Note: Man From Reno has been extended at the original release theaters to April 9th and has added more cities across the U.S.
For complete listing of theaters CLICK HERE
Pepe Serna’s first lead role is turning heads with film critics calling his performance as Sheriff Paul Del Moral in Man From Reno “a standout”, others refer to his “fine” performance; there are even comparisons to Tommy Lee Jones. But as Serna tells us, his aim was never to be a leading man, his goal was always to “just work” in what he loves to do, and he has done that throughout his career as an actor. His career is made up of some of the most memorable roles in film history (who can ever forget him as Angel the guy that get chopped up in the shower in Scarface?). But now after 51 years in the business Serna has landed the lead role of a lifetime, and it was written especially for him by writer/director Dave Boyle (White on Rice).
March 27th is the anticipated release date of Man From Reno, which critics have called a “…hitchcockian suspense mystery” (Harry Knowles of Aint-it-Cool-News). The story is a mystery that takes place outside of San Francisco and brings together small-town sheriff Paul Del Moral (Serna), Japanese author Aki Akahori (played by Ayako Fujitani), and a traveler from Reno who soon disappears, leaving behind his suitcase and a trail of questions.
Serna’s own life has all the elements of a drama (in fact it is the subject of a documentary which is currently in post production). Hailing from the Lone Star state of Texas, Serna actually started off his film career cast as the romantic lead in a film called Jack of Blood and Gold. But as fate would have it the film was destroyed in a hurricane. So what does Serna do next? He heads off to the World’s Fair with the director to try and raise the money to finish the film, which they were never did.
After that first attempt at an acting career, Serna took a detour and it was off to do a tour with the merchant Marines in 1966. When he got back went international, traveling to Mexico and worked in the theater. He was working on the musical Hair in Acapulco, and there met the people he would ultimately come to Los Angeles with him. On the second day in L.A. he meets the woman that would become his wife and to whom he is married to this day.
Once in Hollywood he would begin the journey that would ultimately lead to The Man From Reno. It’s been a heck of a fascinating trip in Hollywood land.
Upon arriving in Hollywood Hal B. Wallis took him under his wing and cast him in several films including Red Sky in Morning, and Shoot Out, where he worked alongside Gregory Peck, Richard Thomas and Richard Crenna. Subsequently, Serna has worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest directors Brian de Palma (The Black Daliah, Scarface), John Schlesinger (The Day of the Locust), Carl Reiner (The Jerk), Richard Donner (Inside Moves), William Friedkin (Deal of the Century), Kevin Reynolds (Fandango), Mike Nichols (Postcards from the Edge). He has also worked on some of the most important Latino themed indie projects (both on film and TV).
Serna worked on good friend Edward James Olmos’ film American Me. On television both friends worked together on The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (Directed by Robert Young) and PBS’ Seguin (directed by Jesus Trevino).
Serna was also a regular several TV shows one of them the Latino themed TV show FOX’s Second Chances in which he played a young (pre Selena) Jennifer Lopez father. He also appeared as a regular on DEA (90/91); The Pirates of Dark Water (92/93; and more recently Kingpin (03).
The most important thing for Serna is to enjoy life and he has done that all his life. He does not let anything spoil his Joie de vivre. Not the waning roles in big budget films or the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer a few years back. He took his doctor’s advice when he told him just to “stay busy” and he did, forging ahead with even more verve to keep doing what he loved, acting, in between his chemotherapy. He also intensified his motivational speaking engagements, and performed his one man show El Ruco Chuco Cholo Pachuco every chance he got.
So a leading man role is just the icing on the cake for Serna, and he is relishing it. He loves the fact that this role is about an American Sheriff and not about his ethnicity. He likens his role to that of Jimmy Stewart’s role in Vertigo; and Serna has more lead roles to relish.
Three years ago he shot Red On Yella Kill a Fella a western in which he plays a crazy serial killer. The film is set to release April 10, 2015. Other films where Serna plays a lead role in are Gino’s Wife in which he plays the title role and Aguruphobia where he plays Internet Guru Nanak and which he says he channeled an Indian “Cary Grant”. He also has seven other film set to release in 2015.
Serna’s worst film critic is his wife, his “leading lady” in life, Diane. When we asked Serna if she would be attending the premiere on Friday, March 27th he said she might, and added that it was actually likely she would be there because she really liked Man From Reno. This is important, because as Serna tells us she usually “…likes by my art (yes, Pepe is also a fine artist) better than my movies.” Now that is a heck of an endorsement.
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense
Web Site: http://www.manfrom…
Runtime: 111 min
Director: Dave Boyle
Cast: Ayako Fujitani, Kazuki Kitamura, Pepe Serna