It would strike many as odd for a film director to consider Johnny Depp and Carrot Top for the same role -- which is exactly why "Jane The Virgin" star Jaime Camil recently used the two actors in an analogy that perfectly illustrates Hollywood's Latino problem.
“Jane” fans know Camil as telenovela star Rogelio de la Vega, Jane’s hardly humble but well-meaning estranged father. Despite being a new face on prime time, the 41-year-old Mexican actor has actually been a real-life telenovela star for Spanish-speaking audiences in the United States for over two decades.
As one of Spanish-language television’s biggest stars currently working in a crossover role, Camil says he’s noticed how out of touch Hollywood is with Latino audiences. The actor recently spoke to Latina magazine on the industry's issues when it comes to typecasting Latino actors and used two unlikely American stars to illustrate how studio executives continue to miss the mark.
“Hollywood, they make up these Latinos because they have a certain physical type or a certain name or whatever… It’s not that easy,” Camil told the magazine, noting that there are numerous nationalities that comprise the Latino community. “It’s like me wanting to do a movie with an American actor and I say, ‘Hey listen, I have either Johnny Depp or Carrot Top.’ You’ll go, ‘Dude are you fucking insane? Are you really putting those guys in the same category?’ And my answer would be, ‘Well, yes, they’re both Americans and they both do films.’ That’s kind of a way to explain. There are different categories of Latinos.”
In the interview with the magazine, the actor also expanded on whether Hollywood has changed it's views on Latino talent in recent years.
“I think we’re getting there,” Camil added. “The executives and the heads of studio, they’re kind of getting it. I have to say they haven’t gotten it yet 100 percent. They don’t understand that the 50 million Latinos living in this country, they already have household names and they already have celebrities that they love that they follow and they support and they adore.”
And Camil is certainly one of those Latino stars he’s referencing. After the Mexican star made a guest appearance on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” in 2013, he was quick to note in an interview with La Opinion that his role had prompted a ratings boost for the episode.
“The 50 million plus Latinos living in this country, they watch Univision, they watch Telemundo -- they already have household names,” Camil told Latina magazine. “I don’t know why the networks or the studios like to gamble or experiment — putting Latinos that are not really followed or known by this huge minority. I don’t think that makes any sense.”
Head over to Latina.com to read more from the interview.