Entertainment

Although Julio Macias Was Born In Mexico City, He Assimilated When He Moved To The U.S. And Lost Touch With His Roots — Until He Landed A Part In ‘On My Block’

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Part of the appeal of “On My Block” is the resounding connections with its fans is its ability to paint stereotypical characters in a completely new light. The show is giving Latinos a chance to be represented in media without the negative stereotypes we see in media all the time. Either the characters are given qualities we don’t see or the stereotypical roles are given a different depth that just speaks to us.

One example of that is the tough head of the neighborhood gang—Spooky, who happens to be the older brother of Cesar Diaz, one of the show’s protagonists.

Played by actor Julio Macias, Spooky showed on season one he had a much more multifaceted backstory than audiences first thought. In an exclusive interview with mitú, Macias talks about how Spooky wants the best for his brother and how playing him allowed him to connect more to being a Latino in this generation.

Thanks to Spooky, Julio Macias feels more connected to his Latino roots.

Courtesy of PV Public Relations

“I think the core four all knew Oscar before we was Spooky, before when he was a kid,” Macias says. “They all knew Oscar as well, so I think that’s the reason they don’t mess with him in that sense. They know he is coming from a broken past, but he wants an optimistic future not for him, but for his brother.”

That’s some deep stuff right there.

It was that touching beach scene in which Spooky reveals all the ways he took care of Cesar when they were kids that first attracted Macias to even play the role of a gang member.

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“What attracted me to the role was the beach scene. It was the first thing that I read that I auditioned for the role,” he says.

He added Spooky’s lines in that scene convinced him to give that role a second chance.

“I had that pre-judgment of that character even before I played him,” Macias admits.

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Macias added: “What attracted me was that scene is really heartfelt, and he is coming from a place of love and is protecting his brother in the way he can.”

Macias credits the talented cast and crew for the ability to bring range to Spooky’s character.

“I’m very happy [creators] Lauren, Jeremy and Eddie allowed me to be vulnerable. It was written in a certain way, but we played with it and working with Diego [Tinoco] was fantastic,” Macias says. “It’s not me—it’s a village, it’s the writers, the directors. It morphed into let’s explore this character on a deeper level, and you wouldn’t get to see that in that character [usually.]”

Macias, who was born in Mexico City and moved to the U.S. with his family as a kid, says that he tried to assimilate into the culture as much as he could so he wouldn’t be seen as ‘other.’

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“I constantly tried to talk like them [his peers at school], and tried to fit in by blending in,” he says.

Playing Spooky allowed him to come into his own as a an actor—and a Latino.

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“So far in my career, this is by far the best character,” Macias says. “It’s a blessing—it really is—not only for opening my roots and my culture, and my place in this conversation. And the conversation will continue and push in the right direction.

“And besides from that, that Netflix and Lauren [Iungerich] allowed me to create a character that was so removed from myself,” Macias adds.

Macias feels #blessed playing Spooky allowed him to be anything but boxed in.

“As a Latino, you try to blend in and incorporate yourself even as an actor. I just wanted to be an actor, not like ‘that Mexican actor or Latino actor,’” he says.

“Once I started playing this character, I[asked] ‘Why didn’t I lean into it before?’ This role opened up my understanding of who I am and my culture and my place in all of this,” Macias explained.

Now that season 3 has a definite greenlight, Macias says he wants to “throw a wrench” in what audiences expect of Spooky.

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“One thing I would like to do because this would be fun as an actor—we’ve seen Spooky bark and see why people are scared of him, but we still need to understand what happened for him to make [these] choices.I would like to complicate the character, to explore that,” he says.

Looks like we will all have to wait and see what’s in store for him and the rest of the cast when the show returns for its third season!

On My Block seasons one and two are currently streaming on Netflix.  

READ: Exclusive: ‘On My Block’ Co-Creator Eddie Gonzalez Discusses How His Childhood Came To Life On The Show

The Netflix Production Of Selena Finally Cast Abraham And Abraham Jr.

Entertainment

The Netflix Production Of Selena Finally Cast Abraham And Abraham Jr.

We’ve been there every step of the way. From the announcement late last year that Netflix and the Quintanilla’s would be teaming up to bring us the official coming-of-age story of Selena to the audition process of the series, to the casting of Selena herself. It’s been thrilling just to experience the process because that means we’re that much closer to filming the actual show. Now we have two more additions to the series. 

Actors Ricardo Chavira and Gabriel Chavarria will be playing the roles of Abraham senior and Abraham Jr. — Selena’s father and brother. 

Credit: @DEADLINE / Twitter

Deadline is reporting that actors Ricardo Chavira and Gabriel Chavarria have been cast in the “Selena: The Series” — which is also been referred to as “the official story of Tejano music legend, Selena Quintanilla.” If you’re wondering why Netflix isn’t announcing any of the actors that are being cast in the project, it’s because they are keeping hush about it entirely, which we find a little strange.

Why won’t Netflix officially announce this news, considering it is their project? We’re going to assume that they don’t want to commit to any of these actors. For example, what if the actors don’t reflect what the Quintanillas want? They can change them at any point, but the thing is, that could happen regardless if Netflix made it official or not. It’s all a little bizarre. It’s also quite noticeable that the actors aren’t saying a thing about it on social media either. 

You may remember Ricardo Chavira as Carlos Solis in “Desperate Housewives.”

Credit: ricardoachavira / Instagram

Yes, he played Eva Longoria’s husband! He’s also had a slew of roles since including on “Burn Notice,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” and “Jane the Virgen.” 

Chavira, who tweets regularly, has yet to comment on his new role. There’s also no information about the series on Imdb.com, at least not about the actors. 

Gabriel Chavarria will play Selena’s brother. Most recently he starred in the USA Network/Syfy series “The Purge.”

Credit: gabeiswitit / Instagram

Chavarria could also be seen in “East Los High” as Jacob Aguilar, the film “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and as Danny in the movie “Lowriders.” He’s also staying mum on the topic as well. 

Last month, it was also announced that Christian Serratos from “The Walking Dead” was cast in the title role of Selena.

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Netflix, the Quintanillas, and Serratos, of course, is you guessed it, remaining tight-lipped about the topic. So all of this information is based on unnamed sources. 

The only “official” word about this project came last year from Selena’s sister, Suzette Quintanilla.

Credit: suzettesyld / Instagram

Suzette released the following statement last year: “Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel a great responsibility to do justice to her memory. With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives. We are excited to partner with Campanario and Netflix to give fans a never-before-seen glimpse at our story and highlight why Selena will remain a legend for generations to come.” 

As far as Netflix is concerned, all we have is this trailer. *Sigh*.

There’s no information as to when the series will be released but it probably won’t be anytime soon if we’re getting information released this late in the game. However, we’re going to throw out another theory, so bear with us. According to E! News, the series is set to begin shooting next month in Mexico. We’re thinking this marketing strategy is building up in this manner because of Telemundo’s release of “El Secreto de Selena.” 

The family is very much against that series, so what a better way to distract from that show — which continues to air on Sundays — than to release more information at a slow pace and keep the conversation going on this Netflix series. Remember, we still haven’t heard who will be cast in the role of Selena’s mom or Selena’s sister. We’re certain as that information is known the big reveal or some huge announcement will happen thereafter. Maybe around the holidays. And, yes, we’ve been thinking about this a lot. But mark our words: this is all a big marketing ploy and we’re loving every second of it. 

READ: Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

There Is Going To Be A Remake Of Disney’s ‘Hercules’ And It Is Going To Have An All Black Cast

Entertainment

There Is Going To Be A Remake Of Disney’s ‘Hercules’ And It Is Going To Have An All Black Cast

There’s a new live-action stage version of Disney’s 1997 animated film “Hercules” at the Public Theater in New York City — and Hercules is Black as hell

In 1997, San Francisco Gate’s Peter Sack described the film as, “The great old Greek is turned into a ’90s-style athlete who gets endorsements, sandals named after him and a chance to stand tall among nymphs and muses.”

Sound familiar to you? Lest we not forget this was the same era that Michael Jordan did Space Jam and Shaquille O’Neal did Kazaam. The original animated film took inspiration from major athletes of the time and thus, it inevitably heavily references Black and hood ’90s culture. If you watch it now the sneakers, the gospel music, the humor, it probably seems so obvious. 

One might wonder with all these references to the Black popular culture of the ’90s, why didn’t the creators just make Hercules Black? Well, they finally have.

The story of Hercules.  

While most of us were forced to read and re-read Hercules in secondary school, not everyone may know the story. Hercules is the son of the king and queen of the gods, Zeus and Hera. When a prophecy foretells that he will eventually defeat the god of the underworld, Hades, Hercules is kidnapped as an infant. Unable to kill him, Hades is able to take his immortality away but not his strength. The baby Hercules is raised by a mortal couple. At 18 he figures out his real origins and is determined to become a hero so that he can return to Mount Olympus with the gods.

Meet your new Hercules.

Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, through The Public Theater’s Public Works Program is based on the 1997 animated film, and has kept Alan Menken’s musical score. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he also created the music for Disney’s Aladdin. Jelani Alladin stars as the demi-god Hercules. Krysta Rodriguez plays his love interest Megara.

The difference between the stage musical and the film is that Disney has finally chosen to embrace their story’s Blackness. Rather than simply coding their narrative as one with allusions to Black culture, they’ve put that Blackness at the forefront and center. That’s what we call growth! Everybody loves Black culture, it’s time we start loving the people who make it. 

Danielle C. Belton of The Root describes the original as having flirted with African-American culture, while this new version embraces a multicultural cast. 

“While the film Hercules only flirted with African-American music and culture—the muses who were the “Greek chorus” throughout the film were patterned after classic, Motown-style Black ‘50s girl groups,” she writes. “This version of ancient Greece and the Greco-Roman gods features quite a few Black, Asian and Latinx people, including Jelani Alladin as the titular teenaged Hercules, and, of course—all five of the doo-wopping muses are…sistas with voices.”

How Hercules gave nods to Black culture. 

Hercules is something of a hood icon. It was the first time many kids probably saw Black women portrayed as the muses and Greek chorus. This gaggle of doo-wopping muses sang the funky, soulful Hercules theme. There were also pivotal aspects of hood culture, some of it is even social commentary. Hercules’s character is parallel to the superstar basketball players of the ’90s, their rabid fans, and endorsement deals. The creators, Ron Clements and John Musker, even referred to Hercules as the Michael Jordan of his time. 

In the movie, we see a young Hercules’ as he rises to fame for being a demi-God with some serious strength. When the hero-worship begins, he snags a sweet endorsement deal — but these aren’t Nike Jordans — they’re fresh to death Hercules sandals called Air-Hercs. When the villain Hades sees that one of his minions is rocking the Hercules sandals his response is simple and iconic: what are those?The phrase has now become a popular meme on Black Twitter going so far as being referenced in the “Black Panther” movieThe hero even has his own version of a Gatorade sponsorship, the drink is called “Herculade.”

A Latinx Megara embraces feminism.

Unlike other Disney women of the era, Megara was never waiting to be saved. She was sarcastic, witty, and pretty unimpressed with Hercules’ attempts to holler at her. Krysa Rodriguez’ Megara puts feminism at the forefront — again we see subtle codes made explicit. 

“In a new song, a pants-clad Meg imagines a world without men, envisioning it as a utopia where she could do as she pleases. A dopey, lovestruck Hercules, seeking to demonstrate his feminist credentials, replies clumsily, ‘My mom’s a woman,’” writes Adrienne Westenfeld for Esquire.

Diversity is always an improvement. We live in a multicultural world, there is never anything wrong with reflecting that in the stories we tell. After all, it’s the stories we tell that teach us who we are and who we will become. For Hercules that is learning the truth about his traumatic past to create a better future — for America, well, it’s no different.