Renoly Santiago [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today we have a very special interview to share with you all. I have actually been attempting to have this incredible artist grace our digital pages for quite some time, as I have been a fan for quite some time. It’s the acclaimed actor & musician & more Renoly Santiago! And let me tell you, Renoly is the absolute real deal and such a sweet person. In recent years, you may have caught him on wonderful series like Netflix’s The Get Down, Hulu’s Difficult People, or HBO’s The Night Of, or even more wonderful projects! And if you live in a nostalgic time capsule as I tend to do sometimes, you will definitely know him for his work on two of the greatest films to come out of the 1990’s, for VERY different reasons, which would be his role as Raul Sanchero in Dangerous Minds, and good ole Sally-Can’t Dance in Con Air! And you will remember that Renoly is AMAZING in both of these films, and even more!

We are seriously honored to have Renoly with us here today, and I know you are going to love the incredible and informative responses he has for you all today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Renoly Santiago!

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What inspired you to get into the line of work that you are in? Was it an early aspiration that you have had since you were young, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I always had a deep desire to be a part of this field since I was very young after watching movies like E.T. and the film Fame, where I saw people singing and dancing and acting and singing cool songs. Then there was the TV show Fame that got me thinking about it at a young age. I always dreamed about being an actor and a singer, at the time it seemed a universe away so I started trying out early on, even though I felt oddly out of place. Lol.

What was your very first paid gig in the business? And were there any sort of lessons learned that still affect your work today?

My very first paid gig in the business was a musical named Sueños (which means dreams in Spanish). I was 14 at the time, I played a blind boy from a poor country and I sang a solo song and was part of the chorus where we sang rhythmic latin songs and did African dance it was awesome and wild. A lesson I remember learning was on opening night when my character was guided on stage by someone else we had never rehearsed me going up the stairs so when I was guided on stage I deliberately stumbled on the step a little and then felt my way up with my blind stick. The older actors complimented me on it and said that maybe  I could really have a career at this. It gave my confidence a needed boost and I learned about how spontaneity is part of acting and along with rehearsing how to always stay in the moment and allow realism in.

In 1997 you appeared in one of the most ridiculously entertaining films of all time, the action packed film Con Air. To this day it can be the feel good bit of violence I look for when comfort is needed. With that in mind, I am curious to know what it was like working on set during the production of this film? Was it as pleasurable to work on as it remains for me to watch to this very day?

Thank you, thank you so much. Yes it was and the more time goes by the more special those memories become. We were an automatic family a wild and crazy Mötley Crüe. I was the automatic baby in the group that everybody loved and at times the most mature. Lol These guys love to play like kids one time a few guys bet money on a race with Nicholas Cage and Nic actually won the race. We spent a whole lot of time sitting by the pool in our hotel sitting under the sun on a deck drinking lots of beers and listening to music. I remember I had the radio and we played a lot of salsa music too. The guys always tried to keep me drinking beer like a tough guy. lol Our view from the deck was a baseball field and then it was just desert. We were just hanging having good times together. And on set it was awesome, the guys had great stories about life including John Malkovich. It was 115 in the shade when we were filming. It was like a 9 month shoot, with like 3 of those months in LA on a sound stage and a two weeks in Vegas to film the ending. Great times miss everyone so glad people love the film.

 

 

And of course there is the 1995 drama you were absolutely incredible in known as Dangerous Minds. This was a pretty powerful film at the time it was released. You were pretty young and fresh in the game playing Raul Sanchero, the “man with the jacket”. So how was it working on a project like this as your first film work? How did you manage to ease the tension behind the camera on such a film with such serious subject matter?

Thank you it was a real dream come true. I was 19 when I got the film and had been working & studying acting for a few years so I’m grateful I began early and learned so much in the New York theater. I’m always grateful for having gotten the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Swados who passed away a little over three years ago, she is a real theater legend who knew so much about acting and music and staging and truth. She has always been my source at, least my biggest source of inspiration in my work. So when I got Dangerous Minds, it was like such a big breakthrough spiritually because I had worked so hard already and really didn’t know if  I would ever get a chance. I knew my work was touching people on the live stage but when I got the chance to break into film it was like being hit by lightning. I couldn’t believe it. Of course I cried & fell on the floor, lol, and it was such a special moment for my family and friends.

To this day I am still so beyond grateful to have gotten that opportunity. We had so much fun making that movie I can’t express it in words. We all got along really great it was a wild bunch too. There had been some tension with some of the kids from LA being annoyed that so much of the cast was from New York but when everyone got to know each other it was the best time ever. It was like being on the best vacation for three months with other people your age and having our own hotel rooms, room service, pools and jacuzzi. We went out and drove around, went horse back riding and got paid to be wild bad kids. Lol most of the heavy dramatic scenes involved just a few of us so most of the time it was being rowdy and fun. There was an element of danger but I guess we were the danger so it was ok lol. I also was the only person in the cast who was completely opposite in a real person to the character I played so that was really interesting because I’ve always been more of a very soft tender hearted person but I do it deliberately so it’s out of strength so I can also kick some ass and regulate when needed lol. But for some reason I can really tap into how other people feel so I can create these characters that are so different than myself. That film was a huge realization for me in that way because not only was I playing this role in a film but the character was so different than I. Although again there are some powerful things we share in common. It was an actor’s dream come true and Michelle was just as amazing as the young cast. Everything was done in one take because everyone was so focused and the cameraman was so on point.

 

 

In the world of entertainment, you have done some amazing work on avenues like film, television, even the stage. You are also an accomplished musician as well! And you do amazing work in all of them! With that in mind, I am curious to know what avenue of artist expression is the most rewarding to you on a personal level? If for some reason, you were forced to only work in one avenue for the rest of your career, which would it be?

Thanks again. I honestly don’t have a preferred form of performance, all I can do is be so grateful that God has given me the ability to express myself in those ways. I love acting and storytelling because it’s such a spiritual transcendence it’s like you’re on a cloud in a way and it’s a very scary place because there is a chance you might fall so you’re like floating in a space of grace and gratitude and creativity and you know what you say, what comes out of your mouth has an affect on people. It’s so engaging you have to let go of any physical or mental insecurities you may have and just let the work come out of you. Music and singing is so vibrational and I just love love love to sing it actually feels good in the neck chest and mouth and ears such a blessing. I love dancing too and feeling rhythm in my body and muscles so it would be like choosing one child over another. Thank God I don’t actually have to choose! Lol.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Yes, I am really excited to begin work on a new House music record with an awesome well known producer and writer John Spinosa and his team. I’m also very excited about my new tee shirt line called Renoly NYC coming out soon the designs are sick. And I’m getting ready to star in an Off Broadway play with a well known director called Ominous Men, I play a Native American spirit that wrecks havoc. I’m writing scripts and developing projects too.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My doggies Pocket Diva and Comet, my family and friends! ️

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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