10 Things with Al Coronel
You’re from Los Angeles, where your surroundings included the influence of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. However, you didn’t start your career as an actor, until later on in life. What took you so long?
My parents. They were very adamant about me going to college and they wanted me to have what they referred to as, a “real” career. I joined the military immediately after high school and worked in the communications field during my time in the Marines. Afterward, I went back to college for communications and ultimately received my degree in Electrical Engineering, but in my heart, I had never stopped yearning to be an actor. Within a few years I established a solid career in communications but I realized that I wasn’t truly happy and I felt it was time to pursue my ultimate dream of becoming an actor. I never wanted to look back at my life and think, “what if”. So, I made the decision, a very difficult one at the time, to leave an already established career and pursue acting. I feel there’s plenty more for me to accomplish in my acting career but I have been blessed to continue building on my acting resume. Most importantly, I’m fortunate enough to have made the decision to pursue my dreams and I’m now doing what I love to do.
Which actors body of work influenced your decisions as a performer?
Tom Hanks – as a kid, I remember watching him in a TV sitcom Bosom Buddies, which was one of the funniest series I’d ever seen as a kid. I really enjoyed watching it. Then, following his career later in life when he started taking on more dramatic roles; like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Cast Away. Cast Away captivated me so much because you had this one actor for the duration of the film creating all of these private moments out of nothing, literally all by himself. There was comedy in that, but also real life emotions that came out of that, it just captivated me completely. For me, he is one of the most solid actors in the industry and I hope to one day get the opportunity to work with him.
What was your first big booking and how did you react when you finally landed the part?
One of my first bookings, what I considered to be a big booking at the time, was in the film Blow, starring Johnny Depp. Because I had been a professional salsa dancer, I was offered this role as a dancer in several scenes in the movie. For me, that was big time at that time. I made many friends and had so much fun, that it really introduced me to what it was like working on a big budget feature with such an incredible cast, whose careers I had followed for many years.
Let’s talk about your role on TNT’s The Last Ship. How did you first hear about the show and what made you decide to jump on board?
I was actually a fan of the show long before I even thought I would get an opportunity to audition for it. Having served in the military myself, I felt the show accurately represented the military and the U.S. Navy. I spent 8 years in the Marine Corps and there were a lot of customs and courtesies that were depicted in the show that brought back many fond memories of my time in the military.
On the series, you played the role of Manuel Castillo. What did you enjoy about bringing this character to life?
When I got the audition for the show, it was basically a one paragraph audition straight to camera, with casting directors Gary Zuckerbrod and Kamala Thomas in the room. When I walked into the waiting room, it was full of some very recognizable actors who had been leads on several series, and I felt like I was right where I needed to be and going in with the kind of people I needed to be up against. After I auditioned, I didn’t hear anything for weeks. So, I thought to myself, “I didn’t get it,” and moved on to the next thing. Weeks later, I got a call from my agent saying that I had been pinned for the role of Manuel Castillo and a week or two later I was offered the role. I was told it may become a recurring role and then it turned out to be a 6 episode arc. Episode 12 of Season 3 was basically my character, Manuel Castillo’s episode. I have to extend a grateful “Thank you” to the show runner and Co-creator, Steven Kane, for bestowing such an amazing opportunity upon me.
I enjoyed that Manuel Castillo was not the Latino stereotype that Hollywood has become accustomed to where Latinos are concerned, roles like the gardener or the gang banger. I got the opportunity to play someone in the position of power. An educated and distinguished individual holding a government leadership position. By the way, a very well dressed individual in some amazing suits! Hahaha
Your latest project is the film, Logan, starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. What was your experience like working on set with these seasoned actors?
Although, I didn’t get to work with Patrick Stewart, my experience working with Hugh Jackman was nothing short of amazing. Hugh was the most humble and welcoming megastar that I have had the opportunity of working with, in my acting career. I also had the opportunity to work closely with Boyd Holbrook, of Narcos fame. We became fast friends and have maintained in contact ever since.
In the film, you’re the Federale Commander Ruiz. How were you able to prepare for this role and what did you enjoy most about playing this character?
For this role, I was able to utilize my prior military experience in the Marine Corps. So, slipping on a uniform was nothing foreign to me.
What I enjoyed most, was getting a first hand look at all the behind the scenes processes it takes to make a superhero action film. It was impressive to see the incredible stunt teams working in conjunction with the amazing group of actors to create an action packed story. Another highlight, was having the opportunity to work with director James Mangold, who directed two of my favorite films, 310 to Yuma and Walk the Line.
When you’re not working on set, you do quite a bit of work with the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. What does your work involve and what would you like your audience to know about this initiative?
I have been involved with the annual celebrity blood drive, to help raise awareness and bring in blood and platelet donors for many of the children under going treatment for cancer related illnesses. I’ve seen what good can come of it and how a simple blood or platelet donation can mean the difference between life or death, for many of these tiny souls.
Switching gears, who are some of your favorite designers and what style of clothes appeal to you the most?
I really love sleek tailored suits, which is why I’m a huge fan of Tom Ford and his designs.
We look forward to seeing you in the film, Logan. What other projects do you have coming up in the near future?
I have a few guest star appearance in the upcoming CBS series Training Day starring Bill Paxton, and the USA series Colony starring Josh Holloway, due out later this year.
Instagram: @Al Coronel
Photo Credit: Nate Taylor