Alfonso Herrera, ‘Javi’ in ‘Ozark’, reflects his debut in the last season

The ending weighs heavily on Mexican actor Alfonso Herrera. The unease comes not from aging or global catastrophes, but from sharing with the world the latest season of Netflix’s popular crime drama, “ozarks” released on Friday.

“I was a huge fan of the show before I auditioned, so to be a part of the final season of a series that I’ve enjoyed so much weighs heavily on me,” Herrera told NBC News in an interview from Mexico City.

Herrera plays Javi Elizondro, Omar Navarro’s nephew and the new head of the Navarro cartel, who throws a wrench into the cartel and Marty and Wendy Byrde’s (Jason Bateman and Wendy Byrde’s) well-oiled money laundering and heroin distribution machine. Laura Linney) in the show’s fourth and final season.

Javi is as charming as he is menacing. He is also more fickle and ruthless than his uncle Omar, posing a more significant threat to the Byrdes. This business school graduate will stop at nothing to rise to the top of the cartel, even if it means dispatching civilians.

Image: Alfonso Herrera as Javi and Felix Solis as Omar Navarro in a scene from "Ozarks."
Alfonso Herrera as Javi and Felix Solis as Omar Navarro in a scene from “Ozark.”Netflix

“The episodes are so well written that the interesting thing is that they do not go through the clichés [of the drug world]. You can see very interesting nuances of Javi that make him funny and make him a guy who likes to live in the present and never lies,” said Herrera. “If he doesn’t like you, he’ll let you know very directly. way, which is, I would say, a positive thing.

The fact that Herrera is prolific should no longer be news. A relentlessly curious actor, he has earned both praise and some disapproval for rejecting labels. He could easily have become, or rather, stayed, a soap opera heartthrob. Featured in the movie “Dance of the 41,” based on a real-life political scandal in Mexico, he has used the opportunities given to him to work in as wide a variety of fields as possible.

From plays in Mexico City to audio series like “Batman Unearthed” on Spotify, Herrera has made a meal of confusing her critics and thrilling her fans. Moving to Hollywood and North American television is not a surprise, but that it took until 2021 to get a series regular is.

Herrera has been acting professionally since 2002 and started in the telenovela “Clase 406”. From there, she began landing steady television work in Mexico City, including on the Latin American phenomenon “Rebelde.”

In 2015, he immersed himself in the North American television landscape with the science fiction series “Sens8”.

But with “Ozark” he enters his first leading role in the US, one that required him to dig into his years of acting and build the character beyond what was on the page, working closely with the producer and writer Chris Mundy.

“His philosophy was to give me certain clues and thoughts and ideas of how the writers room saw him,” Herrera said. the character moved the story or as part of the story, and then I could discuss what I can bring to him or to my life or other characters I’ve done.”

This role of Javi came at the end of 2020, at a time when everyone was forced to re-evaluate what they wanted for themselves, professionally and personally. Herrera was ready, not only to take on a role of the magnitude of Javi, but for Hollywood to see the fruits of his years of work.

“What you find in life right now is because you are ready for it. It’s because you can handle the situation, the show, the story. I think that the amount of things that I have lived made me who I am now, it could fit in Javi in ​​a positive way”, said Herrera.

He added that he is very proud of the fact that “Ozark” has challenged his limits as an actor, which is inextricable from his personality. “Although my creative self and my social self are somewhat separate, I try to be present and be an open channel for my creativity, my instincts and strong stories.”

What would a young Herrera say about a future that saw him link up with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars?

“He might not believe it. Laura Linney is one of my favorite movie stars. She is one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, and I always saw her as this giant,” said the actor, adding that when he returned to Mexico, his respect and admiration for her grew “three times more” because of how much she he cared about his co-stars no matter how long they had been on the show.

Jason Bateman as Martin 'Marty' Byrde, Alfonso Herrera as Javi in ​​an episode of "Ozarks."
Jason Bateman as Martin ‘Marty’ Byrde, Alfonso Herrera as Javi in ​​an episode of “Ozark.”Steve Dietl/Netflix

Herrera has grappled with the importance of participating in a high-profile series. Of course, he has been proud to be a part of the series from the moment he accepted the role, but a lot has changed since then, both for him personally and in the world around him. He has made him think more deeply about the path he is carving out.

“I think that what Latinos are doing right now and giving to the Hollywood industry is something very important. And I have to congratulate many actors and actresses who have made things a little easier, like Demián Bichir”, said Herrera. “He started working in the United States a long time ago and has made things easier for Latinos. actors today. Because at that time, it was a little more difficult. And at this point, we have more possibilities”.

‘It’s also about a purpose’

Herrera acknowledges that there is a risk in having to assert his skills and experiences as a Latino actor. This friction is one that many actors encounter at some point in their careers as they navigate the contours of the broader entertainment industry.

However, there is an undeniable catharsis in seeing an artist like Herrera lucidly communicate these complexities.

“Us [Latinos] they are an asset, but I don’t want to position my work only in Hollywood or only in Latin America. All of us who work in this industry are people who are committed and focused on telling a story in the best possible way,” he said. “I’m always open to strong stories.”

This is certainly the case for his next project, Zack Snyder’s sci-fi fantasy “Rebel Moon” opposite Corey Stoll, Charlie Hunnam and Djimon Hounsou.

While acting found Herrera when he was about to embark on an aviation career, it has transformed his desire to tell strong stories into a powerful message that inspires other Latinos.

“It’s also about purpose,” he said. At the end of this interview, it is clear that Herrera has found his purpose, and that his path to Hollywood will be well worn.

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