Most people toil away in independent cinema for years, maybe even decades, before catching a big break through some sort of cosmic alignment and starring in an Oscar-winning movie.
Not Tony Revolori. The 19-year-old Californian with Guatemalan roots, who stars in the buzzy, nerds-in-the-hood dramedy Dope (out June 19), is doing it all backwards.
After a string of small television parts, he was cast as Zero Moustafa, the orphaned lobby boy and fiercely loyal protégé of eccentric concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) in Wes Anderson’s dazzling 2014 murder mystery, The Grand Budapest Hotel. As the story goes, Anderson searched far and wide for the right actor to play Zero, who in the film is supposed to be a political refugee from a fictional Middle Eastern nation. The A-list director looked at actors of Israeli and Lebanese descent, but eventually landed in Los Angeles, where he auditioned Tony and – get this – Tony’s own brother, Mario. But in case you’re wondering – all is good between the two hermanos. In fact, Mario visited his younger brother on the set of Dope, along with Tony’s mom. (The acting gene actually runs in Tony’s family. His father was an actor, too.)
News broke on Wednesday, December 17, that the United States plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and will open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years. The historic move came after the release of an American intelligence agent who had been in captivity in a Cuban prison for 20 years, and an American contractor, Alan P. Gross, who had been captive for five. In exchange, the U.S. released three Cuban spies who had been imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001.
Secret talks were held over the last 18 months between Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, encouraged by Canada and Pope Francis. Establishing direct contact between leaders of the two countries for the first time in half a century, Obama and Castro reportedly had a phone call on Tuesday to finalize the deal.
Calling the embargo on Cuba a failure, Obama addressed the nation in a televised speech Wednesday morning, stating: “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.”
Shattering box office records (Avatar), energizing a franchise (Star Trek), dominating in drama (The Words, Out of the Furnace) — Zoe Saldana can do it all on screen. Yet do we really know her? In this cover story I did for Latina, Zoe opens up about the controversy surrounding her portrayal of legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, her relationship ups and downs and finding the perfect balance between work and play.
This was a fun one and I was flattered when Latina‘s executive editor Damarys Ocaña called it “the best cover story we’ve done on Zoe yet.”
In comedy, as in any other genre, game recognizes game. So Aubrey Plaza, otherwise known as April, Amy Poehler’s snarky college intern on NBC’s mockumentary-style show Parks and Recreation, is the kind of funny that my favorite comedians — people like Conan or Chelsea — give props to.
It’s called subtlety. And it’s not exactly something Latinos are known to do on the big or small screen. Blame George Lopez– anyone who relies on muecas to elicit chuckles is going to run out of jokes eventually.
It’s like Marlon Brando once said: “We only have so many faces in our pockets.”
But as Darius, Plaza’s first major film role in this summer’s Safety Not Guaranteed, the 27-year-old, half-Puerto Rican, half-Irish actress isn’t so much funny as she is a disaffected, deeply insecure, socially awkward live-at-home college grad who has never fully dealt with the one big tragedy in her life: the death of her mother.
She’s not exactly someone you love at first sight, but there’s a transformation that happens here, and eventually, Darius becomes endearing, relatable, and most important, memorable.
If I had to pick a favorite story that I’ve ever written, it would have to be this one … M-Rod is refreshingly real!
My mentor Mimi Valdés, editor-in-chief of Latina at the time, called it “the most illuminating portrait of Michelle ever.”
I was flattered. I heard Michelle appreciated it, too.
May 2009 issue