Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña is unlike other 21-year-old actors whose phone is ringing off the hook. In the immortal words of Lady Gaga, fame is a monster, but Maridueña isn’t going to let himself be devoured by the beast that claims so many talents at such a tender age. Instead, Maridueña is learning to stay humble, take one opportunity at a time, and never count his chickens before they hatch. It’s a sound philosophy to practice if you can pull it off. Thankfully, it sounds like Maridueña keeps a cool head and isn’t about to let his rising star burn so bright that it fades before he’s had a real chance to shine.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Maridueña recalled when he learned about landing the lead role in DC’s upcoming superhero film, Blue Beetle, featuring the comic label’s first movie led by a Latinx actor. Unlike other casting calls, Maridueña hadn’t auditioned for the part before discovering his security in the role. After meeting with DC Films chief Walter Hamada through Zoom, the exec invited Maridueña to a fireside chat with key contributors of the Blue Beetle project. Upon walking up to a table, Maridueña recognized Blue Beetle’s director Angel Manuel Soto and screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. Realizing there were other executives at the scene, it quickly registered in Maridueña’s head that he was about to have a serious discussion about becoming Blue Beetle. Silently freaking out, Maridueña dug deep, summoned his signature composure, and hoped for the best.
When asked about securing the role without auditioning, Maridueña said the following about his feelings of shock and suspicion:
“In the beginning, there was a bit of impostor syndrome. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, how do they know? I haven’t even read a word of the script! How can they be so sure?’ Everyone was so welcoming and instilled so much confidence in me through the filming of the movie. It just comes back to the thing that I was saying earlier: Blue Beetle isn’t to make me the next heartthrob or biggest star. It’s just to show people, ‘Hey, these stories about Latinos don’t have to just be about narcos or crossing the border or being a gang member. You can be portrayed in a positive light.’ A superhero seems like the most positive light you can get in this industry.”
Before David Zaslav shelved DC’s Batgirl film, Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle) wasn’t the only Latinx actor slated to take center stage on the superhero scene. Sadly, Leslie Grace’s debut as Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) may never see the light of day, dealing a crushing blow to the Latinx community, whose representation in the DCEU is severely lacking. When asked about the cancelation of the Batgirl movie, Maridueña offered the following thoughts:
“It obviously feels very close, right? Warner Brothers and Beetle. But I think everything that has to be said on the topic has been spoken from [those involved]. I think the creators and Leslie said everything that had to be said.”
Lastly, Maridueña explained to THR what he thinks makes Blue Beetle special and how the character will stand out among an established pantheon of titans in skin-tight suits and capes:
“I always get so nervous talking about the movie. Let me preface this by saying that everything that I’m saying was in the comics, OK? I don’t want to hear anybody say, ‘Xolo was giving away spoilers from the movie.’ Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle has been passed the torch from other Blue Beetles. There are other iterations of the character. My iteration is a kid from Texas who stumbles upon these powers. The thing that makes this movie different than any other superhero movie I’ve seen — well, there are a ton that I haven’t seen. There were superhero movies before Iron Man, right?”
Are you excited about Maridueña’s debut as Blue Beetle? Let us know in the comments.