The Latin American actors have been usually framed in roles that show them as hot lovers, domestic service workers, criminals or toxic elements in the plot. Those common spaces have been present in Hollywood movies over the decades; nonetheless, it wouldn’t be too daring to say that several Latin American actors, based on perseverance and talent, have currently stepped away from those cultural stereotypes and they stand out as well-positioned stars of the movie industry.
PanamericanWorld proposes an approach to five great actors that were born in Latin America and have succeeded at the movie mecca.
GAEL GARCIA BERNAL
This Mexican actor, director and producer is one of the most popular Latin American faces in Hollywood. He met fame with the iconic “Love’s a Bitch” (2000), a film that was nominated to win an Oscar Award in the foreign production category. Garcia Bernal’s career gained momentum after this. In 2001, he shot “And Your Mother Too”, nominated to the Oscar Award as the best original script.
A year later, Gael played a priest in “The Crime of Father Amaro”. This movie also competed for the Oscar Awards. Among his most outstanding performances, we can mention the homosexual role in “The Bad Education”, by Pedro Almodovar, in 2004; Ernesto Che Guevara in “The Motorcycle Diaries”, by Brazilian Walter Salles, and his presence in such movies as “Babel”, “Letters to Juliet” and the television series entitled “Mozart in the Jungle”. Moreover, he stood out in “No” and “Neruda”, guided by Chilean director Palo Larrain
BENICIO DEL TORO
This Puerto Rican actor and producer, who has Spanish nationality, has won countless awards throughout his career, including Oscar Awards, Golden Globes, SAG, BAFTA and the award to the best actor in Cannes Festival.
He became popular in Hollywood since 1995, after his performance in “The Usual Suspects”, where he played Fred Fenster and got several awards; however, Mexican police officer Javier Rodriguez in Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” was the role that truly helped him make headlines. His performance was so convincing that the Academy gave him the Oscar to the best supporting actor. Two years later, in 2003, Mr. del Toro received his second nomination to the Oscar Award, for his participation in “21 grams”, along with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
Directed by Mr. Soderbergh once again, Mr. del Toro delivered a brilliant performance of Ernesto Guevara, in the two parts of “Che” (El Argentino and Guerrilla), so he won the Goya Award to the Best Actor.
This actor was born in Guatemala, from a Guatemalan mother and a Cuban father, although his family moved to the United States when he was still a baby. He got Hollywood’s doors totally opened after playing a jazz musician from the 1960s, in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis”.
He later received a lot of publicity for his role as Poe Dameron in the eighth episode of “Star Wars” (The Force Awakens)and he also performed in “X-Men: Apocalypse”, where he played villain Apocalypse.
Isaac got the Golden Globe as the best actor of a miniseries or telefilm, for his work in “Show Me a Hero”, broadcasted by HBO, where he played a former cop that becomes mayor of Yonkers City.
This Mexican actor and director has worked in over 15 movies produced by Hollywood and his career has had several contact points with his compatriot Garcia Bernal, since both actors stood out in “And Your Mother Too”, by Alfonso Cuaron, in 2001.
Mr. Luna’s first steps were given in the Mexican movie industry, but he moved to Hollywood in 2000, with “Before Night Falls”, the movie on the polemic Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, where Spanish Javier Bardem played the leading role. After this movie and the success of “And Your Mother Too”, Luna became a usual actor in several U.S. movies.
His list of movies includes: “Frida” (2002) by Julie Taymor, “Vampires: Los Muertos” (2002) by John Carpenter, “Open Range” (2003) by Kevin Costner, “The Terminal” (2004), directed by Steven Spielberg. He made headlines in 2008 with “Milk”, a film by Gus Van Sant where he shared stage with Sean Penn; he was also working in “Rough and Corny”, along with Garcia Bernal, and “Elysium”, with Matt Damon. In 2016, Luna participated in “Blood Father”, with Mel Gibson, and he played Cassian Ander in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.
Besides acting, Luna has produced several movies and a documentary on the life of remarkable Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez.
This actor was born in Regla, Havana, in 1956, and his family moved to the United States when he was five. That’s where he has developed his entire career.
In 1986, Garcia was invited by director Brian de Palma to work in “The Untouchables”. Three years later, he convinced Francis Ford Coppola to give him the Vincent Mancini Corleone role, the son of Sonny Corleone, in The Godfather 3. Garcia was nominated to the Oscar Award for his performance in this movie.
On the list of Hollywood movies where Garcia has worked, we can mention: “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1994), “Desperate Measures” (1997), “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), “The lost city” (2005), where he was also the director, “Modigliani” (2006), “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007), “Across the Line” (2010).
Moreover, Mr. Garcia has participated in several TV films, such as “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story”, which gave him a nomination to the Golden Globe in 2000, as the best actor of miniseries or TV film.