We recently caught up with the talented and humble Manuel Soro about his latest projects, some of his most memorable experiences on set and his advice to upcoming actors. Here is what he had to say:
Hello Manuel, what have you been up to since we last spoke?
Since the last time we spoke, I’ve actually been busy working on a couple of really interesting new projects, two of which have now been released: one is the thriller feature film ‘Witnesses’ and the other is the feature film ‘Emerald Run’, where I had the opportunity to work with a bunch of talented and well-known great actors. After that, I took a few months off back in Italy where I got signed by one of the country’s best talent agencies, Takeoffartistmanagement. I’m actually really excited because they’ve already got me a couple of offers for some upcoming projects back in Italy. I’m really looking forward to working on them, so it’s great. Plus, I get to enjoy my family and friends back home for a few months -and stating the obvious, the food!
Tell us about your latest projects?
The latest projects as mentioned, were the two features ‘Witnesses’ and ‘Emerald Run’ which have now been released. In ‘Witnesses’ I played the role of Xavi The Maniac Montalban, an interesting character as you can imagine by his name: a ruthless cartel boss who comes to the States to close a big drug deal and kill all the people who represent a threat in his father’s trial. In ‘Emerald Run’ I played the role of ‘Padre Vincenzo’, a priest who’s also involved with the mafia, and by involved I mean, he’s one of the family’s leading men. He was a fun man to play -a character who leads two such opposite lives. The other role I worked on lately was in ‘The Dr’s Monster’, a horror feature film now in post production. I played the role of Peter, the young hero of the story. It was loads of fun and was my first horror film. There were a lot of stunts and fight scenes involved so yes, it was action packed you could can say.
Which was your favorite role to play?
I’d say my favorite role was ‘Xavi The Maniac Montalban’; as ruthless as he was, he was fun to play, in the sense that I really felt I managed to dig deep with him -to the point that I was struggling to shake him off me after shooting. Although that wasn’t a good feeling, it’s always a good feeling as an artist when you achieve that degree of depth with a character.
How do you remain grounded in such a difficult place like LA, I am sure it seems a lot different to how you grew up?
I would say it’s hugely different from where I grew up, but I feel that’s what keeps me grounded: I know what the things are that really matter and the ones which are just an illusion. I know that family, having the fortune of doing what you really love and being grateful, are the things that really matter; whenever I get caught up in all of that, I meditate, work out, or go for a walk in nature and that grounds me back to myself.
What role or character would you love to play if you had the chance?
Micheal Corleone in ‘The Godfather’. No question about that. Also Mr White in ‘Breaking Bad’, that’s also at the top of the list for me.
What about a co-star or filmmaker you would love to work with:
I’d love to work with Al Pacino one day, he is one my all time favorites and a great source of inspiration for me.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences so far?
My most memorable experience was on ‘Emerald Run’, when I played Padre Vincenzo, on the second day of shooting. I had the first scene of the day, a scene where I had to preach in church, completely improvising between English and Italian. The were some big names involved, actors who have been around for ages and who I used to watch on TV when I was a kid. Being that no one else was in that scene apart from me, they were all standing there with that expression of ‘Ok, let’s see what this kid can do’. It was pretty intimidating but then I thought of a line that I had read the day before, by Laurence Olivier: he said that nerves, when acting, are just vanity, and that when you understand that, you’re able to relax. That helped me a lot. At the end of the scene the director Eric Etebari came and he whispered in my ear ‘You’re winning today, my friend’. That was one of the best moments on set for me.
What have you learned the most about this business?
I’ve learned that it is not about the approvals, but more about the rejections. How you deal with it and still go forward, without letting anybody or anything put you down and still manage not to lose faith in yourself. It’s challenging and humbling and I love it. I love the craft of acting, because it’s the support and grounding that allows you to keep going ahead with gratitude -and it can teach you how to really focus in the present moment and in what you do -rather than in the results and in what you will get from it. This business is about faith, patience and gratitude for me.
What will be your upcoming projects?
I’ve recently been offered one of the lead roles in an upcoming new TV series. I will play the role of a crazy mobster constantly striving for his father’s approval. The pilot has still to be shot -therefore, I’m not going to mention any names yet, but it looks like a fun one.
What advice would you give to other artists coming to this trying to make a career in the entertainment industry?
The only advice I would give is to be yourself! First spend time in knowing who ‘you’ are and then just be loyal to that, because that’s what makes you unique and what makes you stand out.