Yasmin Deliz – Next Day Air

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Dominican actress and host of mun2’s “The Chicas Project” stars in the new comedy “Next Day Air.”

Since you’re the one usually asking all the questions as the host of “The Chicas Project” and “Vivo,” how does it feel doing press for the movie and being on the other side?

It feels marvelous darling. I’m having such a great time. It’s fun being on the other end of the spectrum. Being the one that’s always doing the interviewing, you kind of know what the interviewer is looking for and you give it your all. Plus, it’s fun not to have to do the whole reporter-style, legs crossed, fingers intertwined kind of thing. I can let loose a little more.

How did you get involved in the film since you don’t have a background in the industry?

I knew [director] Benny Boom from a couple of years ago because he’s well known in the music-video world. When he got the script and he was casting for his movie, they couldn’t find the girl they wanted to play Chita. Benny knows I’m from New York and that I’m Dominican, so he thought of me. So he called me and asked what kind of experience I have acting. I told him, “To be quite honest with you, none.” He was like, “Well, whatever. Doesn’t matter girl. Come audition. I think this part fits you perfectly.” So, I went in and auditioned and afterwards I was so nervous I just took off and went home because I thought it was over. On my way back home they called me and asked me to come back and read for them again. I did well and got the part.

I heard they wrote your character as a brother before decided there was too much testosterone in the script.

I’m so happy they changed their mind and that Chita was not Chito. Also, I think it brought a different element to the movie because the relationship between Chita and Jesus is funny. It’s an explosive relationship. It’s a love/hate relationship. They go back and forth.

Is acting something you want to keep doing now that you’ve gotten a taste?

It would be a dream to keep acting! I’m fairly young to start a career in entertainment. Although I wasn’t expecting it, I think I caught the acting bug. I can’t say it was always in my plans, but it’s definitely in my plans now. I plan on being a working Latina actress in Hollywood for many more years to come.

What kind of challenges do you expect as a new Latina actress?

I don’t foresee challenges in my career. I expect the best. I never expect the worst. I always go in with a positive mind. I’m reading a script right now and the chick I’m reading for is not Latina. Nowadays it doesn’t matter. It’s 2009. Maybe three or four years ago if it wasn’t a Latina reading for a chola role you probably wouldn’t get the part. But now we have Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz that have paved the way for young Latina actress like me. Latinas are such a hot commodity now and will continue to be so. I hope that didn’t sound cocky. Sure, we might have to fight a little harder for the parts, but that’s okay. We have it in us.

How comfortable are you with your sexuality and are you going to let that define who you are as an actress?

I don’t ever flaunt my beauty or whatever you want to call it. I don’t walk in a room and expect anything but the respect that I deserve for my talent, not for how I look. If I were to ever read for a part where there is nudity, at this point in my career, I wouldn’t take the role because I don’t want to put myself out like that. But in the future, you never know. Right now I’m trying to establish myself as a talent in Hollywood and what I represent as a Latina, not the sexiest body in a magazine somewhere.

Next Day Air

May 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Mike Epps, Wood Harris, Donald Faison
Directed by: Benny Boom (debut)
Written by: Blair Cobbs (debut)

While its style may scream of director Benny Boom’s music-video background, which, at times, breaks up much of the clichéd narrative into ingestible doses, the new drug comedy “Next Day Air” packs some pretty light weight.

In the film, Mike Epps (“Soul Men”) and Wood Harris (“Remember the Titans”) play Brody and Gutch, two petty thieves living in Philadelphia whose lives change the moment they open the door to receive a package from a local courier service.

Donald Faison (“Scrubs”) plays Leo, a pot-smoking, laid-back delivery truck driver who works for his mother and never takes his job seriously. Even when his infuriated mother threatens to fire him, Leo still works half-heartedly, which leads to a major mistake during one of his routes.

Instead of dropping off a hefty load of cocaine sent by California drug dealer Bodega Diablo (Emilio Rivera) to his Puerto Rican contact in Philly, Leo leaves the bricks of blow in the hands of Brody and Gutch who begin to dream of a new life after they discover what’s inside the cardboard box.

“God sent that,” Brody emphatically states. “I’m getting a new Escalade.”

Unfortunately for the duo, Bodega finds out the package never made it to its rightful owner when his dealer Jesus (Cisco Reyes) and his girlfriend Chita (Yasmin Deliz) nervously let him know it went missing.

The comedy caper (filled with a lifetime supply of stereotypes) all leads to a showdown between Bodega and his crew and Brody’s drug-dealing cousin who’s interested in buying the merchandise. Mos Def does his part as a couriering co-worker of Leo’s, but Boom and company miss out on any chance to build on his character for more than a couple of scenes.

While Epps is able to hold most of his comedic scenes together without much help from anyone else, “Next Day Air” decelerates after a quick start and completely stalls when debut screenwriter Blair Cobbs decides he wants to throw an awkward life lesson into the story followed by a psychotic ending that comes out of nowhere. A drug dealer pretending to be in “Reservoir Dogs” I can scoff at, but a drug dealer with a heart of gold is a bit too much to believe even in something as bipolar as “Next Day Air.”

Cisco Reyes – Next Day Air

May 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Do you consider this a breakout role?

Sure, I do even though I’ve done other things. I’ve been praying to God for a breakout role and he brought me [the role of] Jesus in “Next Day Air.” It’s a beautiful thing and a lot of fun. It’s a really exciting time in my life right now. I’ve popped up here and there in the past but as far as a lead role in a major movie that’s going to hit 1,400 screens across the country…that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

I’m guessing your life is made up of a lot of days dedicated to auditions.

You gotta audition until you become like Tom Cruise or Denzel Washington where you start getting offered roles. I do have roles offered to me, but as far as the bigger movies you have to prove yourself in Hollywood. I have no problem with that. I consider myself a pretty talented guy. I make sure I’m always training and learning and sharpening my skills every day. I have no problem going out for the same role as 10 other dudes because I know nobody else is me. They can’t do what I do and they don’t have the same swagger. When [the character of] Jesus came around, I read the script and thought to myself, “This is me. This is Cisco without the criminal activity.” He’s from the East Coast and he’s Puerto Rican just like me. If I had to write a role for myself to step out into the scene, this would be it. I was able to bring so much of myself to the role.

Do you feel that up to this point you’ve been paying your dues in the industry and, if so, when will you know that that part of your career is behind you?

I definitely think that I have paid my dues. A lot of actors paint a picture like they got discovered overnight or that they just showed up in a film and they have arrived. I’ll be the first one to keep it real and let the public know that’s not how it happens. It’s a lot of hard work and patience. If it happens overnight it goes overnight. Nothing has happened overnight for me. I’m not going to win the lotto. You gotta pay your dues. God puts you through tests to see if you really want it. If you really want it you have to stick to it and you’ll end up making it sooner or later. You just gotta show up with your A game. When you draw in box office like Will Smith, things will get easier.

You’ve been living in L.A. for about nine years. What have you learned about the cutthroat part of the industry that you didn’t know when you first started?

Hollywood is all about relationships. When I got [to L.A.] my first audition was great and the casting director thanked me for doing such a great job and he even got great feedback from the director. The next thing you know some other guy got the part. Why? Because he was the producer’s cousin or the director’s best friend. When it comes to relationships, I like to build friendships. Then, the rest will come. There are millions of people out there. At the end of the day, who are you gonna hook up? Are you gonna hook up your boy or some stranger? Everyone’s gonna look out for their friends. I’ve learned to not get upset about things like that. It’s an element of the industry you gotta deal with. But the more friends you have, the better your chances are.

Since you’re now part of that element, will you hook up your own friends?

I won’t lie, I will. But only the ones that deserve it and that I believe in. Not all your friends have talent to be honest with you. I’m a Sagittarius so I’m gonna tell you straight up. If you can’t sing, get your butt off of “American Idol.” I’m not gonna push my friend who has a dream to become a singer if he has the voice of an alley cat. You have to look out for your own, but you have to be realistic and honest or you’re gonna end up throwing someone under the bus.

What was the chemistry like between you and Yasmin Deliz?

It was good. She’s Dominican from New York. I’m Puerto Rican from New York. We already had that East Coast flavor crackin’. It was really easy to create that chemistry. She was like the Abbott to my Costello and vice versa. It was a lot of fun. At the beginning Chita was supposed to be Chito, my brother, but the producers thought there would be too much testosterone so we needed a female to break that up. They did a great job bringing in Yasmin. I auditioned with every Latina in town and Yasmin came in with natural talent. Not to mention she is beautiful, which made it very easy to show up on set to do my scenes with her. She’s feisty and fiery and spicy in real life.