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Luis Guzmán Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 28 August 1956Cayey, Puerto Rico
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Actor of Puerto Rican descent who made many memorable films in the 1980s due to his villainous persona. Presently resides with his wife and many kids in Vermont.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

Spouse (1)

Angelita Galarza-Guzman (1985 - present) (5 children)

Trade Mark (2)

His wolf-man like face
He often plays a cop or a villains' sidekick

Trivia (12)

Frequently cast by film director Steven Soderbergh.
Frequently cast by film director Paul Thomas Anderson.
Last name is pronounced gooz-MAHN.
Born in Puerto Rico, but grew up in the East Village section of Manhattan, in New York City. In an interview, he explained that his mother traveled to New York fifteen minutes after his birth.
He was a social worker, working especially with young people. He also was very involved with his community, arranging events, before becoming an actor.
Formerly of Cabot, VT, now resides elsewhere in the "Northeast Kingdom" area of the state.
He and Chuck Zito are the only actors to appear in both Carlito's Way (1993) and its prequel, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power (2005).
Although he played the father of Nicholas Turturro on two episodes of NYPD Blue (1993), he is in fact only five years older than Turturro.
He prefers his first name pronounced LOO-ee.
Performed in several spots for Cabot Cheese, which is based near where he lives in Cabot, Vermont, living the life of a gentleman farmer.
Was considered for the role of Willie Lopez in Ghost (1990).
In the show Community, he is portrayed as a former student of Greendale. Ironically he attended City College the rival school of Greendale.

Personal Quotes (10)

My all time favorite actor is Marlon Brando. I admired how effortless and how real he was in his performance in On the Waterfront (1954)." To me, he wasn't acting. He was living the role. And that's what I admire about good acting. It's real.
Leading men crash and burn. Character actors are around forever.
Never thought about pursuing acting as a career. Back then we were mainly performing at block parties. It was a labor of love and it was a lot of fun. The best I thought I could do was maybe make a few extra bucks on the side. All I really wanted was to earn enough to buy myself a used car so I could drive out to Orchard Beach at the weekend. This whole thing is a complete fluke.
I've become, like, this farmer. I live on the top of a mountain and I look out at the birds fighting over the bird table instead of guys fighting over a parking space. It's about as far from my old neighborhood as you can get. But you know what they say: you can take the kid out of the Lower East Side but you can't take the Lower East Side out of the kid.
(On getting involved in Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)) I got a call from Freddy [Rodríguez]. He said, "I'm doing this movie in Chicago, and I'd like to know if you would like to do a cameo in it." I go, "Yeah, bro, anything to support you, you're a good buddy of mine." So they sent me the scene-originally it was this scene involving the priest. So I read it, and then we got into a whole conversation, and I said, "It's okay, but I think when a priest shows up to somebody's house, there needs to be more of an impact there. So we need to just beef up the scene, make it worth my while." We talked and I gave him my notes. About a week later, I get a phone call. They said, "Hey man, would you mind checking out the part of Johnny?" I go, "Oh my God, this is right down my alley." Everybody has a cousin Johnny in their family. Everyone has that older cousin who wishes he were still young, and he looks out for all the younger siblings and cousins and stuff like that. I just dug the whole premise of the script, and they were compiling a really great cast of actors. I said, "Oh man, I'd love to be a part of this." I showed up and my whole thing was, "I want to be a part of this family." Pretty much that's how I approached it, and I got so much love from it, and gave so much love back to it. It's one of those projects that I was totally proud of. Not just because I was making a Latin movie about a Latin family, but because I was making a good movie, a good story, a universal story that could apply to any family in any corner of this country or the world, for that matter, because we always come together, the family at least once a year, or once every couple of years.
(On making Q&A) I had done a movie for Sidney Lumet called Family Business (1989). I had only one scene in that movie, and my scene was with Dustin Hoffman. In that one scene, I grew up like, 10 years in the business. Dustin taught me a lot. I learned a lot about my instincts. Sidney Lumet came up to me and said, "Look, I'm putting another movie together, and there might be a little something for you." At the time I was doing one, two, maybe three days' worth of work on movies. When he told me that, I thought, "Oh man, maybe I'll get four days this time." And it ended up being that role. I absolutely consumed myself in it. I worked with some great actors-Charlie Dutton and Armand Assante, Nick Nolte, and Timothy Hutton, working with the genius of Sidney Lumet. I grew up a lot. I learned a lot. I always showed up prepared, but always with the intention of, "What can I learn today? When I did Q&A, I used to do ride-along, where you ride in the squad car and you actually go out for eight hours. You sit in the squad car and you hear everything that goes on in the squad car, what comes in over the talkie. You go into different situations, and you experience them. So this way when you show up to a movie set, you're not acting a cop, but you're living a cop, because you understand some of the psychology involved, the lingo, the attitude, the personality, how you deal with people, how people deal with you, how people react to you, how you react to people. For me, it was absolutely a learning experience, so I benefited from that, because when I show up on set, I know what my attitude is. It's not something I have to make up. I experienced it, I lived it.
(On Carlito's Way (1993) & Carlito's Way: Rise to Power (2005)) Well, I don't think you can really compare (them), because one, you're working with Sean Penn and Al Pacino, and it was a different kind of movie than the prequel-and mind you, I play two different characters. In Carlito's Way, I play Pachanga, which was Pacino's main sidekick. That for me was such a great movie, because it captured that quote-unquote "criminal element" of someone just trying to make it [who] gets sucked right back into it, and you can't trust nobody. Johnny Leguizamo was in there too, and it was a great story about a guy from the neighborhood who just couldn't get out of it. Then in the prequel, Jay Hernandez played the young Carlito, and I was this guy, Nacho Reyes, who was this Cuban guy who was into Santería and is an assassin and a coke-head, but it was a different movie. I don't think it was nowhere near the level that Carlito's Way was. But for me, anyway, it was just one of those roles where I saturated myself with it and just went for it. It's like jumping off a building without a parachute, but I'm having enough confidence that I'm going to land.
(On The Brave) You know, that movie was never released. It was Johnny [Depp]'s first stab at directing. I play his main nemesis in that movie. I love Johnny. Johnny's a great guy. I had fun working side-by-side with him. It's a struggle, man. It's a struggle to be as young as he was and be directing a movie like that and just trying to make it all work. He was trying his own path to it. [It was] the first movie I had ever been in with Marlon Brando, except I never got to meet Marlon on the set. But just knowing I got to work on a movie with one of my idols was awesome. It was work, you know? I just put myself into that role, being the most badass motherfucker that I could be. That's how I approach it. The thing about some of these characters, it's like you've got to really fucking go for it. You have to strip yourself of everything and just go for it. Whether it's being a cop, whether it's being somebody's sidekick, there are certain elements to those characters that you've got to bring all this stuff to the table. It's something I'm really proud of. I don't think I've played the same role twice in a movie. When I show up it's, "Okay, it's a fresh slate." To my credit, I grew up on the Lower East Side. Where I grew up, it looked like a bomb hit that neighborhood. I grew up with every single element, good and bad-you want to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly, I got all of that, so my life was always my reference to different characters that I've played. So when I did that movie with Johnny, The Brave, it was a guy [who] just didn't give a fuck who he was. He just went for it, "I'm badder than you." I don't think about that, I just do it.
(On Boogie Nights (1997)) _Paul Thomas Anderson_ sent me that script. It sat in my office for six months. One day I walk in and I go, "I've got to clean this place up, what a mess." I had piles and piles of scripts and papers. I got to the bottom of the pile and I said, "Oh, wow, Boogie Nights. All right, let me check it out." Because I'm sorting and seeing what I'm throwing away and what's going into the fireplace. I sat down and I started to read the script. I kept reading it, and I read the whole thing in one reading. I was blown away at how well the story was written, how eloquent it was. It was an incredible story. I called him up, and I said, "Dude, I just read your script. Blew me away!" Because he captured that era so well, the characters were so amazingly well-written, the whole storyline and all that stuff. So I had this conversation with him, and I think I was in my mid-30s, so I ask him, "Dude, how old are you?" And he says [Makes mumbling noise.] and I go, "44? Oh, okay." And he says, "No, no, I'm 24." There was a silence on the phone, and he goes, "You there? You okay?" I go, "Dude, 24 years old, and you captured that era so well?" I said, "Oh my goodness." So I signed onto it. It was probably one of the most amazing experiences, shooting that movie, especially that whole opening sequence. It's just one long camera take. Just seeing Paul's passion for it and everything, and all the cats who were involved in it. Of course, I didn't know who half of the people were that I was working with, I might have seen this guy or this girl, but for the most part, I was just blended into this awesome group of people. It was an amazing experience, he shot it so well. We became so tight on that movie. He showed me a rough cut of that movie. I'm walking out, and he goes, "What do you think?" I go, "Oh, I don't know, man, I don't know, I've got to think about it." Because when I first saw it, it was shocking. It blew me away. It messed up my senses. After a couple of days, I said, "Bro, you got an amazing movie here." That's a tribute to Paul, because when you see a movie like that, it takes a while to sink in. You've really got to process it. You know you just saw something special. Sometimes you see a movie and you say, "It's great." But this movie had so many different avenues going on, and so many different story lines and things just weaving out of each other. And my question to Paul was, "Are they gonna let you release this movie, bro?" Because it was shocking. But it was shocking because there was so much truthfulness. This is the industry. But it wasn't a movie about pornography. It was a movie about the people that make those movies, and their story, and the stuff that they go through. I was so proud of him, of the cast of that movie and of how well that movie turned out. I thought that movie should have gotten an Academy Award nomination, because it was one of the best movies to have come around of that genre, maybe the only one of its kind.
(On landing his role in Oz (1997)) It's funny, because the first year Oz came on the air, so many of my friends were telling me about it, "You've gotta watch this show, you've gotta watch this show." So one of my friends sent me three episodes of it, and I watched it. I called my agent and I said, "Bro, you've got to get me on this show." My agent tells me, "Nobody's getting paid to do this show." I said, "I don't care that nobody's getting paid, it's a great show, man." I called Tom Fontana and I said, "Tom, please, put me on the show, [give me] anything." I did three years of it, and it was a great experience. We had the best cast in the world. Everybody was really working together. The story lines that were coming out were mind-boggling. It was like a quilt: You got the white supremacist, the Muslim, the Latinos, the Italians, the gays, you got this, you got that, you got the prison guards. It made for such great storytelling. It was like a prison soap opera that was so well-conceived and put together. And again it was one of those things that I was fortunate to have found.

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