Michael Peña on Narcos: Mexico
WE CAN ENJOY YOUR WORK IN DIVERSE FAYRE LIKE ANT-MAN, MY LITTLE PONY AND NARCOS: MEXICO. WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS?
I read a script as an audience member. My son is 10 years old, but before he was born, I’d watch these dramas that really made me happy. Then I started watching movies with my kid and there’s something special about seeing him react and the joy he gets. He isn’t a cynic – he just hopes the movie’s good.
WE’RE THE SAME!
Exactly! I don’t know many people who go off to make a film and go, “I just want this movie to be OK.” So I’d watch things with my kid and I went, “I want to be part of those movies!” I started talking to my agent, saying: “What about these kinds of movies?” And my agent is going: “The guy from End of Watch? Yeah, he wants to do Marvel and animation…”
AND NOW NARCOS: MEXICO…
I finished End of Watch and the producer, Eric Newman, pitched Narcos to me, and I went, “OK, a police officer? I’d need to see how different it is.” After he pitched it, I knew I shouldn’t have pre-judgements about any part. It’s starting in a fresh new place, and it was attractive to be starting Narcos off in a completely different area, location and time. It’s like it’s a new show.
HOW HAS TV CHANGED SO MUCH?
A lot of it has to do with YouTube. You’re competing against real crime, where videos are two or three minutes long. If kids see it in real life, then acting and storylines have to be more real. Or there are shows like Westworld and Game of Thrones where it’s fantasy with a sense of reality. It’s different to the eighties and nineties, where it was entertaining but not as real – more soap opera, glossy and entertaining. I don’t know if that would play now. Entertainment is changing.
Narcos: Mexico is on Netflix from 16 November