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Miss Congeniality 2 - Enrique Murciano Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q: Where is your family from?
A:
Cuba and I was born in Miami.

Q: Your claim to fame is that you can change a tyre in one minute 19 seconds?
A:
That’s true. I have a love for old and exotic cars and they break down a lot. In order to really enjoy them you have to get good with them. If you plan on spending a Saturday afternoon with a girl you are crazy about and you are going to go for a drive along the coast in your convertible then the chances are your tyre is going to go, the radiator is going to blow.

Q: Doesn’t it ruin the date if you have to get all dirty changing a tyre?
A:
They love it. Ask any woman in the room - how sexy is it when their guy is all sweaty and has oil all over his face.

Q: How about being the sensitive guy in the movie?
A:
It was treat being able to play a guy who isn’t the tough guy. It was nice to play the sweet, innocent guy and let other people do the crazy stuff.

Q: And you don’t play an obvious Latino role in this movie?
A:
You don’t want to limit yourself - you want to grow. You want to be able to play all those roles. I love what guys like Denzel Washington and Andy Garcia have done. They have crossed the line.
Denzel plays the same roles that Tom Cruise would. Hopefully, 20 years from now, we will be talking about my 18th movie. To just play the same thing over and over would be scary. People expect me to be the Latino. So in this film to play a role like Jeff Foreman who is a small town sweet guy was fun. So hopefully people will think this is a cool change.

Q: Is there a showbiz background to your family?
A:
As a kid I grew up around music, my uncle started The Miami Sound Machine in the 1970s. And my family was always very close with Andy Garcia, so as his career was growing I had the opportunity to be around and share that excitement. But although I was always an entertainer I never thought of myself as an actor. I played music and whenever I had the chance to perform live I would. But it was always for my pleasure for myself than a career choice. I play piano, guitar and drums...I love it.
If I was better I would be a rock star. I never had plans to be an actor, I was in law school, I was engaged I was about to get married, lease a BMW and send my kids to school. And I was ready to do it until I was miserable for six months. It was a dark winter in Boston.
Then I went to a bar and as I was having a bowl of soup it hit me! It was as clear as day - got to LA and be an actor. I heard a voice and the next day I sold my car, dropped out of law school and went to Los Angeles. Now seven years later I’m still here.

Q: When you did Speed 2 and were on the set for six months for one line did it seem like you’d made a mistake?
A:
It was a helluva line....’I took my pants off.’.. [laughs] No I never thought that I’d made the wrong decision. I don’t know if it was faith or being naive but I always knew that things would work out. I still feel that now. It’s not like I’ve made it but I hope I will continue to grow and have opportunities like those I’ve had.

Q: You have worked with Andy Garcia in his directorial debut on Lost City, what was that like?
A:
Knowing him when I was young was different to sitting with him in a tobacco field at 3am, it’s raining and the cameras are rolling...you are doing a scene; you’re holding each other and crying! It was a dream come true. To look at a call sheet that said ... Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Enrique Murciano! It was an absolute treat.
The movie takes place in Cuba in the 1950s and tells the story of two brothers - one takes a conservative approach to revolution, the other follows Castro and Che. I play the second character. It tells the story of what the revolution cost a lot of families.
I think Andy Garcia has done a great job at telling an honest story and illustrating how much was lost. It is daring for me to say this but it is the Cuban version of The Godfather. It’s a big movie. The acting is impeccable. I’ve never seen Bill Murray be this good and I love him, he is one of my favourites.

Q: Have you been to Cuba?
A
: No I won’t go until the time is right for me to go. My family lost everything years ago. It’s a very touchy topic with myself. It would be hard for me to go and enjoy the rum and cigars and be able to ignore that there are people who live a miserable existence. But I would love to go, I dream of Cuba every day.

Q: You said your family lost everything?
A:
My mom moved to Johnston City, Tennessee in 1960 with eight sisters and $9. It was tough. It was about losing your history and identity.

Q: When did you do that Cuban movie?
A:
At the same time as this. I did this, the Cuban movie and my TV show all at the same time. I didn’t speak for three months after that. It was difficult but at the same time it was like being a fisherman who goes out and the fish are biting and you have the thrill and excitement that keeps you going. As an actor to play three different roles in three movies that I am so proud of was marvelous. If the fish are biting you keep pulling them in the boat. Think about being tired afterwards.

Q: You worked with Sandra on Speed 2, is she still the same person today?
A:
I think the reason Sandy is so successful is because she’s Sandy... period. I don’t think she has ever let success or the way people perceive her change who she is. There is a reason why people love seeing her movies...it’s because you go to see Sandy and it’s like seeing an old friend. You hope that friend won’t change and I haven’t seen her change one little bit.
People think of her as the girl next door - my neighbour doesn’t look like Sandra Bullock! Neither is she a producing power house like Sandra. Nor does she have the comedic skill or timing or chops as an actress to achieve the things that Sandra Bullock does.

Q: Is Sandra funny all the time during filming and was it hard to stop yourself laughing?
A:
Every day. It was very difficult to keep a straight face. But I learned a lot from her, not just about the acting but as a human being.

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