HOMBRE Exclusive: GABRIEL CHAVARRIA Leaves The Soccer Field Behind To Score With “War For The Planet Of The Apes”
10 Jul 2017 by Francisco Romeo in Celebrities, DVD, Event, Fame, Film, Films, General, Home, Pleasure, Profile, Stars, Television
Gabriel Chavarria is on the fast track to leading man status. The Honduran actor has two major films, and two television series on the horizon. First up is what’s expected to be a major summer blockbuster: “War For The Planet Of The Apes,” opening this Friday, July 14th.
Later this year is “Hunter Killers” opposite Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman and Billy Bob Thornton. In addition to his recent film success, Chavarria will return as one of the leads in Hulu’s Emmy nominated “East Los High,” and is set to star in the FOX pilot “Behind Enemy Lines.” We caught up with the busy actor to get the lowdown on his sizzling career.
Currently Chavarria is wrapping the lead role of “Ziggy Rodriguez” with Marg Helgenberger, Melia Kreiling and B.J. Britt on FOX’s military thriller pilot “Behind Enemy Lines” (loosely based on the 2001 movie). Written by Nikki Toscano and directed by McG, the narrative closely follows “Ziggy” (Chavarria) as a Navy pilot trapped with this fellow soldiers in hostile foreign territory, while the officers and service men of a nearby aircraft carrier and intelligence officers in D.C. attempt to bring these heroes safely home from “Behind Enemy Lines”.
His previous work includes the films “Freedom Writers,” “A Better Life,” and “Lowriders,” released earlier this year. Among his television credits are “Southland,” “Prime Suspect,” and “Major Crimes”.
Initially planning to be a professional soccer player, Chavarria was selected at the age of 13 for the Olympic Development Program and invited to play in tournaments across the U.S., Spain, and England.
His course changed at sixteen when he was discovered during the casting of “Freedom Writers” starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank. Chavarria happened to be playing basketball at a local recreational park where the film was holding preliminary auditions. At first resistant, he was convinced by his older brother to audition, and after the month long process, he received the call he’d landed his first role of ‘Tito.’
In between his acting work Chavarria is involved in supporting various charitable outreach programs and in coaching youth soccer. He also has a passion for music, recently founding his own music studio, and for fashion with the branded “WITIT,” which is a collection of urban street wear.
In “War For The Planet Of The Apes” Chavarria stars alongside with Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, Judy Greer and Steve Zahn, and is directed by Matt Reeves. This third installment of the franchise reboot has “Preacher” (Chavarria) struggling with his allegiance for the deranged “Colonel” (Harrelson) and his admiration for “Caesar” (Serkis) who has suffered unimaginable losses, and has begun a mystic quest to avenge his kind.
HOMBRE: What can you tell us about your role?
Gabriel Chavarria: I play Preacher, who’s a soldier on a mission. He’s a fun character. Kind of torn emotionally throughout the film, but he believes on what he has to do. I can’t give too much away.
H: How is it to work on a film so heavy on special effects?
GC: CGI is great. It’s amazing what these guys can do. I think what’s also cool about it is that the actors that play apes are able to be a part of the scene. I work with the human actors, but it’s a long process shooting a movie like this because of the CGI. We’re so advanced in what we’re able to accomplish. I can’t put it into words, it’s so real.
H: How do you prepare for a part like this?
GC: It’s crazy because I really didn’t get a heads up. I knew it would be very physically demanding, There was going to be running, shooting, firing weapons, jumping. I was excited and knew I had to get in shape. I didn’t want them to yell ‘cut’ in the middle of a scene because I had to catch my breath (laughs).
More than anything it was understanding the characters in the film.
H: How familiar were you with the franchise?
GC: I’m a big fan of the franchise and I loved the last two films. When I found out I was gonna be a part of it I can’t even tell you how excited I was. It’s not everybody who gets to be in a movie like this. My role is awesome, it’s a big role and I was ready for whatever was gonna come.
H: Did you see the original films with Charlton Heston?
GC: I knew about the old films. My parents actually watched them, and my mom was so excited when I told her I was gonna be in the movie. I did my homework. I mean it’s probably one of the biggest film franchises.
H: We’ll delve into your next two projects (‘Hunter Killers’ and ‘Behind Enemy Lines’) as they prepare for release, but along with this one they’re action packed, were these the kind of roles you aspired to do?
GC: Definitely, it’s what I wanted to pursue. Definitely wanted to do some cool action movies. Who doesn’t want to do that. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in some amazing films, some drama pieces, and now it’s the action vibe and I love it. There are so many things that action movies bring. You’re blowing things up, you’re shooting guns, you’re saving lives… and I’m very athletic, I’m into sports. I love the physicality of it.
H: I know you were discovered quite by accident, was acting something you wanted to do?
GC: I never thought about being in movies, that was not a life goal. I thought I would play soccer, that’s what I thought I was destined to do. I made the ultimate decision to pursue acting all the way, and it was by far the best decision I ever made.
H: Your career is just beginning but you’ve had some major roles, what would you say is the key to success early on?
GC: For me it’s perseverance. When you make mistakes or you fail, those are the most important lessons. Failure and being able to bounce back is key because without making mistakes you’ll never learn, you’ll never grow. With failure you learn things about yourself.
H: Who are some of the people you admire most?
GC: My brothers, especially my older brother. My brothers inspired me to be better, to do better. They always supported me, they always looked out for me. They’re my biggest role models.
H: Finally, why should audiences see “War For The Planet of The Apes”?
GC: That’s easy, cause I’m in it (laughs). You would be making a mistake if you did not see this film this summer. It’s going to be, if not the best, one of the best films of the summer, I can promise you that.