The MEXICO Report
Written by Susie Albin-Najera
Well into its fifth season on Showtime, Weeds continues to be one of the most popular and provocative shows on television today. I am fairly new to the hit series, Weeds. But the first time I watched it a few months back, I finally understood what all the hype was about. I was instantly hooked, not because I related to the ‘weed’ part of it (really!), but because of the fascinating fusion between both worlds, Mexico and America, and the cross-cultural relationships that are explored and exposed.
Creator, producer and writer Jenji Kohan, whose impressive television credits include writing for Tracy Ullman, Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls just to name a few, creatively intertwines both worlds this season in a relatable, likeable and comical way. As far as character development and casting, the creator clearly did her homework and brought the best Latino talent to the show and continues to do so, seamlessly portraying the Latino and Anglo experience so effortlessly. But she is sure to keep one thing the focal point: familia.
Kate del Castillo currently stars as the powerful and sexy ‘Pilar Zuazo’:
Q: I love watching your character on Weeds. What was it like when you got the role?
A: I really wasn’t expecting it at all, I couldn’t audition ’cause I was flying back from Paris (shooting L’Oreal Paris campaign), so I really didn’t think I had a chance. When they told me I was so excited I almost hung up on my manager!!
Q: Did you know the character would be so well-received?
A: In a way I knew, just because the show is so great that they really know what they’re doing, plus…it’s the first time we see Nancy being threatened by a woman, I think that was kind of interesting!
Q: What is the most fun thing about working on Weeds?
A: The chit-chats with Mary-Louise!!! Actually everything…everyone there is just unbelievably amazing and nice! I also loved getting to say those very bad words in Spanish PINCHE GRINGA PUTA…honestly, I mean c’mon, only WEEDS!
Q: Nancy wants you dead. Will you die? I hope not.
A: Well…you never know, it’s WEEDS, they always surprise their audience!…I hope not either!! I’m proud of playing roles like Pilar, Mexican, powerful, wealthy, classy and evil!
Enrique Castillo plays the role of Cesar, Esteban’s level-headed right hand man.
Q: What is it like playing the role of Cesar on Weeds?
A: Playing the role of Cesar is a “Killer”. Seriously though, it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s difficult because I like to smile and laugh just like everyone else. But some scenes are so darkly humorous that I do want to laugh, or at least smile but I obviously can’t. Wouldn’t be appropriate for Cesar to do that.
Q: Is the character anything like you in real life?
A: There are some elements that Cesar and I share. For example I’ve often been told that I’m a loner. Actually, there’s the scene in the elevator where the dialogue reflects a part of Cesar that is exactly like myself. Where he talks about how long he’s been married, how many children he has and what has sustained his marriage. That part of Cesar and myself are identical. When I shared that with the writer of the episode he was blown away. Then there’s what the writers on the show have adopted from my physical characteristics, what they call “The Death Stare”. Even my kids growing up would always say how all I had to do was stare at them and that would be enough to make them behave. “Gosh, Dad” they’d say, “If looks could kill”.
Q: Does Cesar want Nancy dead? Does Nancy want Cesar dead?
A: Well, I guess you’d have to ask Mary Louise Parker that. Looking at it from Cesar’s point of view I would have to say that Cesar has become more comfortable around her, less cautious. He admires her survivor skills so I gather that she’s reciprocated and has come to depend more on Cesar for her own survival. Does Cesar want Nancy dead? If he wanted her dead she’d be dead. Simple as that.
Q: Has being on the hugely successful series changed your life at all?
A: Only that I’m recognized a little more. I’m usually recognized for a role that I did in a Taylor Hackford movie. That character is very memorable and has developed quite a following among Latinos and young Latinos in particular. Now though, I’m fortunate that Cesar is also a memorable character and as a result of his being part of a mainstream show, that has added an element of recognition from a somewhat different demographic.
Q: Can you tell us what’s in store for Cesar’s future?
A: I can’t really say that I know what’s in store for Cesar. All I know is that he survives this season. I have been told by the front office that Cesar has gotten a good following among the viewers. They’ve told me that they look forward to having me back for another season. For that to be the case I feel fortunate. But one can’t actually bank on that cause there could be any number of factors that determine the character’s fate. The economy, if it makes sense that he returns and then there’s the viewers’ opinion. If Cesar does return next season and they ask me to come back and play him, I’d be honored.
Weeds can be seen on Showtime on Mondays at 10pm ET/PT. For more information visit: http://www.sho.com/site/weeds/home.do