I hope people are ready to see a dramatic side of George Lopez no one was ever expecting! In George Lopez new movie, Spare Parts, a film based on the true tale of four young high school students (some even undocumented immigrants) having to deal with the harsh environment around them, only to find themselves banding together in the most inspirational underdog story of their lives.
Moviepilot.com recently had the privileged honor to speak with comedian, TV legend and film star George Lopez about his breakout dramatic performance in the new movie Spare Parts. This two-part interview will cover all aspects of our conversation that lasted quite some time thanks to Mr. Lopez who was so gracious enough to give us ample time for all of your bustling questions.
In the second part of the interview we have many other intriguing insights on George's life and current events around the world. We also got to talk about Hispanic's roles in Hollywood, George Lopez the person, his views on Hollywood comedy and a very MARVELous studio he would LOVE to work with!
A man known for his outstanding comedy and for being a pioneer for many other latinos and comedians alike in the Hollywood TV industry. There is a plethora more to the soul of George Lopez the actor and he's ready to show the entire world! ORALE!!!
Moviepilot's George Lopez Interview:
Hola Señor Lopez, como estamos esté dia?
George: "Good, good"
Alright George, this story is by far one of the most inspirational tales of struggle and perseverance I've ever even heard about! I know the story mainly comes from the famous Wired News article by Joshua Davis. How did you first hear of this riveting story?
George: "You know what's crazy about Josh Davis, this guy (He wrote the article) he saw a sort of article....actually not an article but just a two or three line thing about this high school winning. So he called the teacher, just to basically ask them 'How has it been, has the phone been ringing off the hook?' and the teacher (Fredi) goes 'Ah, actually you're the first call that I've gotten!'"
George: "And then Josh is like 'Oh'...like that! Like you just did!
'Wait a minute (still speaking as Fredi), not only news wires and television shows not called. I haven't even received many congratulations from parents and from people in general!'"
That is unbelievable!
George: "Yeah, as he (Joshua) put it 'That's not gonna fly!'. So he (Josh) wrote the article and then I think he had a friend that worked at Nightline when George Stephanopoulos was there and they did a piece about the school, the young men and the competition. That changed everything."
That is great to hear that Josh took the steps needed to get these boys their proper due respect. It was some great work indeed!
George: "You know Robotics is a tremendously successful popular thing in schools, collages and competitions all over the world! So those kids become engineers and just know things at an earlier age."
Right, absolutely! The skill level of these young men already is just astounding to hear about.
George: "I was just telling somebody about when I went to visit the school, I was in the room where they put the robots together. There was a small frame thing maybe the size of a normal round coffee table and it had four motors on the corners...very early early stuff. The teacher says to me 'That's the one that is going to compete in August against the WORLD! Different countries and different collages from the world and we came in eighth last year and I think we can win this year.' These kids are just in HIGH SCHOOL!"
That is some serious smarts right there!
George: "All of this comes from that area in town in Phoenix, where they fix cars across the street and sell tires. It's just not what you would imagine this kind of place to find gems of intelligent kids like this to be located"
George: "When we went to screen the movie at the school, when we were leaving the security guard had to unlock the doors to let us out. Doors with like a big pad lock and chain!
So basically in the "Barrios" are the mean streets? This is the environment these kids have to deal with?
George: "Yeah, the barrios! They locked the school! So when you got that. A lock and chain and all those other elements and you know you have brilliance in there. All those kids have something to offer. So with this all around them it would make these guys feel a little strange, so they ended up together with robots and they built a bond. Like when I met these guys (the real life boys the movie is inspired on) I asked them if they got along? They were like 'Eh we got along...we were not the closest of friends but we did get along as a team. We felt more as a team then as buddies"
George: "When I see them there is an emotion I have to anyone that wants to do something and reach their dreams and they know it's not going to be easy but they set out to do something and it's not going to be simple but it's what I want to do. When I was working at night in a factory, I had told my supervisor that I wanted to get transferred during the day cause I wanted to be a comedian. He said "I understand, I always wanted to be in a band....even tho I never played an instrument I never got to do that." So him understanding another man chase his dreams stuck with me and I'll never forget that.
Yeah if you never try to chase that dream, it's never going to happen.
George: "Yeah absolutely"
Well, I was going to save this for the very end but now that you bring up chasing dreams I wanted you to know why I really feel so strong about this movie and it's message. I feel like I'm the perfect person to review this movie because I myself come from a Hispanic background. I also grew up in poverty with not a lot and a big family. I am actually a high school drop out...
So for me to start blogging six months ago to get to this point where I am talking to George Lopez on the phone...
George: "That's pretty amazing!"
So, I love these kinds of inspirational stories. I never thought it would happen to me. To see such an amazing movie like this really means a lot to me and I know it will mean a whole lot to many generations of young hispanic (and non hispanic) children a like.
George: "Did you cry at the movie?"
You know what, I won't lie. There are two points in the movie that really got to me and it all came from you.
George: (Audible: Gasp)
One was the scene between you and Esai Morales (La Bamba) who plays the alcoholic father of one of the boys who does not believe in his son and tries to keep him down. Then this loving caring teacher played by you, George, comes walking in and has this visceral heated argument with a (drunk Mexican of all things) man who wants nothing to do with him believing or encouraging in HIS OWN son! So for me, the whole dealing with a Hispanic alcoholic father, for a time, I knew just how that all felt.
Overall the dramatic performance that you and Esai Morales pulled off in that scene, for a Mexican person this is how I felt: It was like watching the Mexican version of Christopher Walken and Anthony Hopkins going at it back and forth in their classic scene in True Romance. The acting was powerfully riveting to the very core and I could truly feel it!
George: (modest chuckle) Wow, that's amazing, well thank you.
George: Let me tell you about that scene. When we were shooting it Shawn says 'I think we have it but now what I want you to do is...I want you to go at him ya know, just go at him'.
You know, I was totally waiting for the fist to start flying, man.
George: There was some more heated stuff.
George: Oh yeah! He (Esai) actually grabbed me and THREW me out of the house! It just goes to show that where we actually got in the movie, the temperature is good. It wasn't profane and it stayed well in the intensity of the scene. Then his speech of 'Is this what you want to be? Is this what you want to be his father? You want to do this and you want to know this, your wife'. That speech if you look at my face and I had to turn away.
I could see that (laughing).
George: (laughing) Me too! Then walking across the street that was another one where it's like.....'MAN!'" (blows out steam)
Now, the other scene that really got to me was when you were talking to Marisa Tomei (Gwen) and telling her your background story. I was like, Whoa! Man, this is some SERIOUS acting skill!
George: That's another one! Why is he...you know in that first scene with Jamie Lee Curtis and you're wondering why would Mr. Stability do this? Then you find it out at the end that he was running from himself and then he met these kids.
Well just those two scenes and the performance you gave in them... it really astounded me, George! They all really touched me close to home and your work was just amazing acting from you. If I was on set those days I would have given you high-fives as soon as you finished (laughing)!
George: (Laughing) Great! Haha...thank you very much!
In looking up the producers for this movie I was surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis was not one but you were?
Now who made the final decision to cast you as Fredi?
George: Well, when it was presented to me that if I wanted to make this film, it would be easier for me to play Fredi.
I want to touch base on how your character (Fredie Cameron) in the movie is based on TWO real life people. How difficult was your character in the movie to develope with that being the case?
George: Yeah, Dr. Cameron. Allan Cameron and then Fredi Lajvardi. Well, the parts were already there on who these guys are and they kind of are a lot alike in the regards that they are very compassionate and inspiring to the students. I wanted to make sure people didn't see George Lopez the comedian or from my show and stuff. So I kinda changed and let my hair go gray, grew some facial hair...I kinda kept it internal you know. When I'm acting with somebody my eyes stay right there on them...I was in every part of this movie
It was funny because his daughter (Dr. Cameron) said to Allan, "George Lopez isn't half the man you are". (laughing)
George: It was great! These teachers, these guys are so amazingly intelligent! One of the funniest things was when we were doing a walking scene to the hardware store. The real life Fredi go over to the directors chair and says...
"I don't know...I don't know about that."
Sean (The Director), is like, "What, what you mean?"
"That, that's a long shot."
Sean is like, "I know."
"I don't walk as cool as George walks. I don't walk like that...I couldn't walk like that."
Well George, I want to thank you for talking to me about Spare Parts the movie. Like I said, I am really in love with this film as one of the best not only hispanic underdog inspirational films ever. In the same class as Stand and Deliver, and Gridiron Gang. That's how far my outlook for this movie goes. Those films made HUGE stars out of names like Edward James Olmos and The Rock, so I truly wish you the best from and for this movie, George. I will fully do my best to pass the word around and campaign for this film, I feel that good about it and mostly your outstanding work involved in it.
Goerge: Thank you, thank you. I would love to see this film do as well as those great people you just mentioned.
Well, fellow George Lopez and movie fans alike, we come to the end of Part One in the George Lopez: Spare Parts interview. Please be sure to come back for the second installment with Moviepilot.com's exclusive interview with Mr. Lopez!
Also I will be doing an article on the REAL LIFE people behind the true story of the movie Spare Parts. Look for my other articles on Moviepilot by following me at the top!