Benicio del Toro: Latino cinema will once again have its moment in Hollywood
Madrid, Apr 21 (EFE).- Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro is pleased that new generations are placing “minorities” at the center of U.S. fiction and, given the rise of African American and Asian cinema, among others, he believes that “Latinos will again have their moment in Hollywood.”
Del Toro is to receive on Saturday the 2023 Platino Honorary Award in Madrid and in an interview with EFE he said that although “there are still stereotype problems” for minorities, including Latinos, things “have changed a bit in the United States.”
“If you’re Latino it’s okay, why not play a Latino, the thing is to look for the complexity of those characters, which sometimes you can, but sometimes you can’t,” said Del Toro, who joins performers like Edward James Olmos, Antonio Banderas and Carmen Maura to have won the Ibero-American film industry award.
Del Toro, who has played characters from modern Latin American history such as Che Guevara and the drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, also alludes to the fact that breaking these vicious circles does not depend only on the actors.
“That depends on who you are working with because cinema is not made alone, it is not only the actors who make the decisions, it is a group work in which you have to collaborate a lot, I think that in the United States maybe things have changed, the new generations are improving them”, he said.
AN AWARD THAT HONORS HIS “ROOTS”
The Puerto Rican, who has won awards such as an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Silver Berlin Bear and a Golden Palm at Cannes, says he feels very “honored” to receive this award from his Ibero-American colleagues.
“It is truly an honor to be part of it and to be recognized for my roots,” he said.
Del Toro pursued his career in the United States but has also worked with directors like Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu and Spaniards Bigas Luna and Fernando León de Aranoa.
In that sense, he defends that it doesn’t matter so much where the actor works as long as he “looks for the truth” in the stories he interprets.
“It doesn’t matter if one works in Hollywood, Spain or Mexico, although it’s true that sometimes Latin American and European cinema is more similar to American independent cinema,” he said.
And it was in that form of cinema where he was “forged.” “When I started there was a wave of independent cinema with Soderbergh, Spike Lee, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez… I had that opportunity and there, in independent cinema, one becomes purer.”
He explained that Hollywood cinema “is not that it is more comfortable because it has a bigger budget”, but because he has “more time” to shoot.
“In Latin cinema, time is more limited, it’s more on the fly, but what you have to do is look for the truth in the story, in the character, and that is equally difficult on both sides,” he said.
THE STEADY PACE OF IBERO-AMERICAN CINEMA
The Puerto Rican sees a lot of Ibero-American cinema, “although not all of it,” both contemporary and old, and with that knowledge he appreciates that there are films “that mark a moment or an era” even years after being released.
“Ibero-American cinema is still being made and as long as it continues to be made… I believe that now there are more opportunities, more possibilities and there is more cinema like that than when I started,” he said.
Regarding the social cinema being made in the region and which is producing good results internationally, he believes that “it has been booming for some time now.”
An admirer of Oliver Stone and the political cinema that this American director “manages to make within Hollywood” despite the fact that the industry “doesn’t want to do it,” he asks for “freedom of expression” for all films because “there are always two sides to every story.”
Del Toro is, at 56, the tenth actor to receive the Platino Honorary Award and although he has worked with famous film directors, he is still hungry for new challenges.