NEXT DAY AIR stars get their “flavor crackin’” with Kiko
They might be fairly new to mainstream movie audiences, but you’d never know it when talking to actors Cisco Reyes and Yasmin Deliz. With so much momentum coming off their breakout roles in NEXT DAY AIR, their self-confidence brims over when they talk about the future.
In NEXT DAY AIR, the duo plays Jesus and Chita, a Latino couple who are on the trail of a courier they believe lost a package full of cocaine sent to them by a dangerous California drug dealer.
During my interview with the pair, Reyes, who moved to L.A. nine years ago and started acting, and Deliz, who is actually the host of “The Chicas Project” on mun2, talked about what life has been like since landing their roles in NEXT DAY AIR and what they see ahead for themselves in the entertainment world.
See the full interview after the jump!
Cisco, do you consider this a breakout role?
Cisco Reyes: Sure, I do even though I’ve done other things. I’ve been praying to God for a breakout role and he brought me [the role of] Jesus in NEXT DAY AIR. It’s a beautiful thing and a lot of fun. It’s a really exciting time in my life right now. I’ve popped up here and there in the past but as far as a lead role in a major movie that’s going to hit 1,400 screens across the country . . . that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.
I’m guessing your life is made up of a lot of days dedicated to auditions.
You gotta audition until you become like Tom Cruise or Denzel Washington, where you start getting offered roles. I do have roles offered to me, but as far as the bigger movies, you have to prove yourself in Hollywood. I have no problem with that. I consider myself a pretty talented guy. I make sure I’m always training and learning and sharpening my skills every day. I have no problem going out for the same role as 10 other dudes because I know nobody else is me. They can’t do what I do and they don’t have the same swagger. When [the character of] Jesus came around, I read the script and thought to myself, This is me. This is Cisco without the criminal activity. He’s from the East Coast and he’s Puerto Rican just like me. If I had to write a role for myself to step out into the scene, this would be it. I was able to bring so much of myself to the role.
Do you feel that up to this point you’ve been paying your dues in the industry, and, if so, when will you know that that part of your career is behind you?
I definitely think that I have paid my dues. A lot of actors paint a picture like they got discovered overnight or that they just showed up in a film and they have "arrived." I’ll be the first one to keep it real and let the public know that’s not how it happens. It’s a lot of hard work and patience. If it happens overnight it goes overnight. Nothing has happened overnight for me. I’m not going to win the lotto. You gotta pay your dues. God puts you through tests to see if you really want it. If you really want it you have to stick to it and you’ll end up making it sooner or later. You just gotta show up with your "A" game. When you draw in box office like Will Smith, things will get easier.
You’ve been living in L.A. for about nine years. What have you learned about the cutthroat part of the industry that you didn’t know when you first started?
Hollywood is all about relationships. When I got [to L.A.] my first audition was great and the casting director thanked me for doing such a great job, and he even got great feedback from the director. The next thing you know, some other guy got the part. Why? Because he was the producer’s cousin or the director’s best friend. When it comes to relationships, I like to build friendships. Then the rest will come. There are millions of people out there. At the end of the day, who are you gonna hook up? Are you gonna hook up your boy or some stranger? Everyone’s gonna look out for their friends. I’ve learned to not get upset about things like that. It’s an element of the industry you gotta deal with. But the more friends you have, the better your chances are.
Since you’re now part of that element, will you hook up your own friends?
I won’t lie, I will. But only the ones that deserve it and that I believe in. Not all your friends have talent, to be honest with you. I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m gonna tell you straight up. If you can’t sing, get your butt off of “American Idol.” I’m not gonna push my friend who has a dream to become a singer if he has the voice of an alley cat. You have to look out for your own, but you have to be realistic and honest or you’re gonna end up throwing someone under the bus.
What was the chemistry like between you and Yasmin Deliz?
It was good. She’s Dominican from New York, I’m Puerto Rican from New York. We already had that East Coast flavor crackin’. It was really easy to create that chemistry. She was like the Abbott to my Costello and vice versa. It was a lot of fun. At the beginning Chita was supposed to be Chito, my brother, but the producers thought there would be too much testosterone so we needed a female to break that up. They did a great job bringing in Yasmin. I auditioned with every Latina in town and Yasmin came in with natural talent. Not to mention she is beautiful, which made it very easy to show up on set to do my scenes with her. She’s feisty and fiery and spicy in real life.
Yasmin, since you’re the one usually asking all the questions as the host of “Vivo,” how does it feel doing press for the movie and being on the other side?
Yasmin Deliz: It feels marvelous, darling. I’m having such a great time. It’s fun being on the other end of the spectrum. Being the one that’s always doing the interviewing, you kind of know what the interviewer is looking for and you give it your all. Plus, it’s fun not to have to do the whole reporter-style, legs crossed, fingers intertwined kind of thing. I can let loose a little more.
How did you get involved in the film since you don’t have a background in the industry?
I knew [director] Benny Boom from a couple of years ago because he’s well known in the music-video world. When he got the script and he was casting for his movie, they couldn’t find the girl they wanted to play Chita. Benny knows I’m from New York and that I’m Dominican, so he thought of me. So he called me and asked what kind of experience I have acting. I told him, “To be quite honest with you, none.” He was like, “Well, whatever. Doesn’t matter, girl. Come audition. I think this part fits you perfectly.” So, I went in and auditioned and afterwards I was so nervous I just took off and went home because I thought it was over. On my way back home they called me and asked me to come back and read for them again. I did well and got the part.
I heard they wrote your character as a brother before decided there was too much testosterone in the script.
I’m so happy they changed their mind and that Chita was not Chito. Also, I think it brought a different element to the movie because the relationship between Chita and Jesus is funny. It’s an explosive relationship. It’s a love/hate relationship. They go back and forth.
Is acting something you want to keep doing now that you’ve gotten a taste?
It would be a dream to keep acting! I’m fairly young to start a career in entertainment. Although I wasn’t expecting it, I think I caught the acting bug. I can’t say it was always in my plans, but it’s definitely in my plans now. I plan on being a working Latina actress in Hollywood for many more years to come.
What kind of challenges do you expect as a new Latina actress?
I don’t foresee challenges in my career. I expect the best. I never expect the worst. I always go in with a positive mind. I’m reading a script right now and the chick I’m reading for is not Latina. Nowadays it doesn’t matter. It’s 2009. Maybe three or four years ago if it wasn’t a Latina reading for a chola role you probably wouldn’t get the part. But now we have Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz that have paved the way for young Latina actress like me. Latinas are such a hot commodity now and will continue to be so. I hope that didn’t sound cocky. Sure, we might have to fight a little harder for the parts, but that’s okay. We have it in us.
How comfortable are you with your sexuality and are you going to let that define who you are as an actress?
I don’t ever flaunt my beauty or whatever you want to call it. I don’t walk in a room and expect anything but the respect that I deserve for my talent, not for how I look. If I were to ever read for a part where there is nudity, at this point in my career, I wouldn’t take the role because I don’t want to put myself out like that. But in the future, you never know. Right now I’m trying to establish myself as a talent in Hollywood and what I represent as a Latina, not the sexiest body in a magazine somewhere.