Written, directed and scored by Dave Boyle, Man From Reno is a mystery-thriller about a Japanese author (played by Ayako Fujitani) and small town sheriff (played by Pepe Serna) who team up to solve a murder mystery in San Francisco.
Pepe, who on July 23rd, 2013, was honored by his hometown of Corpus Christi with his own commemorative day, took time out of his busy schedule to talk with Being Latino about the evolution of his career from Scarface to Man From Reno and what he hopes his role in Man From Reno will do for Latino actors.
How do you pick the projects that you want to be a part of?
In the past, I just wanted to work. I was willing to audition for order tramadol that came down the pike. Being an improvisational actor, I always felt that there were no small parts, and that every part was important to the story. That was just my way of keeping myself sane and working! Ever since Man from Reno…I feel different about what I’m doing. I feel like I don’t have to just keep working just to work. I’ve been spoiled by my character Paul Del Moral in Man from Reno.
What makes Paul Del Moral your ideal role?
My character, Paul Del Moral, is somehow the culmination of who I am as a human being and tapping into being myself–which is really the hardest thing to do in film. You can hide behind all kinds of characters, but Paul Del Moral was very organically me, and I could just get into the emotions of the moment. And by doing so, the Sheriff became probably the most complex character I’ve ever attempted—because no longer was I just pretending and using things that were somehow outside of myself to be real.
What are some of the most perpetuated stereotypes about Latinos in the mainstream media?
Latinos are always gardeners, maids, hoodlums, thugs, murderers, thieves..basically the underbelly of society. You hardly ever see professionals: doctors, scientists, professors. Hollywood doesn’t care. They stereotype everybody in the worst possible way. They don’t raise the culture of cheap tramadol. It goes back to the Westerns: it’s the guys with white hats and the guys with the black hats. Good or bad, nothing in between. But that’s what the world is—all the in between is where the exciting characters are in life.
What do you hope that audiences get from Man From Reno?
What I really hope that audiences tap into is that even though the leads are Japanese and Mexican-American is that stories are stories, and great stories are universal. And hopefully the audiences will realize that this is a movie that’s going to make you think. [There are] surprises around every corner, just like real life. Films are usually cookie-cutter; you already know what’s coming around the bend. They talk down to the audience, don’t really respect the audience, and hopefully the audience…will see this movie, enjoy it and realize that there’s a place in all of us to accept something that—at first glance—looks, feels, smells, tastes foreign but is in fact as American as apple pie.
Man From Reno is currently in post-production. Director Dave Boyle has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to finish the film. You can donate to the Man From Reno Kickstarter campaign at: http://nastynets.com/pages/buyxanaxonline/
By Being Latino Contributor, Tanisha Love Ramirez