Thursday, September 18, 2014

THE STRAIN's Pedro Miguel Arce injects diversity into Hollywood - By Brian J. Patterson

Pedro Miguel Arce - Photo by PeaceAlpha 9

When you look at Pedro Miguel Arce's IMDb page, not only do you see a decade and a half of great work, but you also see a variety of job titles: Actor, producer, editor, director, writer, cinematographer, and stuntman. It's no wonder he has seen consistent work in this business. His many hats prove how motivated, committed, and talented he truly is. Because that's exactly what it takes to stay working in Hollywood.
Recently, he finished a handful of episodes on FX's THE STRAIN, and I was able to catch him for a brief chat where he told me about his career, the show, and diversity in Hollywood. This interview, along with many others, will all be apart of my campaign to highlight some of the vast array of diverse talent from which Hollywood has to choose.

Screen Capture from How I Met Your Mother

How long have you been acting? 
About 13-14 years.  

Where did you study? 
EVN Studios, the Berg Institute. I even did some work at Groundlings. 

What got you started acting? 
I actually got started as a fluke at university. I loved it and just kept on going with it. 

Is there any actor you feel most influenced by? 
Well, when I was younger, I saw a movie called Necessary Roughness. In it, Peter Navy (Tuiasosopo) played a character named Manumana. I remember being struck with how much alike we looked, and it was inspiring because I hadn't seen many guys who looked like me on TV. It was then that I knew (via his example) that I could do something like acting, and whaddaya know...I did. It was a really inspiring moment. I'll never forget it. 

Wow. That's really awesome. Did you ever get to meet him? 
Although I haven't had the pleasure of working with him, I did meet him.
It was a few years into me working as an actor. We both have similar looks and backgrounds so get called for similar roles. I had been auditioning for a role on an NBC show called Hawaii Blue. It was down to he and I, and we both went in for testing. It was a pretty surreal moment because here was the guy that inspired me to do what I am doing, and I'm up for the same role. He ended up getting the role, but I was really honored to be considered with him. 

Pedro Miguel Arce & Miguel Gomez on set of The Strain - Photo by Kirk McCoy

You are working on THE STRAIN, which is a story based on a comic book. Are you into comic books or sci fi at all? 
I actually used read some X-Factor and G.I. Joe, etc. but stepped away from comics for a while. I recently returned a bit and got into a few including The Strain. I've always been in love with the art of comics. I'm even working on my first self published comic book. 

That's fantastic! When can we look out for this? 
Hopefully by the end of the year or beginning of next year. I've had a really great time working with some very talented people on this project. It's definitely rekindled my love with the art of comics. I think people will enjoy it. 

Pedro Miguel Arce & Miguel Gomez on set of The Strain - Photo by Kirk McCoy

How has it been working on THE STRAIN? 
Man, it's been a dream come true. I loved working on that project. I'm a fan of graphic novels, and it was so cool being apart of something which you were able to see things come to life from the book. Y'know, there was even a point where I stopped reading things so that everything which happened on set was a surprise for me, and I could really enjoy it. And although I haven't had the pleasure of working directly with Guillermo Del Toro, he has been present on set a few times when I was working...The care and attention to detail is very clear and evident. He is definitely passionate about this project.

I couldn't help but notice that you did stunts and Martial Arts. What styles did you study? 
I studied Judo as a kid, did a little boxing, but mostly gravitated towards Jeet Kun Do, which is an adaptive style and has roots in Wing Chun. A style which, if you go by legend, was created by a 90 year old nun who taught it to a woman so that she could defend herself against a warlord. 

What do you feel is your most underrated or underused skill as an actor?
Well, a lot of the parts I play are considered a 'dude' or a tough guy. I feel like my soft side is underrated and underused. That's yet another thing that is so great about working on THE STRAIN. There is often a lightness and a brotherly love in my scenes with Miguel Gomez. 

Pedro Miguel Arce and Miguel Gomez on set of The Strain - Photo by Kirk McCoy 

I wrote an article on diversity in Hollywood. Some of the stats were quite alarming. Do you notice a lack of diversity in Hollywood at all? 
I did [read it], and I think that the market is definitely changing for the better. A lot of this has to do with the evolution of the marketplace and what people are putting into it, and every market is different. We are seeing more diverse casting in leads slowly but surely. The numbers are definitely changing, and I feel are always in flux as society evolves. This trend of diversity began a long time ago, and I'm happy to say that while filming Land Of The Dead, I was able to work with George Romero, who was one of the first people to award a lead role to a black man. We're definitely seeing more and more diversity in entertainment, and I believe that it will do nothing but continue. Especially in the North American market, where we are the biggest consumers of film. Our example has really begun to set a precedent and open up other markets for more diverse casts. 

Screen capture from Kidnap Capital - Photo courtesy of Boris Mojsovski

I really like your perspective on this topic. Do you have any upcoming projects for which we can look? 
Yes, I'm working on a film called Kidnap Capital. I believe that the project should be out late this year or early next year. In it, I play one of many unlucky migrant hostages. I was reluctant at first, but now both my manager and I are both very excited for it. In the film, you get to see an almost scared child vulnerability from my character. There is a lot of cowering, hiding, and crying which he does, and it's so refreshing to get to flex those emotional muscles. Additionally, it permits me to be apart of a potential catalyst for opening up conversation about a topic that could have possible positive societal effects. 

That's really amazing. Thanks for your time, Pedro. It's a pleasure talking with you. 

Pedro Miguel Arce is just one of so many multifaceted Hollywood talents. I'm really grateful that I had the chance to chat with him for a bit, and I can't wait to see where he goes next. With his current trajectory, I know it's only going to be up! Everyone please keep a look out for Pedro's next project KIDNAP CAPITAL. I predict that this has the potential to be an even bigger break for him.

Brian J. Patterson is an actor, writer, producer, and Wonder Woman and Xena fanboy who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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