No sex, no violence and no rivalry with Banderas: Andy Garcia, the Latino icon who can dominate Hollywood

Early in Andy García’s career (Havana, Cuba, 67), a casting director wanted to check whether he was strong enough for a role and asked him to take off his shirt. “Take it off first,” the actor replied before leaving the room. If she were an actress, this would be the last anecdote of her career, but a man can stand up for his integrity without fear of reprisal. Garcia had the opportunity to develop a career in which she remained true to her principles and never exposed her body or acted in a sex scene. “I don’t want to go that route,” he told reporter Monica Garza bluntly.That didn’t stop him from becoming a gender symbols Despite himself.

In the mid-eighties, Garcia was expected to have a career similar to that of Robert De Niro. However, 40 years later, this prediction has not come true. Although his status as an actor was blessed by Coppola or De Palma, in recent years he has found himself involved in projects that were disproportionate to his talents and diluted among ensemble casts.Proof of that decline is that the star has been involved in some of the highest-grossing projects since the 2015 trilogy ocean 11 (2001-2008), yes geostorm (2017) anyone chihuahua in beverly hills (2008).Or that his most acclaimed recent role was in the Latin version father of the bride Teaming up with Gloria Estefan (premiering on HBO Max), he shows off a comedic look we’re not used to.It will premiere in 2023 and will be the fourth installment of the series mercenaries, A new adventure for the band from action movie’s past glory days, led by Sylvester Stallone.

Part of Hollywood’s Latin aristocracy: Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan when Gloria received her star in 1993 Estefan is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Galella Collection Rum via Getty

For someone who has become the most important Latin actor since Anthony Quinn and has maintained a perfect balance between independent and popular films for a decade, this situation would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Contrary to usual, his career was not cemented. Despite Garcia’s Latin passion and extremely dangerous appearance, he never succeeded. Why didn’t he become the next De Niro or Pacino? ” he asked. protector.

I don’t even dare to buy cigars

Andrés Arturo García Menéndez (full name Andrés Arturo García Menéndez), due to his opposition to dictatorship The leader of Fulgencio Batista’s revolution and the rise of Fidel Castro, he was just 5 years old when his family left Cuba and took refuge in the United States. His mother was an English teacher and his father was a prominent lawyer who owned an avocado plantation in the city of Bejucar. That privileged estate and a house facing the sea in an upscale neighborhood of Havana were the scenes of his childhood, until he suddenly found himself living in a one-room house with his parents, siblings and grandmother . The once wealthy family arrived in Miami Beach with only $300 and a box of cigars. They start from scratch.

“We didn’t even have enough money to buy gifts for the kids that first Christmas,” admits the actor’s mother, Amelie Garcia. “But the children never heard us complaining about what we had lost, only our longing to return.” A constant longing in the actor’s life, which is reflected in his projects as a director: Guillermo Cabrera for example Script by Guillermo Cabrera Infante lost city (2005), a long-standing project with Inés Sastre, Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman, dedicated to A love song to the Cuba they yearn for, just like a documentary Cachao…no two people have the same rhythm as him (1993), about the musician Cacho who also immigrated to Cuba.

Andy Garcia performed with his band The Cineson All Stars at Catalina Jazz Club (Los Angeles) in June 2023.Harmony Gerber (Getty Images)

Garcia’s first passion in the United States was basketball, and he was planning to pursue a professional career until acute hepatitis caused by mononucleosis kept him in dry dock for a year. He eventually chose an acting career, although his father would have preferred him to run the family business. “My parents came from the generation of actors like Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant. I’m sure they loved me very much, but they also thought: My son is not Humphrey Bogart, ” he joked. New York Times. Luckily, he had a small role in the pilot episode. hill street sad song (1981), Steven Bochko’s masterpiece, changed the police franchise forever.

If more recently famous actors like Pedro Pascal still lament how difficult it was for him to escape the Latino criminal cliché in the first place, we can imagine what this meant back in the eighties. Not only does Andy Garcia not want to be a stereotype, he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed either. “When I started, they only offered me gang members. “I didn’t study Latin acting, I studied Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams,” he told the casting director at last year’s Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. Said in tribute to his career.

After seeing that he is a villain Eight million ways to die (1986), Brian De Palma Call him Frank Nitti, the elegant killer “The Untouchables” by Eliot Ness (1987) Who, to Vertigo (1958) Hitchcock’s “Fly” culminates in one of the most iconic scenes in film. “He’s mean, tough, cunning. We think (when we see Eight million…): “Wow, what a great killer!” he said. people Producer Art Linson. But Garcia had another wish, a more interesting role, and one that was against the law. “I told him I wanted to play a cop and he looked at me like I was a Martian.” He aspired to be like George Stone, a precision shooter of Italian descent, and he achieved that goal. De Palma’s film received four Oscar nominations, critical support and respectable box office numbers.He goes from one legendary movie producer and the Mafia to another famous writer Ridley Scott and the gangsters black rain (1989), another popular success, and as Richard Gere’s counterpart in “Richard Gere” dirty things (1990), a role written specifically for him. However, just as he prepares, another Italian character appears that will change his life. When no one was talking about cultural appropriation, Garcia came to the cinema. If Russian-born Natalie Wood can play Puerto Rican Maria and John Wayne can play Genghis Khan, why can’t a Cuban play Corleone’s heir?

In 1995, Andy Garcia was unveiled with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Galella Rum, Ltd. (Galella Collection Rum via Getty)

When there were rumors that Francis Ford Coppola was preparing The Godfather: Part Three (1990), half the Hollywood cast tried to sneak into it. Garcia pressured his agent to eventually compete with Alec Baldwin, Val Kilmer, and Charlie Sheen for the role of Vincent Mancini, who played Michael Corleone The reckless nephew, he is not only the nominal heir to the mafia empire, but may even be the heir to the future part four. There have been rumors for years.

For this performance, he received his first and only Oscar nomination, but the film did not live up to expectations.Failed to displace No. 1 at the box office when it premiered home alone (1990) and the reviews were not very flattering. Winona Ryder dropped out of the project at the last minute, and her role – that of Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter and the romantic interest of Garcia’s character – fell to the inexperienced director’s daughter, Sofia Coppola superior.

Andy Garcia may not have held up an Oscar, but he did hold this puppy at a charity gala in California in 2001. Alexander Sibaja (Getty Images)

After working with the most relevant directors, Garcia became a star, but lacked a decisive push.Appear in Not dead yet (1991), Kenneth Branagh’s supernatural conspiracy and comedy unexpected hero Stephen Frears’ films were popular but did not cement his career.On top of that, he picked too many failed projects: this cliche-filled thriller Jennifer 8 (1992), romantic drama When a man falls in love with a woman (1994), in which he was the devoted husband of an alcoholic woman played by Meg Ryan, when no one wanted to see America Smile get drunk and beat her daughter, or Things to do in Denver when you die (1995), Little Gems Not going It could have been a classic, but no one knew how to sell it. No one was in pain, but neither was banging on the table. He headlined the poster, there were no clichés, and his Latin was irrelevant in the script, but his career went into an induced coma until Soderbergh rescued him from it. Ocean’s Eleven.

Garcia realized his personality might be difficult to get along with. “Just by my nature, I tend to swim against the tide and feel comfortable,” he said.religious beliefs and conservative political ideas, he told in 2010 Weekly Country: “How many times have I heard from producers ‘Andy, sex sells!'” I don’t doubt it, but it sells to others. Another reason why he was reluctant to perform sex scenes was that he believed it would mean a lack of respect for his wife, María Victoria Lorido, with whom he had a romantic relationship in 1975 (María Victoria Lorido) and he proposed to her the same day. “Some of the guys had known each other for a while and there was a friendship first, but when we met that night it was clear that she was the woman in my life,” he told us people. “I didn’t want it to get away.” Seven years later, they were married, had four children and became one of the strongest couples in Hollywood. “For me, marriage is like a religion, you have to practice it and be faithful.” He said family was the center of his life, which led to him losing the role. If a project made it difficult for him to be with his children, he would say no: “I’m a dad and this is my first priority.”

Andy Garcia and Antonio Banderas attend the 1994 Los Angeles Charity Gala.Galella Collection Rum via Getty

This steadfastness was evident in a bizarre dispute with Antonio Banderas that took place in the pages of this newspaper in the early nineties.The man from Malaga made some statements country of the week In it, he said that Garcia was an immigrant “who didn’t want to be an immigrant, he wanted to be American (in the sense of being American).” The words reached Garcia, but were distorted by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. In a letter to the director, the author reminded Banderas of his first major role in Hollywood, The Mambo King plays a love song (1992), who came to him after Garcia refused to appear in the film – the same thing happened again in Two is a lot (1995), in this case due to a date issue – although the main reason for his anger was that Cubans were called immigrants rather than exiles.

“It’s strange that Banderas, who has had his fair share of success in Hollywood, persists in defaming Andy Garcia time and time again. Your repeated protests sound less like an actual actor and more like An attack on a well-known asset of the industry.” Banderas apologized in a separate open letter, praising the actor who “through his work and private life has been an integral part of Latino culture, both here in the United States and abroad. One of the greatest supporters”) and expressed a desire to work together one day. While that hasn’t happened yet, the careers of the two mambo kings still have a long way to go.

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