Imagine Batman. You are seeing a powerful man in an all-black skin-tight leather suit which outlines his muscular body, a black flowing cape, and a black mask with pointy bat ears that only reveals his mouth and eyes. For years, many gentlemen have taken on this heroic role, each one giving the character a personal influence.
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter gave a new chap the opportunity to “don the figurative cape” and let’s just say that his influence on the legendary character was nothing less than unforeseen.
Mexican singer and actor Diego Boneta was part of THR’s segment of “stars reading for the parts they wish they’d landed.” Boneta stood in front of the cameras ready to portray his best Caped Crusader of his life. As he begins to read the “The Dark Knight” script, a voice more reminiscent of a raspy Nacho played by Jack Black in the 2006 comedy “Nacho Libre” and less so of the Batman played by Christian Bale, or any other actor that has played the hero, poured out of the young actor’s mouth.
Boneta didn’t even hear the accent until it was brought up to him, needless to say he was just as shocked as you and I because he speaks English without hint of a Spanish accent even though he was born in Mexico City. If you don’t believe me just rent the 2012 film “Rock of Ages” or watch the MTV series “Underemployed,” no accent.
To me it just seems like his rendition of Batman simply yearns to be from Latin America and hey I don’t blame him because, all jokes aside, it’s time for a Latin superhero, so… why don’t we play this fantasy scenario out!
Superheroes have many characteristics but while the Latino version develops, three things should count the most: being brave, an intimidating look, and an interesting past. For now, I don’t think that Boneta is quite ripe to be a hero, let’s face it, that baby face and those puppy eyes would only make villains say “awwww,” so while we wait for the 22-year-old get a bit more rugged I found three other Latinos that could rock a cape.
If the dictionary had a picture next to the word badass it would be Danny Trejo. The Mexican American actor was a young drug addict and criminal and was in and out of jail for 11 years. While in prison he won two boxing titles and completed a 12-step rehabilitation program that later on put him on a path to success. In 1985, a young man that Trejo met at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting called him for help and Trejo went to offer him support at what turned out to be the set of “Runaway Train” where he was first casted as a convict and later promoted by the director to a feature role as boxer and Eric Robert’s opponent.
Trejo’s life story not only proves that he is inspirational but that he is brave because he gathered the strength to leave the life of streets, violence and addiction and become successful man that many Latinos can look up to.
Lastly, his muscular physique covered with tattoos, his rough scared face, and combination of the long hair and mustache give him an incredibly intimidating look that would make villains think twice about messing with him.
Let me refresh your memory, Anck-Su-Namun. Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Then think back to “The Mummy” and it’s not hard to remember the mummy’s girlfriend – that’s her!
Velásquez was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She is the fifth out of six children born to her father a mestizo and her mother a member of the indigenous group, the Wayuu. Her father worked for UNESCO which allowed her to spend her childhood in Mexico and France and become fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. Velásquez also won second place for Miss Venezuela in 1989 and went on to a career in modeling strutting the catwalk for labels like Dolce & Gabbana. In 1999 she began a career in acting playing a wide range of characters like Begoña on “The L Word,” Nez on “Rescue Me” and even making an appearance on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s video for “Breaking the Girl.”
Looking at Velásquez’s background we can see that she is strong, oriented but at the same time humble. She can walk the same catwalk as Hollywood power players and isn’t afraid to represent her indigenous culture. Back in 2002 she founded the Wayúu Tayá Foundation, a non-profit that assists the indigenous group.
Lastly, she has an ethereal beauty that is counterbalanced by her piercing stoic stare that definitely makes her intimidating.
Tell me you can’t see Ben Bratt playing Batman! His father was sheet metal worker and his mother a Peruvian activist of the Quechua group and a nurse. From an early age Bratt got his activist inspiration from his mother participating in the 1969 Occupation of Alacatraz by Native Americans groups. Bratt has continued his activism through his career with projects such as the PBS mini-series about Native American history “We Shall Remain.”
Maintaining a successful showbiz career and speaking up for what you believe in is no easy feat but Bratt has been brave enough to do both well.
We also know that he can kick ass as we’ve seen in in the series “Law & Order” where he played Reynaldo Curtis, the handsome but hot headed detective. Don’t let his good looks fool you because one stern look from Bratt and villains would know that it’s game over.
So there you have it, my pick for the three Latinos that should be superheroes in films. What do you think about my three choices and who else do you think would make a great or even better Latin hero?