Amaury Nolasco sheds bad boy image in “Criminal”, learns from Kevin Costner
As “Fernando Sucre” in Fox Network’s hit series “Prison Break”, Amaury Nolasco is one of America’s favorite criminals.
But for his latest role in, crime action thriller, Criminal, which stars Kevin Costner, the Puerto Rican actor, 45, shed his bad boy image and joined the ranks of law enforcement as CIA agent “Esteban Ruiza”.
“It was beautiful [the transition] but I have to say it was challenging because I’m so used to being the bad boy and people know me for it,” said Nolasco in an interview with Press Pass Latino.
“So, it’s funny because every time I tell people I’m in this new movie called ‘Criminal’ they ask me ‘Are you the criminal?’ and I say, ‘Not this time!’”
Even so, Nolasco, who will reprise the role of “Fernando Sucre” in Fox’s “Prison Break” event series, a nine-episode follow-up to 2005’s cult action series, said he didn’t think Sucre was really a bad guy and noted that despite being a criminal, he considered Sucre “a good guy”.
“But yeah, in Criminal, I had the great opportunity to work with an amazing cast playing CIA agent Esteban Ruiza, who is part of the team with Gary Oldman, looking for Kevin Costner’s character Jerico,” he added.
Nolasco didn’t hesitate to admit that he would have taken the role in Criminal for free just to have the opportunity to work alongside cast members Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones, three Academy-Award winning and nominated actors, who he says he learned a lot from while filming the movie.
“Being part of this movie was something that to me was like a dream come true, a dream I didn’t even know I had, because I never thought that it was going to be possible,” said Nolasco.
“So, when I got the call and was asked to be a part of this amazing cast I said ‘I’m in, just let me know when and where and I’ll show up’.”
Nolasco, who also co-stars on NBC series “Telenovela”, likens playing CIA agent Esteban Ruiza on Criminal to receiving a free education and says his favorite times on set were spent hearing anecdotes and stories from the three Hollywood veterans.
“I learned so much from these three guys,” he said.
“When Kevin [Costner] was doing “Dance with Wolves” he put most of the money himself, he went in and spoke to studio executives and they said ‘Look, we don’t want to do this’ and he said ‘Well, I’m doing this and I’m going to direct it’ so he put the money himself and so betting on yourself was the lesson that I got from it and clearly it paid off him.”
Though he’s not ready to put himself in the director’s chair just yet, Nolasco confesses directing is something he’d love to do. For now, he’s happy learning the ropes from close friend and co-star, Telenovela producer, Eva Longoria, and has his hands full with several other big-screen projects.
You can catch Nolasco as “Esteban Ruiza” in Criminal, in theaters nationwide, as of Friday, April 15th. Watch the Criminal movie trailer below: