Shadowland - Actor: Carlos Antonio León

The Suave Carlos Antonio León... talent that comes from around the world...
[2vs8]: When did you know you wanted to be an actor, and how did you take your first steps towards your goal?

Carlos Antonio León: I wanted to be an actor my whole life. I cannot recall the exact time when I made such decision but it probably happened while in elementary school. I was chosen to play a Prince in a school act and I remember loving all the attention, applause, and the feeling of being on stage. That hooked me up! As soon as I graduated from High school I started looking for acting schools. I was accepted at CIFALC (in Venezuela) which was the most popular acting school among soap actors and the rest is history.

[2vs8]: What was this like compared to your almost all Spanish roles in your past?

Carlos Antonio León: You know, it was not as different as some people might think. Acting is acting and it truly does not matter what language you’re using to convey it. You love similarly in every culture, you hate similarly in every culture. Laughter is laughter regardless of language. Feelings are universal. All I needed to do, instead of focusing on the language and the cultural variation, was to focus on making “Lazarus” a believable character. That was my main concern.

[2vs8]: Tell us about your career and some of the highlights, was this your first film?

Carlos Antonio León: If not please elaborate? My career in Venezuela was pretty diverse. I cannot do just ONE THING. I have to explore other alternatives. I may have HDAD (ha!). Thus in Venezuela I did theater while at the same time I was a dancer for a hit TV show, and in my “spare” time I was a host for public events. Never mind that I was a producer of fashion shows and was doing print jobs as a model. I was also an impersonator and used to imitate popular Venezuelan singers in nocturnal shows. I also worked on radio making voice overs. I did TV (soaps) which I never liked because of the stiffness required to make the characters to look and sound “soap like”…I never liked the rhythm of working on TV. The rushing, the anxiety, the “no time to study your character deeply”…and I hate memorization (which is a must for soaps). Shadowland became my very first feature film. I can now officially say I’ve worked in all media venues: theater, TV, radio, Film, print…

[2vs8]: How did the role come about for "Shadowland" and what were your first thoughts?

Carlos Antonio León: The role of Lazarus came in a very strange way. An agent in my talent agency made it very hard for director Wyatt Weed to audition me. The agent was pointing out at my “heavy accent” (have you ever heard Penelope Cruz?? And she won an Oscar!). Wyatt kept insisting on having me audition and finally we all met. I did the audition once and few days later they called me to offer me the role. I was ecstatic!! My first thoughts were “OMG…a movie??...a real one?”  You see, I was OUT of the showbiz for a long time, so when I got Shadowland, my anxiety went way up. I thought “can I still act?”


[2vs8]: How was working with the cast and the director for the first time?

Carlos Antonio León: AWESOME! These guys were amazing. Work was hard and for very long hours during a very HOT Missouri summer (meaning: very HUMID). We were wearing period clothes and it was very difficult to endure the waiting while all dressed up like that (never mind the make-up: fake facial hair, contact lenses, fake fangs, etc). But the camaraderie was great. No attitudes, no divas, just simple people. I was coming from experiences that were totally different: people with attitudes, bunch of divas and wannabes, etc., you know, the TV crowd. But with Shadowland, showbiz got vindicated. The important thing was not “me” but “us” and I truly loved that.

[2vs8]: Tell us a funny story that happened on the set of "Shadowland"?
Carlos Antonio León: Oh boy! You’re asking the right person! It may sound funny now but it was not at the time. It all has to do with make up. As a vampire, Lazarus needed to display a menacing pair of eyes (all black with a white dot in the middle). You have NO IDEA of how hard was to put those lenses on (they were HUGE and cover the entire eye ball). And once they were on, you have no idea of how difficult was to endure them. I could not see properly, at some point I was so blind that was saying my lines to the wrong person, never mind my eyes never stop tearing up….that, along with the fake mustache (made out of a wig that, piece by piece was glued—yep, you read it right, glued—to my skin and obviously kept falling on my lips and inside my mouth every time I try to speak…AND (like if that was not enough) then they brought the “blood” (chocolate syrup with grenadine) and things got really sticky and messy! 


[2vs8]: Outside of acting what do find yourself being passionate about?

Carlos Antonio León: I am very passionate about human rights. Besides acting I am also a social worker and thru that, I’ve been exposed to many issues that were non-existent to me in the past. I am concerned with the political situation in my country, Venezuela, it troubles me the direction it is taking. I am very concerned with the expansion of government into our lives here in the USA. I think we all should be free to chose the life we all want to live and no one should impose or step on the rights of others. I am very passionate about mental illnesses and the way to educate people about them and create awareness regarding funding and finding cures. We don’t live in a vacuum. We all need to get involved.

[2vs8]: 100 years into the future, what do you want to be remembered for?

Carlos Antonio León: Wow! Tough one! But if anything, I want to be remembered for my activism and the way I try to make others live better.

[2vs8]: What is your next project or what your are currently working on?

Carlos Antonio León: It’s called DE REPENTE, LA PELICULA (loosely translated as “suddenly, the movie”). It’s a farce, dark comedy filmed entirely in Venezuela under Luis Armando Roche’s direction. I truly enjoyed making that film. It was all based on improvs and good comedic timing. I felt so free to do whatever I wanted with my character. It’s amazing how natural, sincere, spontaneous a character can be when the actors are set free. We only got to do three table readings and after that, Luis told us “I don’t want memorizations, or script repetitions…I want you all to base your lines on the script but feel free to CREATE your characters…I don’t want to se “acting”…I want to see “characters”’…It was amazing how that help us all. The movie will be coming out in Venezuelan theaters by early 2011.

[2vs8]: What scares you?

Carlos Antonio León: Hatred. Extremists and radicalism. That’s worse than any horror story.

[2vs8]: Advice you would like to pass along to a stranger?

Carlos Antonio León: Live life at its fullest. We won’t be here for ever. ENJOY NOW.

[2vs8]: What is the nicest thing a fan has given you, while you have been involved with "Shadowland"?

Carlos Antonio León: Passion! Once during a Film Festival screening in Orlando a Vampire fan came to me (wearing her custom made fangs, no less) and told me that she was very happy with my work on the movie. She never took those fangs off while talking to me. It gave me the creeps but at the same time it made me realize how much passion a movie like Shadowland can inspire on others. During the same festival a woman jump out the pool and stuck her right boob in my mouth…Oh wait! That was totally unrelated. She did not know anything about Shadowland. My bad! 



3 comments:

Swami said...

Great for you Carlos. Blessing!

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS GUY. smart, sexy, and talented.total package!

Anna

Anonymous said...

AWESOME!

TJ