Cultural diversity in Hollywood has slowly been improving through the years while dealing with big challenges like the recent #OscarSoWhite controversy. In a time when society is still debating the concept of equality, those still considered the "minority" have become a major success. In the Latino and Hispanic community one underdog that has battled his way to stardom is Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez.
The Latino star is a blessing to our eyes, demonstrating on screen the captivating formality and love of culture that is true to the Latino persona. Through roles like Roberto Duran from Hands of Stone, Tony Miranne from Joy and Simón Bolívar from The Liberator, Ramírez’s devotion and honor to his roots is communicated to audiences who might not yet consider a Latino star a reality. He's ushering Hollywood to a new frontier, one that hasn’t been explored since the days when John Wayne rode his horse to prominence.
Édgar Ramírez Is The Liberator
The Liberator told the story of South America’s greatest hero, brought to life through the performance of Édgar Ramírez. The 2013 film not only focused on Simón Bolívar’s hope for a unified Gran Colombia, but also on the real life matter that Latinos and Hispanics in the film industry need liberation and leadership. Édgar Ramírez didn't just act as El Libertador; he is liberating and leading the Latino and Hispanic community in Hollywood himself, rebuilding the stepping stones that have decayed over years. The implication is significant, since there was once an era in which Latino and Hispanic actors not only prospered at home, but had large impact in America.
Actors like Chris-pin Martin who instilled the Mexican way into his numerous western roles, were among the pillars that gave rise to Latino prominence in Hollywood. As time went on and stereotypes brought into prominence the Latino characterization most known in American movies today -- the comic relief -- the Latino and Hispanic actor was diminished.
Recently, more Latinos and Hispanics have dominated the screen, with actors like Benicio del Toro, Cheech Marin, John Leguizamo and Antonio Banderas becoming popular. It hasn’t been until recently, however, that we have truly seen the Latino star take the spotlight. Édgar Ramírez is the protagonist of this story. The man who portrayed Simón Bolívar, a hero who eradicated colonial ideology from South America and defeated the Spanish Empire in a quest for independence, is the same man who is now putting forth a change in Hollywood, restructuring the beams of support that Latino and Hispanic actors built in the past.
Joy, And The Impact Of Édgar Ramírez
Here is a man from Venezuela, who when placed besides big Hollywood names like Jennifer Lawrence, steals the show with perfection. 2015’s Joy, directed by David O. Russell, was a masterpiece. A biopic about businesswoman and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, the film tackles the values of family and loyalty, depicted through the performance of Jennifer Lawrence. Though Lawrence once again demonstrated why she is one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, it is undoubtedly the supporting act of Édgar Ramírez as Tony that catapulted Joy to high critical praise.
Ramírez’s Latin flavor mingles itself perfectly with the otherwise white cast, juxtaposing the importance of culture and diversity all throughout the movie. His character is like a flower in a garden. While the garden serves as Jennifer Lawrence’s character’s family, Ramírez is the flower that grows out of adversity, and eventually motivates the other flowers in the garden to bloom. Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro are one of these blooming flowers. Both in the performance and the story itself, Ramírez and his character were the secret ingredient, the special sazón, that added impeccable taste to the magnificent dish that was Joy.
Changing The Game
We are now seeing Édgar Ramírez taking on lead roles alongside Hollywood heavy-hitters like Matthew McConaughey in Gold. In his role as legendary boxer Roberto Duran in Hands of Stone, and as antagonist Bodhi in 2015’s Point Break, he proved once again that Latinos and Hispanic actors don’t only serve for the typical stereotypical role of a comedian. He played the part of Greek god, Ares, in 2012’s Wrath of the Titans and later this year will star alongside Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett and Luke Evans in The Girl on the Train. Ramírez is destined to rise among the stars and become a Hollywood icon, and I believe that it is undoubtedly him, that will once again put Latinos and Hispanics in Hollywood back on top.
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Édgar Ramírez and Matthew McConaughey are in search for Gold in this new trailer: