Luis Gerardo Méndez talks about Mark Wahlberg, stereotypes in Hollywood and “Me Time”, his new movie on Netflix | INTERVIEW | SKIP-INTRO

The name of Luis Gerardo Mendez rose to fame in 2013 when he was part of “Nosotros los nobles”, the Mexican adaptation starring Gonzalo Vega of “El gran calavera” directed by Luis Buñuel in 1949. His portrayal of an immature and wasteful son in this film earned him a nomination for the 2014 Ariel awards and it can be said that from that moment on, his career has been on the rise.

Currently, he is one of the few Mexican actors to have made the leap to Hollywood and after a long line of productions, among which the Latin ones “Club de Cuervos”, “Cantinflas”, “Narcos: México”, or the Hollywood ones stand out. “Charlie’s Angels”, “Murder Mystery”, the 40-year-old actor is currently promoting “Me Time”, the comedy starring Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg that arrives on Netflix on August 26.

Mark Wahlberg, Regina Hall, and Kevin Hart in a scene from “Me Time.” Photo: Netflix / SAEED ADYANI/NETFLIX © 2022

About this upcoming premiere and his career, we spoke briefly with Luis Gerardo Méndez, via Zoom.

-If there is a constant theme that you talk about when you refer to the evolution of your career, it is knowing how to see your name as a brand and being clear about what you wanted to associate that brand with. Was Hollywood always a target on this path?

I think the idea and the dream of working not only in Hollywood but also in other countries was always there. I have always considered myself a very curious actor about how movies and series are made and how they work outside of Mexico. Without a doubt, the United States and the Hollywood industry is a place with many resources and talent. It is exciting to be able to work here hand in hand with talents who have been great references for me as an actor. “Boogie Knights” is one of my favorite movies and doing camera tests with Mark Wahlberg for “Me Time” was absolutely surreal. They are great gifts that this profession has.

Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from "Personal time".
Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from “Me Time.” / SAEED ADYANI/NETFLIX © 2022

-How was the topic of typecasting in Hollywood for you, what difficulties did you run into or are you running into right now?

I’ve tried to be very careful with the kind of characters I play. For me representation is a very important issue. Representation today in Hollywood is not about having a Latino actor and actress in your movie or in your television series, it goes beyond that: it has to do with helping to dismantle stereotypes. For example, in “Me Time”, I get to play a millionaire Mexican businessman who has a foundation to protect the environment and turtles. He is that type of character that you have never seen in Hollywood and that helps to break down these archetypes. These characters usually catch my attention.

Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Luis Gerardo Mendez in a scene from "murder mystery".
Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Luis Gerardo Mendez in a scene from “Murder Mystery.”

-Are you still doing castings or is it useful to be Jennifer Aniston’s friend now?

No no, I’m still doing some auditions (laughs). For example, “Me Time” was an offer that came to me from the director (John Hamburg) who had seen my movie “Half Brothers”. I think at the end of the day relationships help, but your work is what makes people know you and what kind of actor you are and what you’re looking for. That is either your best or worst cover letter, depending on what you do.

Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Rio, in a scene from "Step Brothers".
Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Rio, in a scene from “Half Brothers”. / AP Agency

-In your work on television, dramas like “Narcos” stand out, for example, but in movies, especially from Hollywood, comedy. What does each genre bring you?

I think I’ve done a bit of everything. The last thing I did on Netflix was “Narcos” and that series is probably the darkest and hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in front of a television camera. This character is a police officer from Ciudad Juárez who has to discover the case of the dead women in Juárez, which is one of the most painful things that has happened in our country. So, I try to alternate between them, it also depends a bit on what I’m looking for at each moment as an actor, and comedy is undoubtedly a place where I feel very comfortable and that I really enjoy doing, but generally it’s the stories, not regardless of whether it’s comedy or drama. In other words, the stories are the ones that call me.

Luis Gerardo Mendez in "Narcos-Mexico".
Luis Gerardo Mendez in “Narcos-Mexico”.

-Finally, why watch “Me Time” on Netflix?

I think it’s a very funny film, very surreal, crazy about what “me time” means, how to give ourselves time for ourselves at a time when we are overwhelmed by the demands of society. Now we have to be more productive, be more informed, be more aware… Anyway! Everything is we have, we have and we have. Suddenly it is important to have these spaces to disconnect and have time for oneself, to listen and reconnect.

Luis Gerardo Méndez as Armando in a scene from "Personal time".
Luis Gerardo Méndez as Armando in a scene from “Me Time”. / Saeed Adyani/Netflix © 2022

GIVEN

“Me Time” premieres on Netflix on August 22, 2022

While his wife and kids are away, a househusband (Kevin Hart) finds he has free time for the first time in years. So he decides to spend a wild weekend with his former best friend (Mark Wahlberg) that almost turns his life upside down.

"Personal time" premieres on Netflix on August 22, 2022

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