Interview: Manolo Cardona
Studio Expects 'Breakout Role' for Columbian Actor Manolo Cardona. Liv Boughn sat down with him at "La Terazza di Roma" restaurant in the Marina during his final week of shooting in Vallarta.
Manolo Cardona, the ruggedly handsome thirty year old Columbian actor perhaps most well known for his role in the critically acclaimed "La Mujer de mi Hermano,"
sat across from me wearing a trendy western-style plaid shirt and green oversized movie star shades.
Having been one of People in Español Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People and having seen him already on the set I expected his dashing looks. What I was pleasantly surprised to discover, however, is that beneath those tinted glasses was a very intelligent, articulate, and deep actor. The following interview took place over breakfast.
VT: How did you get started?
MC: I was living in Cali (Columbia) and I always loved theatre...I started working professionally at a very young age...17...[later] a couple of friends and I created a theatre company, then I moved to study, and I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
VT: Which actors inspire you?
MC: There are a lot...Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem...
VT: You have two production companies with your brothers, "11-11" and "Miramas." Can you tell us about what you're currently working on?
MC: We have a movie in development and a documentary.
The movie is a black comedy that will come out in November about two inseparable friends, the antihero, love and friendship.
VT: What is it like working with your brothers?
MC: We always do everything together.
VT: What did your parents have to do with your choice to become an actor?
MC: My parents really didn't have anything to do with it, but they support me. Especially my mom at first, and then my father too after a while.
VT: I hear you're passionate about soccer. Who is your favorite team?
MC: América de Cali, a Columbian team [not to be confused with Mexican team, Club América]
VT: How do you feel about Vallarta?
MC: [nodding, satisfied] I like it: Being in Vallarta meeting amazing people, having adventures...
VT: What are some of your favorite spots in Vallarta?
MC: Tacos Marlín, Archie's Wok, the Blue Shrimp...
VT: It sounds like you like food. Do you cook?
MC: I love food...yes, I cook... [but not as much as he would like while filming on location].
VT: What has your experience on SOTB been like?
MC: I've worked with such beautiful human beings.
Everybody from every department is looking out for each other...
VT: And working with a mixed Mexican/American crew?
MC: It was pretty much the same...Sometimes it can be difficult for the ones that don't speak both languages...for me it's fine...
VT: Some people are saying that this is your "breakout role". What do you think?
MC: This isn't really my breakout role, but it is a huge opportunity for people in the American market to get to know me more. It's my first English speaking movie, my first kid movie...I have two nieces and one nephew, so they are really going to like it... [He went on to say] I never go for the gold, I just enjoy the ride.
VT: Tell me about your character, Sam.
MC: He is a landscaper... [the love interest of the ingénue played by Piper Perabo] passionate...noble.
VT: How are you and Sam alike? How are you different?
MC: We have the same loyalty for people and life...we love to work, to be happy, to bring happiness to people around us. But we have different points of view. Sam is more pragmatic: I am more spiritual.
VT: One of the things I heard from various crew members is how "down to earth you are" for a movie star.
MC: (a smile,) Stars are in heaven...
VT: They were particularly impressed that you brought your own car all the way to Vallarta...
MC: I am very familiar with Mexico, and very independent so I drive and get to know cities. I like to get lost, drive...I love driving.
VT: What do you think of the Hollywood Scene? Do you try to keep it "low key" there too?
MC: I live in Venice Beach, California right now, so it's very different from the Hollywood style. I can walk out of my house, walk to my friends´... I'm very happy to live there, in an old neighborhood and not be stuck trying to ´be somebody´ in Hollywood...
VT: What was it like working with dogs?
MC: They're amazing. It's amazing what they can do...so trained, so well behaved, they're like people. Also, as an actor I have to be more aware of things. In a perfect world everything is quiet. In this case you're in the middle of the scene and they're yelling commands at the dogs. It's been an interesting experience and I've learned a lot.
VT: Do you like dogs?
MC: I love animals...and dogs. [went on to say that he doesn't currently have one because of his hectic travel/work schedule].
VT: For your female fan base: How does it feel to have been one of Latin People in Español Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People several times now?
MC: [He briefly winced, then modestly answered:] I've been trying to understand in these years...I try to keep my life, things private. For me it's just work.
If I don't have a story to share I prefer not to be in magazines...
VT: Do you have any words of advice for young Latin boys who want to become actors?
MC: First, study. The opportunity to prepare is an
important process in your career. But most
important: Believe in yourself. If you don't believe in you, nobody else will. [Lastly,] Never stop. It's not about who gets there first; it's about who stays.
VT: Vallartans are very loyal, so most likely everyone will go see the movie because our beloved town is a backdrop, but why do you recommend we see South of the Border?
MC: It has something for grown ups and kids both...young and old... It has the ingredients of comedy, action, adventure, animals. The subtext is about how you can really change, no matter who you are, and that you can change for the good. Chloe [lead dog, voice played by Drew Barrymore] reflects the typical Beverly Hills girl, and by the end she really changes for the better. For parents, it's about what's
real: when you breathe, the sunrise, being with people you love...