Interview: Taylor Zakhar Perez on Latin Representation, the Wedding Cake and Baring All in ‘Red, Whit… – AwardsWatch

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Taylor Zakhar Perez does not take his status as a celebrity lightly. “I’m a blue collar kid in an extraordinary circumstance in Los Angeles,” much like Alex Claremont Diaz, the character he plays in Prime Video’s Red, White & Royal Blue. The star of Netflix’s The Kissing Both series of films is fully aware of the state of Latin representation in Hollywood, which hopes to improve with his new production company. “19% of the United States is Latin, but it’s not represented in TV and film,” says the actor. “It’s crazy, because Latin-led shows are some of the most-watched globally on streamers. It’s disappointing to see.”

As he talks about the state of the Latin community in America, Perez becomes more visibly excited; it’s clear that playing the son of the President of the United States (Uma Thurman) in Matthew López’s adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s bestselling novel spoke to him as a mixed-race American (his background is of Mexican, Middle Eastern, and European heritage). “Side note,” he says, his eyes widening and his speech becoming more considered, emphasizing every word: “The GDP of Latin people in the United States, it’s fifth in the world – like, more than the United Kingdom, more than India… Taking on this project, there were multiple issues we were dealing with.”

It’s clear from talking to him that Perez is a passionate person. He’s just as fired up about Red, White & Royal Blue‘s R rating as he is about Latin representation on screen: “In America, you can point-blank shoot somebody on screen and get a PG-13 rating…. That was a tough pill to swallow when we got that rating.” After baring all on Scandal and Minx, sex on screen doesn’t scare him, but Perez is emphatic about the importance of privacy onset when it comes time to film a sex scene. “Our closed sets were so closed, like nobody was able to see these images or videos before they were onscreen… I’m very grateful [that] Amazon dealt with those moments in such a high security way.”

In my conversation with him, Perez shared stories from the set (shooting the opening wedding cake disaster took two days) as well as insight into how the rehearsal process helped shape the film, and what kinds of stories he wants to tell in the future. [Note: this interview was conducted ahead of the announcement of the RW&RB sequel]

Watch full interview below.

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