Maximiliano Hernandez – Warrior

September 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Not even a dislocated ankle could keep actor Maximiliano Hernández away from the set of “Warrior,” a sports drama following two estranged brothers fighting in the same Mixed Martial Arts tournament.

In the film, Hernández, 38, plays Colt Boyd, a trainer watching the development of one of the brothers who shows up at a local gym to get into shape. Prior to “Warrior,” Hernández starred in film such as “Pride and Glory” in 2008 and “Thor” earlier this year.

During an interview with me, Hernández talked about some of the misconceptions people might have of “Warrior” and what he learned from a doctor after dislocating his ankle two weeks before production.

I thought “The Help” was going to end up being the feel-good movie of the year until I saw “Warrior.”

Yeah, it’s touching a lot of people. When my family and I went to see the film, there were people walking out of the theater sobbing. I know it’s an emotional film, but I think it catches people off guard because they see this movie about fighting called “Warrior.” It seems to have this tough exterior. I think people have been pleasantly surprised how much heart it has.

Is there anything in the film you think will specifically attract Latino audiences?

There is a lot about the importance of family and togetherness. There is a message about treasuring the family you have. There are also certain religious aspects to it like the prodigal son returning and Cain and Abel influences. We didn’t expect that to come through, but they’re stories that are repeated through generations. I think a lot of Latinos will pick up on that and have a visceral and emotional experience.

Did you spend anytime prior to shooting in a gym like the one in the film?

Yeah, I did. I’ve been doing Thai boxing for a long time. We trained at a place in Pittsburgh before the film began. On the first day, I’m kicking a pad and I completely dislocate my ankle. It looked mutilated. This was the first day! I reached down and popped it back in. They took me to the hospital and they found out I had a bunch of hairline fractures from all the years of Thai boxing.

How long before the movie started shooting did this happen?

Two weeks! I was worried I was going to have to walk around with a cane for the movie. My foot was in a cast. I didn’t train anymore after that. I got to watch everyone else work out while I sat back eating ice cream in front of them.

Did you know a lot about Mixed Martial Arts before you joined the cast?

I did. I’m a huge UFC fan. I’ve actually been to a bunch of fights in Las Vegas. I love MMA. I really respect the sport. People try to bring it down by saying it’s human cockfighting, but it’s the absolute opposite. These guys are trained machines. They have to mix several forms of fighting into a cohesive motion. It’s a physical chess game.

What about other combat sports?

I love boxing. I would watch the fights with my dad. That’s where the real love of the game came from. Every time there is a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight we’re right there watching it on Pay Per View.

Do you have a prediction for the Mayweather Vs. Ortiz fight this weekend? Note: This interview with Hernández took place before the Sept. 17 bout between Mayweather and Ortiz.

Ortiz has a lot of heart and I pray that he wins, but I don’t think he will. Mayweather is at a different level. I think what Ortiz has going for him is that he has nothing to lose. To be honest, no one wants to see these little fights. We all know the fight we want to really see is Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao. That’s the one we’re all waiting for.

Do you think it will happen or is there just too much politicking going on?

I think it’s mostly politics. I desperately hope it happens. Right now, Pacquiao is the best pound-for-pound fighter. I think he is at his peak. But Mayweather is asking for a ridiculous amount of money. It’s not even about the love of the game anymore for Mayweather.

How do you think you’d fare fighting in the octagon?

(Laughs) I can tell you right now, I’d put my hands up and someone would take me down and tap me out in 14 seconds.

Vanessa Martinez – Warrior

September 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Actress Vanessa Martínez, 32, earned her first movie role in the 1996 Academy Award-nominated film “Lone Star” directed and written by John Sayles and starring Chris Cooper and Matthew McConaughey. Sayles would become an instrumental part of her career, casting her twice more for the dramas “Limbo” in 1999 and “Casa de los Babys” in 2003.

After earning a few TV roles in shows including “ER,” “Castle,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” Martínez landed a role in the 2011 sports drama “Warrior.” The film stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as Tommy and Brendan Conlon, two estranged brothers fighting in the same Mixed Martial Arts tournament. In the film, Martínez plays Pilar Fernández, the widow of a U.S. solider who served with Tommy in the Middle East.

During an interview with me, Martínez talked about the beauty behind a film like “Warrior” and how a great screenplay makes all the difference in the world to an actress like her.

How did you get involved with this film?

I did it the traditional way and went in for an audition. I got a call back and met with the director (Gavin O’Connor). It’s a beautiful part. I think it’s nice to play a character that happens to be Latina as opposed to the other way around. I got the chance to read the script when I went into the audition. I hadn’t read a script like that in a very long time. It was very exciting because I grew up watching “Rocky” and fighting movies. It was really an honor to be a part of this movie.

One of the things that surprised me about “Warrior” is that you really don’t have to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts to enjoy the film. Did you know much about MMA before landing this role?

No, I did not actually. Like you just said, what’s great about the movie is that it hits so many demographics. You don’t have to be an MMA fan. You don’t have to be a guy to like the movie. We just had the premiere in L.A. and I heard the movie actually scored higher with female audiences than it did with male audiences. I think it’s fascinating they ended up with a chick flick without knowing it.

Your character has some very emotional scenes. What did you have to do to get into that mindset?

I always say that when the writing is good, the work is done for me. I just have to be present and listen. In this case, I thought the writing was excellent. Even though the role was small, it was really well developed. It was easy to just show up and do my job.

In most fight films, there is always a good guy and a bad guy battling it out, but in “Warrior” it’s a little different. It’s hard to decide who to root for. Did you feel the same way when you read the script?

You know, I think what’s so beautiful about this film is that you’re rooting for both of them for very different reasons. I think that’s what’s so unique about this film. I didn’t go in choosing one man over the other. I think that’s why the last fight is so wonderful. You really feel every punch.

How were you emotionally when you saw the film for the first time?

I was a mess. I couldn’t breathe after watching the scene in the hotel room between Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. I haven’t seen a scene that beautiful in a really long time. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience when I left the theater.

What are you looking for when it comes to future roles?

As an actor you want to play characters with depth and emotion. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to do good work. I would love to be a part of wonderful projects. The opportunity to work is always something to look forward to. It’s a passion that doesn’t go away overnight. Even when it’s really tough, you can’t lose sight of your goals and what you want to accomplish. Hopefully, I’ll land roles I can be proud of.