Entertainment

Actors Of ‘On My Block’ Discuss How They Authentically Tackle Serious Issues Facing Our Community

Audiences recently took to the comments of Netflix’s Latinx-focused Instagram account @ConTodoNetflix to choose which name blending they preferred for characters Monse Finnie and Cesar Diaz, two of the main love interests on Netflix’s ‘On My Block’ comedy-drama series.

BTW, if you were curious to see which won out between MONSAR and CEONSÉ, CEONSÉ seemed to be the fan-favorite, with actress Sierra Capri, who plays Monse on the series, writing, “I’m down for either but it’s something about that Ceonse 🌹🔥.” 

Before season 3 premiered last month, mitú sat down with Capri and her on-screen love interest Diego Tinoco in between takes on the OMB set to discuss how this on-screen couple is able to portray that something when the camera is rolling, how the show is creating a learning experience for young audiences—whether it’s discussing gun violence or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, and their friendships with the cast IRL.

Actors Sierra Capri and Diego Tinoco are proud of the representation they are offering to their fans.

The on-again, off-again relationship between headstrong and intelligent tomboy Monse Finnie and sensitive Cesar Diaz, who is trying to escape his family’s circle of gang violence, maybe dramatized for ‘On My Block,’ but the two actors say fans have related to their characters’ tough upbringings and in some cases, viewers have been able to leave precarious family situations thanks to the show. 

During shooting one day, Capri was stopped by a police officer who knew the story of her character.

“She [the police officer] stopped me a couple of days ago when we were filming a scene outside a convenience store and she’s a cop now, and she was like, ‘I was Monse growing up,’” Capri recalled.

“I’ve had a lot of girls come up to me and they say, ‘I’m experiencing it now. I’m a tomboy, I come from a single-parent household and I don’t really know where I fit in, so I feel like I can relate to Monse as far as just trying to find out where I fit in.’ Because Monse, she’s not a normal girl. She’s def unique, so I appreciate when girls come up to me and they’re like, ‘You made me feel like I wasn’t alone in certain situations,’” she said about her fans’ relation to her character.

Fans are invested in the Cesar/Monse joint storyline.

Tinoco also had fans reach out to him, with one, in particular, telling him how his character inspired them to break away from the grip of gang violence in their family.

“I had a kid come up to me at the orthodontist saying that he watched season 1 of the show, and that he was in very similar circumstances as Cesar, and you know involved in some gang stuff and he wanted to go to college, but he didn’t know how to tell his brothers all that stuff that he wanted to get out of the gang, and that after watching season 1 he was really inspired and didn’t want any part of it. He said he’s going to college. We still DM each other. He’s a sweet kid,” Tinoco said. 

Set in the fictional Los Angeles neighborhood of Freeridge, Monse and Cesar learn to navigate ordinary teen situations with their squad of friends while dealing with the uncertainty of gang violence in an area ruled by two rival gangs—the Santos and the Prophets. 

Without diving too much into politics, ‘On My Block’ is still able to tackle heavy subjects.

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hi, i'm cesar 😏

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The show touches on subjects such as PTSD, gun violence, and ICE raids in its scripts, essentially providing a lesson for its audiences without shoving a particular agenda in viewers’ faces.

“I think because gun violence is also in relation to police brutality,  which is at an all-time high right now, especially in the African American community, I think a lot of people watch our show—and I’m not going to say whether or not we touch on that—but I do feel it’s something that they can watch and feel like they can learn from. I feel like we still need to make shows that kids can learn from and as well as be entertained,” Capri said.  

One poignant scene in particular in season 2 was when Cesar, who at the time was homeless, sought refuge at a church where some undocumented immigrants were also staying. Tinoco said he purposely didn’t prepare his scene in order to keep that element of surprise undocumented immigrants face when bombarded by an ICE raid. 

“That’s harsh terms—putting little kids in a cage—that’s not right. So I definitely empathize with that. Going into the scene, I didn’t prepare much on it because my character, it’s supposed to hit him [snapped his finger] by surprise, so I thought only for the circumstances, it would work better if I didn’t know until the priest walked in there. But yeah, me and Eddie [Gonzalez, co-creator and executive producer of OMB] definitely talked about that, ‘Like this is f*cked up what’s going on out there,’” Diego said about shooting the scene. 

The actors see their show speaking to a community of young Latinos in a way they need.

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freshest on the block? ✅

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“Our show speaks directly towards Hispanic, Latinx and YA [young adult] audiences with intent, purpose. And growing up, I certainly know I didn’t have that type of show. I’m Mexican, so I feel like I still don’t have the Mexican leading actor guy that I’m like ‘Oh! I want to be that guy.’ So I’m just really grateful to be on the show, be a part of such a great thing,” he commented.

Netflix executives also took notice of the work the cast was doing on-screen to promote diverse stories in the television industry. After fighting for pay raises, the OMB main cast was able to negotiate a pay raise of $81,250 per episode, according to Business Insider

The bonds the cast made off-screen also carried into their scenes together before filming wrapped up on the show’s current season.

“It’s bittersweet. We’re finishing very strong so we’re happy on that, but it’s always a little sad to leave your friends,” Tinoco said about wrapping up season 3 shooting. 

“It went by so fast. For me it felt like it went by really fast. Which tells me we had a lot of fun filming it. We had a lot of fun episodes,” Capri said. 

Fans who have yet to watch season 3 will be glad to have some light-hearted laughs again. 

“This season definitely taps into the humor from season 1, so that was nice to have back into our lives, but it’s [the season] definitely heartbreaking as well,” Tinoco said. 

READ: Jason Genao Of ‘On My Block’ Talks Growing Up On His Block And His Secret To Making Bomb Empanadas

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Netflix Has Confirmed That ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Is Coming Back For Season 3 Without Diego Luna

Entertainment

Netflix Has Confirmed That ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Is Coming Back For Season 3 Without Diego Luna

Azhar Khan / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

“Narcos” is one of Netflix’s most wildly popular original series. Over the years, fans have learned about Narcos culture and history through the show and we are officially getting another season. Here’s what we know.

“Narcos: Mexico” Season 3 is coming to Netflix and, like, omg.

“Narcos” first started with following the drug trade in Colombia with Pablo Escobar. The fourth season was instead “Narcos: Mexico” and the beginnings of the Mexican drug trade became the focus of the series. Fans went wild for the show and it has continued to enjoy success with the Netflix audience.

Showrunner Eric Newman is stepping down in the coming season.

Instead, co-creator Carlos Bernard is stepping up and taking on the role of showrunner. Newman was the showrunner for five seasons since “Narcos” first started and is excited to see the show develop under Bernard.

“I am grateful for my five years at the helm of ‘Narcos’ and ‘Narcos: Mexico’ and am immensely proud of what this spectacular team has achieved with these shows,” Newman told Variety. “Carlos Bernard is the first person I ever spoke to about this project, over ten years ago, and I am extremely pleased to leave the steering of Season 3 of ‘Narcos: Mexico’ in his very capable hands.”

Brace yourself because Diego Luna is not joining the cast this season.

Tbh, Luna was one of the best parts of the show. He isn’t everything but he was a major part of the iconic and beloved show. The news is bumming out large parts of the “Narcos” fanbase who have come to love and look forward to him.

People are ready for this to happen yesterday.

Like, thank you for letting us know it is happening Netflix. Now we need to know when the show will actually be released. We appreciate the little update but we just need to know when we can watch the show.

We look forward to the release date, Netflix.

We are ready to sit on the couch and binge the season the moment it drops. Let’s get this together and get the show streaming. Thank you so very much!

READ: Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

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The Trailer For the ‘Saved By the Bell’ Reboot Just Dropped and Slater Is Front and Center

Entertainment

The Trailer For the ‘Saved By the Bell’ Reboot Just Dropped and Slater Is Front and Center

Photo: Universal Television/YouTube

The trailer for the “Saved By the Bell” reboot dropped on Tuesday and it actually looks…good? We’re so excited, we just can’t hide it. The series has long been in the works, with the reboot being announced all the way back in September 2019.

The reboot will revolve Zack Morris (who is now a California governor) after he “gets into hot water” after he closes a bunch of low-income high schools. Governor Zack’s brilliant idea is to send the kids affected by the school closures to the “highest performing schools in the state”, which naturally, includes Bayside High. According to the synopsis, “the influx of new students gives the over privileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.” We never imagined “Saved By the Bell” tackling class-conflict before, but hey! Weirder things have happened in 2020.

Much of the original cast is slated to appear, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris, Elizabeth Berkley as Jessica Spano, Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski, and of course, Mario Lopez in the legendary role of Slater. Thankfully, Slater appears like he will be in the show quite a bit, playing a coach to the high school students (why aren’t we surprised?).

In addition to the original cast, it looks like the series has also added a bunch of new characters to flesh out the new series. One of those characters will be “Mac Morris”, Zack Morris’ mini-me son. And judging by the trailer and promotional materials, the show’s lead will be a Latina character named Daisy, played by newcomer Haskiri Velazquez.

Lopez has been vocal about his excitement for the reboot, recently telling Women’s Day that the reboot is “much funnier, to be quite honest.” “It’s got a different look and feel and much more mature ‘Saved by the Bell’,” he explained. “But I think they [struck] a good balance with this nostalgia in the new version.” He also teased that he might “bring back the mohawk,” but it appears we weren’t that lucky.

And now that we saw the trailer, we have to agree with Lopez. The new series appears to be a sort of tongue-in-cheek meta-commentary on the cheesiness of the original ’90s series. The plot device of the “outsiders” (i.e. lower-income students) coming into Bayside High is genius. It means the show can be cheesy and over-the-top while poking fun of it’s self in a self-aware way. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds.

The series is set to premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 25 on NBC’s streaming service Peacock.

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