Jacob Vargas – A Mexican In Hollywood

It seems that Mexicans are starting to garner more popularity nowadays what with the richest man in the world being Mexican and now the most beautiful woman in the world, Miss Universe, being Mexican as well. So as a proud Mexican myself I am honored to bring you one of Hollywood’s hardest working Mexicans in the entertainment industry.

Jacob Vargas, born in Michoacán, has been a working actor since the 80’s and has had minor parts in some very high profile films such as American Me, Traffic, and Jarhead and of course who can forget him in some of our favorite Latino themed favorites such as Mi Vida Loca, My Family, and Selena. The kind of films that make us proud of being frijoleros. But now the married actor and father of a six year old daughter Vargas will try to scare us in his latest film Devil. The title says it all. While in Miami to promote the film Jacob calls me in New York so that I can bring you guys in California what you need to know about el diablo.

Samara: The richest man in the world is Mexican and so is the new Miss Universe. How does it feel to be Mexican nowaways?
Jacob: Wow! Great sense of pride. It’s awesome. So now the Mexicanos are taking over. You got Machete, the first Mexican action-hero with Danny Trejo. So that’s great. I was born in Mexico, actually, I was born in Michoacán. And my parents came to the U.S. when I was a year old so I was raised in L.A. more in the valley, I was raised in Pacoima, California.

Samara: You’re from LA and you know there have been many little earthquakes lately. Do you think the big one is finally coming?
Jacob: You know what? I mean I don’t know… I’ve been through the Northridge earthquake and that was pretty big. We survived that. Do you mean the big one when they say California is going to go back into the ocean big? Oh man I don’t even wanna think about that. You know? Who knows? I really don’t know. I hope not. We still got a few more years in California. I try not to think about that.

Samara: How do you choose the movies that you are in?
Jacob: You know I’d say most of the time they kind of choose me, in a way. I just happen to be very fortunate to work with some great directors and to do some really good projects. But also, you know, to be honest with you what I really try to do with these characters is really bring dimension to the writing and different layers to it. And I think that’s what I try to bring to every character I play regardless of the project. And so I find that because of that I’ve been fortunate to be working with some really good directors and producers.

Samara: Speaking of great producers/directors tell us how it was working for M. Night Shyamalan?
Jacob: M. Night was great. I tell you. I’ve always been a fan of his films. You know The Sixth Sense blew me away, that was the most amazing film ever. I never saw the twist coming at the end. I had to watch it like five times. You know huge fan of Unbreakable, you know Signs. So when I found out that I get a chance to work with him I was really excited. And he turned out to be such a nice guy. I expected some very kind of… you know… spiritual, wise, Yoda type character. And he seemed to be just a normal, regular guy. You know? So it was awesome. And at the same time it’s great cause he lets the actor do their thing. He wasn’t really in the way at all. He cast you because I know what you can do and I’m just gonna let you go, and you do your thing. So there was no real direction.

Samara: Does he make a cameo appearance in this film?
Jacob: You know what? In this one he doesn’t. We shot a cameo with him but for some reason he just figured it was better if he cut it out. I think he didn’t want to distract from… you know… cause he didn’t direct this. He produced it and it was his idea, it was his story but he brought two new directors to interpret his ideas. He has a trilogy called The Night Chronicles. This is the first of three. So I think he didn’t want to disctract from what he was trying to do and he thought better if he just removed his cameo.

Samara: Are you a horror movie fanatic?
Jacob: (insert joke that I missed) lol I don’t know if I’m a fanatic but I am a fan and I do like horror movies. I like certain kinds of horror movies. I like like The Omen, The Seventh Sign, you know the supernatural, The Shinning. You know, those kind of horror movies.

Samara: Tell us about your latest movie Devil?
Jacob: Well, it’s a supernatual thriller about five strangers that get stuck in an elevator and one of them is the devil. My character is Ramirez who’s the security guard at the office building where the story takes place. My character is very spiritual, he has a lot of faith. Grew up very, very religious and his mother would tell him stories about the devil and the past. And so when he realizes what he’s witnessing is the phenomenon called The Devil’s Meeting, which is then documented through out time and history when the devil brings people together to torture them and take their souls. And you know he just happens to… because of his past, his background he knows this is what’s occuring. And he tries to convince everybody that the devil is in the elevator but nobody pays attention to him and they think he’s crazy and he has to really kind of find this inner strength cause he believes he can help combat the devil.

Samara: There’s never been a movie called Devil. Why do you think this movie deserves this title?
Jacob: Uhmm… whats funny is that it used to be called Elevator so I think because they didn’t want the people to go. “OK, the twist is that is the devil.” They wanted people to know of the bat look it’s the devil. This is about the devil there’s no question that the story is about the devil. And whatever you think the devil is.

Samara: Do you believe in the devil and hell?
Jacob: I do. And you know I was brought up Catholic so I have to believe in it. I grew up in a very religious family. You know hence the name Jacob. My whole family has biblical names. We all went to bible school and the whole thing. Now do I believe that it’s a man in a red cape with horns? No. But I do believe there is some evil in the world and there is a dark force. And we have to fight that with positivity and bring light to it.

Samara: There are people on the net that claim that many of todays big famous artists are devil worshippers. Do you believe that?
Jacob: You know what. I don’t believe they’re devil worshippers. I do believe that there are like secret socities if that’s what they mean. It’s like fraternaties and what have you. You have all these people in power with a lot of power and money and they kind of want to hang out with people with power and money and they form these secret societies to… I do believe in that. And if that’s what they mean devil worshipping? You know? Is money the devil? There’s so many ways to interpret that.

Samara: Should we believe everything the media tells us?
Jacob: Oh of course not. No I think there’s always three sides of the story. There’s his, hers, and the thruth. You know and I think the media has an agenda. The media has a certain goal in mind and so they do the angle they wanna do and there’s so many levels and layers to the truth. Then its our job to look beyond and not just take information at face value.

Samara: What are your thoughts on fame?
Jacob: Oh wow! It’s a funny thing. I think it can be a great tool if it’s used in a positive way. Like a lot of people use their fame and celebrity to do great things. To raise awareness to causes and to bring awareness to situations. Like people raising money for Haiti, which is great. And then there’s other people that just abuse it. So, I think with anything there is good and there’s bad. Power can be used in many different ways.