HOMBRE Exclusive: MAURICIO ISLAS Tells A Cautionary Tale In Telemundo’s “El Capo”
04 Apr 2017 by Francisco Romeo in Celebrities, Event, Fame, Films, General, Home, Pleasure, Power, Profile, Stars, Television
Telemundo‘s new prime-time offering, “El Capo,” is sure to capture viewer’s attention from the very first episode. The dramatic series follows on the footsteps of successful crime thrillers like the highly rated “La Reina del Sur,” which went on to become Mexican kingpin El Chapo Guzman’s favorite program.
Airing weeknights at 10pm/9c, the action packed drama narrates the story of José Vicente Solís Armenta, a man of humble beginnings who rises to head a major international drug empire. We spoke with Award-winning Mexican actor Mauricio Islas – who gives life to El Capo – to get the complete lowdown, and discover the series’ innermost details.
Islas has an enviable career starring in several popular soap operas including “El Manantial,””El Cartel,””Pecados Ajenos,” “Amores de Mercado,” and “Prisioneras.” Now he makes his triumphant return to Telemundo in a series sure to dominate the prime-time schedule.
HOMBRE: What can you tell us about your character in “El Capo”?
Mauricio Islas: He comes from a very difficult place. He becomes a criminal because life didn’t offer him a lot of opportunities. This type of character has freedom of choice. We all have the choice to live our life in the way we choose. José Vicente Solís Armenta had to become a fighter and chose this road. Viewers will get to see if he chose the right path.
H: Is it based on real life characters?
MI: No, none. It’s a fictitious character.
H: What kind of man is he?
MI: He becomes the major criminal of all time. I say that if he had decided to be an architect he would have been the best. He is a man of character and principles, aside from his way of thinking and living. Unfortunately he uses his talent to traffic, to become a criminal, and he will pay the price in this story, and that’s something I like. It’s not an aspirational story. I don’t believe anyone would want to be El Capo because it’s going to be tough. It’s a story very well told. More than being about crime, the story talks about how because of his activities, what happens with his family, what happens with his friends, what happens with society, what happens with so many things. I see it as a story that makes you think, and think a lot.
H: How do you come to the role?
MI: It was very interesting because when they told me about this story they asked me to audition. That was the first trial. After such a long career of people seeing me a certain way this allows audiences to see me differently. This is a project different from soap operas, this is a dramatic series. Not only because of the cinematography, but also in an acting sense. This gives me the opportunity to say I can do different things. That was the first trial.
Then the second trial was when they told me I got the role. The tone is quite different. It helped that the director was the same director that directed “El Capo” in Colombia several years ago. We were clear on what we wanted to do.
Another important challenge was the fact that Marlon Moreno did such a great job in the original Capo. I have to work so that my character is different than his. It was about competing with a story already told that was very successful. The challenge was to do an original character with its own essence, its own style.
H: Why was it important for you to do this role?
MI: It was an interesting challenge because it got me to do different things since the casting. I appreciate the people who hired me and gave me the opportunity to do something new and for audiences to see me doing something different. It’s also going to be great for Telemundo. They do a great job telling these kinds of stories. This is a very different story than “El Chema” and “El Señor de los Cielos” (two popular Telemundo crime series). It’s a similar story told from another angle. It’s great for all.
H: Do you think audiences will find similarities between El Capo and El Chapo Guzman or Pablo Escobar?
MI: Yes and no. Yes because none of these characters have ended well, and I’m talking since Al Capone. History has shown us how these characters end up. El Capo has a little bit of all of them. He’s a character with a lot of power, he gets it through crime. He’s someone nobody knew existed. His problems begin when a reporter makes his story public. There are many people like that. Criminals you just don’t know about. It’s a story not told through his opulence, but rather through his personal relationships. And what happens with his family for having made the decisions he made. Now we see what are the consequences. In this story it will be very clear.
H: Why do you think these characters become heroes for some audiences?
MI: These stories never end well. I think for some they are aspirational, but I don’t think “El Capo” is aspirational. This has become a new genre. I believe people now have an option other than melodramas and that’s why these stories are popular. There is a lot of responsibility in telling these stories because they are tough stories and stories of real life. This story is well told, entertaining and there will be times when people love and hate this character because of what he does, what he says.
H: How did you go about capturing the essence of this character?
MI: When you have power there are many who pretend and like to show it, but if you really have power you don’t have to say it. There are many who go by image, getting the flashiest cars. El Capo is not about image. He just says this is who I am without showing it. That was my approach and the director liked it and we explored that. The power I wanted to give him comes from within. He wanted to be powerful because of what he lacks. When he was young he didn’t have anything and we’ll learn what makes him choose this path. It has to do with the nation, has to do with politics. We don’t say where this story takes place, could be Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela. It’s a county where hunger leads many people to take this path.
H: With all the negativity, what positive message can people learn from this series?
MI: I would like to do this interview with you on week six, after you see it. And ask you would you like to live like José Vicente Solís Armenta? It has to do with human relations, what happens to him with his wife, with his children, who’s loyal and who betrays him. He is a man with values. He’s not good, not bad. At the end of the story it leaves you with a powerful message. The beautiful thing about this story is how it’s told, how it’s filmed. Each episode has something happen and all with its own consequences. Good and bad.
H: Speaking on a persona level, you’ve accomplished so much with your career, what advice can you offer to achieve success?
MI: I’m a perfectionist and detailed oriented with my work. I’m a person who gets involved with a character very deeply. I would say if you don’t feel passion about something don’t do it. You need to have tenacity, you have to be dedicated. And if you don’t give up I can guarantee you will have work and also success. But if you have no passion there’s nothing.
H: Finally, why should audiences see this story ?
MI: Because it’s a story with a lot of depth, a lot of passion, with a lot of action, and a lot of what these genre offers. But especially the way in which it’s told and interpreted by all. It’s very complex. We have a great cast. Important actors. It gives the story a lot of weight. Ever since I said yes to this series I’ve had a lot of blessings and one of them is that it will be on Telemundo in prime-time. It gives me the chance to once again be seen in the U.S. with a very important network which is now being very successful.
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