right Latino actor to play Tony Bravo was important–even vital–and they found the perfect candidate in Gabriel Luna. A “relative newcomer” (a term that’s been applied to him all too often, as he tells us), he brings an intelligence and energy to the role that’s very welcome and a little unexpected. And he had to face physical and as well as acting challenges when he took it on…

 

Alfred Molina and Se Fija!’s Angela Ortíz ©2014 Anselmo Sinclair Ortiz

Alfred Molina and Se Fija!’s Angela Ortíz
©2014 Anselmo Sinclair Ortiz

The “Fred” that Gabriel Luna mentions is Alfred Molina, the distinguished and hugely successful Latino character actor (born and raised in the UK, with more than twenty years here in the U.S.) who plays the mysterious and possibly sinister owner of the soccer team Bravo plays for–and so much more! Molina’s list of accomplishments is almost unbelievable; he was in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he was in Ladyhawke. He’s made brilliant and sensitive independent films like Chocolat, then turned to play Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man. He was even an L.A. detective in the tragically short-lived Law & Order: Los Angeles. Angela admits to being a little tongue-tied to find herself sitting across from him…

 

He admits it’s been an amazing career so far, but there’s more to come–and much already learned…

 

Gabriel Luna-Nicky Whelan

Gabriel Luna admitted that Molina’s involvement caused him to ‘up his game’ as well. He already had a lot of experience and great work habits, but this was, after all his first chance to be the lead in a TV series, and he was already playing in the ‘big leagues.’

Photo: Gabriel Luna and Nicky Whelan

 

 

And of course Gabriel realizes he’s one of the first American-born Latino actors playing the lead in a new series. He realizes the weight of that…and sees it as an opportunity not only for Gabriel Luna, but for Latino actors in general.

Matador is on Tuesdays at 9P on the El Rey network. It’s already been renewed for a second season.

Del Toro’s “The Strain,” “Ray Donovan,” “Masters of Sex” and “Devious Maids” Season Finale Tonight

The long awaited The Strain from director/producer Guillermo del Toro is finally on tonight at 10P on FX. The new season’s of Ray Donovan (Steven Bauer) is back on at 9P and Masters of Sex at 10P, both on Showtime. And the second season finale of Devious Maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem, and Judy Reyes) also at 10P on Lifetime.

Three to Check Out in Theaters Friday

It’s an interesting week: the long-awaited Dawn of Planet of the Apes, a movie about Boyhood that took twelve years to make, and Ron Howard’s first documentary, Made in America, about the wonders of all kinds of music. Something new and surprising for everyone! —Angela Ortíz

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the much-anticipated follow-up to Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011, and a basically silly as the idea is, the whole saga of The Planet of the Apes is very dear to those of us of a certain age. We can be quite protective and critical with remakes, reboots, etc., but I have to admit: I really enjoyed Dawn.The humans are interesting and likable (It’s always great to see Kirk Acevedo do his bad boy role), and of course Andy Serkis is brilliant as Caesar. So, if the Apes are part of your DNA, check this one out. Also starring Jason Clarke, Enrique Murciano, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Karin Konoval, and Lombardo Boyar.

Boyhood, written and directed by Richard Linklater and starringPatricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke, is an amazing project. It’s fiction, not a documentary, but Linklater got the actors to sign on twelve years ago, to make a groundbreaking movie about growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), as he grows up. Through the course of the movie, you can see the boy and the rest of the cast grow up and grow old–no age make-up, no special effects. Talk about devotion to a project—especially between adults and children. No wonder it’s been called “a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.” Out in limited release.

 

Made in America is Ron Howard’s first documentary–a collaboration between the Academy Award® winner and musician/producer Jay Z. Given Jay Z’s involvement, you’d think the movie would focus on hip-hop only but no: it’s actually a celebration of both the unifying power of music and the pursuit of the American dream. Howard has created an all-access backstage pass to a one-of-a-kind festival, with remarkable performances and backstage interviews with many of today’s biggest music stars. And ultimately, Made in America shows how one giant celebration of music can change people’s lives. Some of the performers include D’Angelo, Dirty Projectors, The Hives, Janelle Monáe, Odd Future, Rita Ora, Pearl Jam, Run-D.M.C., Santigold, Jill Scott, and of course Jay Z himself.

 

FX’s “The Bridge” is back; CBS has “Extant” with Halle Berry

Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger The Bridge

For a lazy July, there’s way too much going on. You’d think the last of the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and Holland, the second season of Hulu’s East Los High on a computer near you, new episodes of Suits and Graceland would be enough to keep us busy, but no—time to warm up the DVR’s, what with the premiere of a second season of FX’s The Bridge and Extant, a new sci fi on CBS.

The Bridge, which was one of the breakout hits of last summer, picks up right where it left off, with continued storylines and (of course) new ones and many twists and turns along the way. One thing about the show that’s certain: there’s some good acting involved, so even if the story line doesn’t mesh a bit, the performances will keep you coming back. Among the actors worth watching: Demián Bichir, Diane Kruger, Matthew Lillard, Emily Rios, Alejandro Patino, Annabeth Gish and many more. On FX at 10P.

http://youtu.be/eEhDZib-4Oc

Over on CBS, we have actress Halle Berry on Extant at 9P. Berry plays an astronaut who goes on a 13-month solo space mission and comes home pregnant. I guess that’s one way of keeping us tuned in — just to see what’s up. CBS started this “event programming” approach after the hit of Under the Dome last summer, but we aren’t going to talk about The Dome here. We’re just wondering if it’s going to be as interesting as it promises. (And it’s no sure thing: remember all the high hopes for NBC’s Rosemary’s Baby re-make with Zoë Saldaña?) The series comes from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, which knows its way around SciFi TV.

Grace Parra Funny and On Point

Our friend Grace has something to say in Pretty Strong Opinions with Grace Parra. We are always looking forward to what Grace has in the works and this video shows us what’s on her mind right NOW. Take a look below:

U.S. Latinos in Lead Roles: The Trend Continues this Fall

Three out of five of the Latino-themed shows announced this time last year are coming back with more (a pretty good showing in a wretched year for newcomers). And at least three entries already in the wings for this upcoming season mean that the picture for Latino TV continues to improve.

Don’t misunderstand: TV is a tough business for everybody, and it’s never been tougher than it is now, despite all the new ways to frame and deliver scripted programming. You don’t have to look too far for proof: consider the abysmal year that NBC had in general, or the number of new shows on any network that never made it to a second season, much less finished their first.

Still, taking the long view, things were pretty good for Latinos playing Latinos in the 2013-14 year, and it looks like that will continue.  We already know of at least three shows that fall solidly into that category:

Cristela Alonso and her show-biz friends gamed the pilot system by making their show almost secretly on the set of Last Man Standing, but it was so impressive to ABC execs that they not only forgave them, they took this reportedly hilarious look at family life for a modern Latina straight to series. (If it’s half as funny s her stand-up routines on the same subject, it’ll be great). Better yet, Maria Canals-Barrera, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Carlos Ponce and Terri Hoyos, among others, are along for the ride.

Gina Rodriguez of Filly Brown fame is best known for her tough, street-smart portrayals, at least in recent years. But she’s taking an entirely different approach with Jane the Virgin, a new sitcom from The CW Network coming this fall. Gina (Jane) plays a gentle and chaste young woman–and yes, a virgin–who is accidentally inseminated by her doctor, and hilarity as well as some touching moments ensue. It’s a pretty ‘high’ concept, and it remains to be seen if it can retain viewers’ interest and ratings as the initial shock wears off, but there’s no question: Gina and her family are Latino, and the cultural and character issues they confront come firmly from that tradition.

And then there’s Matador, which is more summer than fall (it’s premiering on the El Rey Network in mid-July), but it’s certainly, emphatically Latino in many ways. Though the international spy-adventures are clearly global in scope, the lead–played by Gabriel Luna–is Latino, as well as much of the supporting cast: Alfred Molina, Johnny Cruz and Yvette Monreal among them, with beloved Latino character actors like Elizabeth Peña, Eve Torres, and Isabella Gomez, among others, slated to appear as guest or recurring characters. Best of all, Robert Rodriguez is not only producing and putting it on “his” new cable net, but the program was created by hugely successful writer/producer Roberto Orci–his first show with an overtly Latino character in the center.

Last year there were five Latino-centric shows included in the schedules on network and cable (Devious Maids, Gang Related, Welcome to the Family, The Bridge and The Fosters, though Gang Related didn’t make it onto TV screens until well into 2014). Three are still with us, and at least one we didn’t expect at all–Saint George, starring George Lopez and bunch of other Latino actors–showed up and disappeared during that time (Saint George was canceled by FX after one season). Now, we see, at least three more will be appearing in the next six months or so, and we know of many others already waiting in the wings. All in all, it’s a good sign: the trend towards creating programming for the widest possible audience, but programs that still manage to feature Latino culture, characters, and actors is still on the rise.

Rosario Dawson Joins Netflix’s “Daredevil”

Rosario Dawson

She’s no stranger to the comic book and action/adventure genre, which makes her a perfect addition to Netflix’s bold new superhero experiment: a live-action series based on Daredevil.

Rosario Dawson is a wonderful surprise on so many levels. She began as a street-stoop discovery and a dramatic actress early on in Kids, when she was barely 16. By her mid twenties she’d done everything from the super-serious to the goofy (remember Josie and the Pussycats?) and proven she could do comedy and musicals as well. Not long after that she proved herself to be something of an action star as well, holding her own against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Rundown, playing tough girls in Robert RodriguezGrindhouse and Death Proof, and then pivoting to break our hearts in Rent. The impressive pictures continued–Eagle Eye, Seven Pounds, Unstoppable–and most recently gave a truly great performance in the horribly under-seen thriller from Danny Boyle, Trance, where she co-starred with James McAvoy (and that should have been one of the major hits of last summer). And yes, she had no trouble letting her sexy side out in Sin City as well. Meanwhile we haven’t even touched on her truly important work with non-profits and the Latino get-out-the-vote movement, Voto Latino, which continues to this day.

“The premiere dates for Daredevil or any of the other Marvel/Netflix properties isn’t quite known; most believe it’ll be sometime in 2015.”

But one thing she hasn’t done much at any point in the super-busy career is television. Except for the occasional cartoon voice or Robot Chicken appearance, she’s been busy on the big screen…until now. Now she’s signed on to be a major player in Daredevil, one of the four live-actions superhero series that Netflix and Marvel have announced. She’s set to play “a woman with a quest to heal the wounds of Hell’s Kitchen. Her own journey forever alters the course of Mat Murdock’s battle against the injustices in the city.” “Whether or not Dawson’s character is one that’s appeared in the comics or graphic novels before isn’t clear yet (but that just makes it part of the fun.) The producers of the new Daredevil show seem to know just how lucky they are. Comic book and TV veteran Jeph Loeb  called her “one the most charismatic, talented and powerful actresses in Hollywood,” in a post on the Marvel website. “Her role in the series is absolutely critical to Matt Murdock’s journey to become the hero we know as Daredevil.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Se Fija!’s Website 3rd Birthday!

We can’t believe we’ve been around three years already, it’s probably cause we’ve been having fun doing the site.

We thank everyone who has been supporting us for the past three years and we look forward to continuing to bring you interesting posts on entertainment and interviews with folks in front and behind the camera.

¡Gracias!

The Se Fija! Staff

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