I haven’t seen him for months and here I am, waiting in the doorway of a church… I want to greet him as he arrives with a Mystery of the Rosary and shout, “There he is! The boy in the temple!”, which would be perfect timing if I were to shout it as my nose pokes out over the threshold. But, I won’t. Yet again, I’ll be told off for not taking things seriously. I’m not always good at controlling my sarcasm, even at the best of times, so it’s probably best to laugh alone and not offend anyone. Especially not his fans, who are loyal followers at Blog de los Angeles since the famous actor/producer Eduardo Verastegui was one of our first interviews a year ago when we first launch our page in Spanish. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to invite him back into our virtual (or should I say virtuous, thanks to him?) pages. Whatever the case, we always like chatting with Eduardo Verastegui for two reasons: his intelligence and his social conscience. After finishing his world tour with his last movie Little Boy at the beginning of 2016, his schedule has kept him very busy, with one foot in Mexico and the other in Dubai, no less. So we want to know, what’s new in the life of this multifaceted actor? We’ll let him tell us, wearing a total look by Eight Field of Freedom, on this cold winter afternoon here in Hollywood, in this exclusive feature for Blog de Los Angeles.
-Eduardo, when people hear your name they tend to say… “Oh, yeah, that actor who’s all catholic…” What do you think of being thought of that way?
– They’re only telling the truth –he says, having fun-… Though they should say “That catholic actor, because my career comes second”, he laughs-. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’m proud and thankful to be Catholic, for the Grace of God. I wouldn’t change my faith for anything, that’s why I shout it from the rooftops. It’s a question of passion, living devoted to that faith and fighting every day to become the best version of yourself and to reach your fullest potential. Every day you fall and every day you get back up. My faith is what drives me to rebuild myself after my mistakes. Without my faith I would collapse in a heartbeat. If that makes me stand out, that’s great!
– Before we look back, could you tell me what you wish for this year?
– Personally, to have a family is something I have always wanted. It’s a daily conflict: on the one hand it’s very romantic to say I will give up on my dreams and allow God’s wishes for my life to be, and there are days when your own hopes are aligned with this. But on other days, they’re not, and you rebel and ask yourself “why isn’t this happening?” When you want something beautiful, decent and good and it doesn’t happen but other things happen, that may be just as good and you say, “yes, but I want something else!” and God seems to say but this is what I’m giving you… It’s complicated. Sometimes you let go and give up, but other times you don’t and inside you have a knot, like Pope Francis says. To do God’s will doesn’t always mean that the things you want to happen, happen, even if that is hard to understand. So, I still hope to have a family. It’s a personal wish. On the spiritual side, I hope for the next year, and always, to stay close to God, and trust Him and his timing. Professionally, I hope to keep working on projects that help humanity. That every day given to me by God, I wake with the energy to help and do things with my country, Mexico, in mind, to help those most in need.
– We have seen you many times in Dubai on your Instagram. Did you lose something there?
– I finished the Little Boy tour and that took me to many countries. On the way, I met lots of special people. I had many opportunities that I never imagined before. The biggest gift this film has given me has been the chance to diversify into project on the margins of the entertainment industry. Among them, a new business I’ve started called Rancho Mexico. It’s a distribution center for Mexican agricultural produce from Mexico and Dubai for Middle Eastern countries. We’re going to start sending berries, avocados and nuts. It’s a support project with Pro-Mexico and ANIERM so that Mexican agricultural producers can sell their products in other markets. There were lots of intermediaries in the business who weren’t Mexican. They would move the produce for little money and make a large profit. This project means there can be a direct link between Mexico and Dubai, and the business stays in Mexico. That is Rancho Mexico’s objective. At the same time, thanks to this idea of facilitating exports of out produce, other business opportunities began to present themselves. I began a partnership with a group of people including Fernando Romero, one of the best contemporary Mexican architects, to build the Torre Azteca over there. It will be a building with different functions: hotel, galleries, restaurants. A prestigious Mexican presence in Dubai. This is how Legacy Construction Company came about and this will be our first project. Our dream is to open the Torre Azteca at the 2020 Expo. So, I’m jumping between L.A., Mexico City, Miami and Dubai to breathe life into all of these new projects than began to present themselves thanks to the Little Boy tour. There are things that I never imagined would happen. You hope to be successful at one thing and suddenly these bigger things that you’d never contemplated come along. It’s a mystery of life.
– I love this idea of new commitments, to see you centered in doing good things for the world, with Mexico at the forefront. Just out of curiosity… Did all of the business with Donald Trump and his view on Mexicans motivate you at all? Does this make you want to do more things for your country?
– I have always said the same thing: we are not the Latino stereotype that the American media wants people to believe… Many people in the United States are afraid of the Hispanic community because they believe we are what they see on the news, on T.V. and in movies. Every place has its good and bad sides. However, and I say this because I know them, the Hispanic community in the United States is wonderful. They are much better than what is shown about them in the media. If you focus a camera on the negative, then that is what people will believe. I can’t control what anyone says, I can only control what I do about it and that is why I fight against it every day. I work on projects that will have an impact and I make sure those projects are positive. That is what I prefer to concentrate on. The truth of the matter is that there is a new president and I pray for him every day so that he is inspired to make the right decisions. Donald Trump says: Make America Great Again. I would say to him: Let’s make America and Mexico great together, because that way everyone benefits. The Chinese have a way of interpreting the word OPPORTUNITY where you would usually read CRISIS. I’m trying to learn from them. We should look at what challenges and opportunities come out of such a moment and make them work for us. We should face new challenges instead of becoming obsessed with the problem. Talking about the problem is what brings us closer to talking about war. We have to move forward is search of the common good wherever possible.
– Another revolutionary character who has spoken out this year, in other ways, is Pope Francis.
– What moves and inspires me about this Pope is the line he is drawing in the church. With all of these unifying gestures of his around the world, Pope Francis is making us focus on what unites us, not what separates us. The concept of turning love into action, of looking after the most vulnerable among us, the most needy, all of this is very inspiring. For me, the most exciting moment of this year and the thing I most enjoyed without a shadow of a doubt in 2016, was attending mass held by Pope Francis in the Basilica de Guadalupe when he came to Mexico. For me, that was a moment of heaven on Earth.
– As well as all of your other projects outside the entertainment industry, tell me what is happening with Metanoia, your production company, after Bella and Little Boy.
– We’ll soon begin shooting two important films. The scripts are finished and pre-production will begin in January. The first is Mary, Mother of God. It’s a project I have been working on for two years with Alejandro Monteverde, Pepe Portillo and Leo Severino. The script is spectacular. It focuses on the human side of The Massacre of the Innocents story in the bible, which is something we know little about. Herod, one of the most powerful men in the world at the time, goes after the most humble of a group of families surrounded by his army. He wants to kill them but they get away. From a point of view of faith, we know what happened. But, what about the human point of view? How did they manage to do such a thing? We want to focus on the historical part. It’s an impressive adventure.
The other film is Sound of Freedom. We met Tim Ballard at a focus group. He is an ex-CIA agent and founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) in Utah. The organization is dedicated to rescuing children who have been kidnapped as part of human trafficking rackets. It’s very powerful and based on actual events. This organization has saved more lives in two years than the American government has in ten. The film is about a rescue mission in Latin America in which more children were saved in one day than had been saved in the previous ten years. There are a bunch of heroes, both American and Latino that come together to carry out the rescue. There is a lot of action, reflective moments and parts that make the viewer more conscious. The film shines a light on this tragic issue we live with. And, as is always the case with our projects, we hope that it transforms and goes from being a movie into a movement. We’ll continue with the project in Mexico as so that we can raise funds and continue with the rescue missions.
– How do you feel about spending more time in Mexico now than in L.A.?
– This has been a very important year for me. I’ve spent time with my family there, with friends; I’ve reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in years. Most importantly though, I’ve been able to work closely with my country. I’ve had the chance to work for Mexico outside of Mexico and make sure business profits stay within its borders. When we film Mary, Mother of God we are going to rebuild Jerusalem in Mexico itself. We’ll do the same for Sound of Freedom and build replicas of the places where the events took place. And this isn’t just about entertainment, it’s about other areas too: agriculture, infrastructure etcetera. I’m really enjoying being able to do things for my country.
Well, if there are so many interesting things that are keeping you away from L.A., ego te absolvo. But please come back and tell us more about your adventures, because we’ll be here waiting for you.
Photos/interview: Nunu for NUNU PICTURES
Wardrobe: Total look by EIGHT FIELD OF FREEDOM
Interview translation by Caitlin Irwin
You can follow EDUARDO VERASTEGUI IN HIS FACEBOOK PAGE
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