It’s been 14 years since the actor Alfonso Herrera (Mexico City, 1983) gave the jump to the big screen in the movie Amar te Duele in 2002. It was the same year of his debut in the small screen with the juvenile soap opera Clase 406. It wasn’t until 2004 that he reached international fame thanks to the interpretation he gave of Miguel Arango, a student from Elite Way School and a member of the band RBD —which later became a real pop music band—, in the TV drama Rebelde. It doesn’t bother him that he is still remembered in this way, on the contrary, he is thankful to have been part of it.
During this period as a pop idol, he visited more than 23 countries and along with the band managed to sell around 57 million albums. His musical facet culminated in 2008 in one last concert in Madrid. The city that saw him say goodbye to the stage welcomed him once more, this time to promote his most recent project. In the movie The Chosen, Herrera plays Ramón Mercader and his alter egos Jacques Mornard and Frank Jackson, the man who was named the Hero of the Soviet Union for killing Leon Trotsky during his asylum in the city of Mexico.
The promotion of the movie, spaniard Antonio Chavarrías’s nineth feature film, in Spain’s capital city was only a transit destination for Herrera, who’s on his way to the United States to film the television adaptation of The Exorcist, the cult horror film from 1973, his most recent protagonistic role.
What was the first thing that caught your attention when they presented you the project “The Chosen”?
The fact that is a very complex character, and that it’s a movie with a marvelous team and actors. We tried to keep this impartiality when telling the story. It was a luxury working with Hannah Murray, Elvira Mínguez, Julian Sands, Henry Goodman, Roger Casamajor. The work of Antonio Chavarrías during the filming was spectacular, to go into and be able to work in Spain, it was a great satisfaction, the whole experience was a great gift.
What was the hardest part in playing Ramón Mercader?
Ramón Mercader is a character, but inside this character there’s another character which is Jacques Mornard. In a way, Ramón, back then, had to be an actor and had to play this character. My accent is that of a Mexican and in the movie you have to speak Castilian Spanish, English, French so that was also very demanding. The hardest thing is to get into those layers. You have to be very aware of where the character is, in what emotional state he is in, because many times you can get lost in all those layers.
What materials did you rely on to get to know the character?
Since six years ago, Antonio wanted to do this movie. He already had a great quantity of information and data, so it wasn’t that necessary to go try to find information that would give us a clue on how to nourish the character. Ramón was already pretty grayish around the moments right before the assassination of Trotsky. Characters like Sylvia Ageloff or Trotsky’s wife are characters that we know very little about and thanks to the recovery Antonio made, we all benefitted from it.
It’s the first time you get into the genre of horror. What do you expect from filming the series The Exorcist?
I think it is a great responsibility. It is a franchise known all around the world, but at the same time I see it as a great opportunity to do something interesting and to be able to satisfy the needs of the avid consumers of this genre.
What similarities and differences will it have from the movie?
I think something that worked very well in the movie from 1973 is how realistic it is. These are three-dimensional characters and what we are trying to do is to have a realistic movie with real characters. We have the great fortune to be able to count on the great writer that Jeremy Slater is and the pilot episode was filmed by Rupert Wyatt, who did a spectacular job. It was a pleasure working with both.
In the last years, you’ve had the opportunity to aboard distinct projects, has getting out of Mexico helped you in diversifying your career?
I think that working in Mexico helped me a lot in diversifying my career. I think they are doing a lot of interesting things in Mexico and all of that is being consumed in the United States, Latin America and many other markets. I am very aware that it is a great country to work in and live in. I am very happy to have done projects in Mexico and I will continue to work in my country, of that I am sure.
You worked for many years on television in your country. Actresses like lazua Larios and Lupita Nyong’o denounced that there is a lot of racism in this medium. How do you see that?
I can understand that can happen, yet those types of situations should be eliminated. I think there are great actors that do magnificent work. I don’t doubt that that happens in Mexico, that happens in many places and it is necessary to diversify it.
In view of all the success and achievements of Mexican and Latin American talent in Hollywood, where do the words of the republican candidate Donald Trump lay?
I would rather not give much importance to someone that isn’t worth it. There’s a lot of talented people that have the opportunity to work in Hollywood and they, in a way, have helped us to level out a little more the territory so we can show our work up north. Even so, I consider that the important thing is to work, whether it’s up north, down south, east or west. The important thing is to work and to keep learning, that’s it.
Credits: El País
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In this interview you can hear Alfonso Herrera reveal details about his character in the series or how the story will unfold.
This series has as protagonist: Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels and Geena Davis and will begin broadcasting through FOX (CTV in Canada) on September 23rd, friday, at 9pm ET/PT.
More than four decades after the Academy Awards nominate movie was solidified as the biggest horror film ever to be made, The Exorcist returns under a phsychological thrillers series format, with two very distinct priests that take on a case of demonic possessions in a family.
With cassock and the power of Christ, Alfonso Herrera will expel demons in the series, The Exorcist, based on the homonymus book and movie, the Mexican’s first leading role in US television.
“I feel very happy, very fortunate to be part of the line of a project this important and this ambitous. It is so incredible, that in some way it can open up a path so that more latines, more mexicans can keep working over there“, he shared during an interview via telephone.
“It is a huge franchise, a well known name through out the whole world. It is an iconic movie, and to be part of this project, of this studio that wants to take this story to the small screen, is incredible“.
Just this month, FOX Networks authorized the production of the first season after the pilot episode was filmed in Chicago at the beginning of the year.
In this story, Herrera will play Tomas Ortega a priest with latin roots described as an ambitious and compassionate progressionist whom, along with his partner Marcus Lang (Ben Daniels) will take up the case of a family that is dealing with a demoniac possesion of one of its members.
“This adaptation conserves a lot of virtues from the original format, I’m refering to the movie and also the book. I think that if the name is going to be used it wouldn’t be a good idea to get away from the essence. That was a great move from the director as well as the writer“, he added.
It will be the first time the actor will interpret a religious man and that he will participate in a thriller and suspense production on tv written by Jeremy Slater (Resuscitated) and directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Planet of the Apes (R)evolution).
“I respect it a lot. I think there’s a lot of great movies (suspence). Not long ago I downed myself in many of this genre and I’m on this constant search to watch them. They’re marvelous. Lately there’s been a “boom” in this genre in TV as well as in Hollywood“, he added.
“It was interesting interpreting a priest. It’s something very peculiar, to get into this world, to know the limits they have, it is a complicated topic, but if all goes well, I’ll let you know in a year what it felt like to have been through this experience“.
Currently, he is also participating in the Netflix series Sense8 and last year he filmed the pilot episode of the series Urban Cowboy, which did not prosper.
Geena Davis, Brianne Howey, Hannah Kasulka and Kurt Egyiawan also participate in The Exorcist, which will premiere this fall.