By Mary Chuy
I meet actor Calo Rodriguez many years ago in Miami while we both were working on a PSA directed by award winning director Cecilia Domeyko. He was always on time, professional and with a great spirit! He was the friend you could always count for a ride to an audition, or to help you with an event or project.
These days Calo is very busy, working twelve hours a day shooting a pilot presentation. We did an interview over the phone from his hotel room. It was more like a conversation between two old friends. First he interviewed me! He cares about others. He asked how I was and about my family. It was very refreshing to hear the same Calo I knew from years ago.
After a couple minutes I finally got my chance to ask the questions.
Calo’s interest in acting began while still in high school in Colombia. He believes it was meant to be. “I believe in destiny, and I think that the Universe created a path for me, all I did was to follow the clues,” he tells me. During that time a TV producer came to his town and auditioned hundreds of kids for a telenovela and Calo was selected. Although the telenovela was never actually made, Calo believes was his first clue.
After high school he did his military service and studied finances for three years. Soon after he decide to move to Bogota were he began working at a bank and continued taking acting classes.
His second clue that he was on the right path came when his father was offered a new job in Miami, Fl. The family applied and got their Visas and moved to the U.S.A.
Once in the Miami the real work began. He lived with his parents and his three bothers “The Rodriguez Bothers”, all actors, handsome and very popular with the girls, but also hard workers. To survive Calo took on jobs as a valet, construction worker, painting houses, working in Miami Beach hotels and restaurants. Many times he remembers going straight from working a long shift to an audition or on his breaks, and I’m a witness to that.
The handsome Colombian actor was grateful to have found his very first agent, very well known Miami agent Estevan Alvarez who believed on him and his brothers, so much so that Alvarez served as sponsor for the three of them. Thanks to his first agent Calo was able to work legally in this country.
The Third Clue was in the works. When Calo booked a Coors light commercial and met director/producer Joe Carnahan who at that moment was in pre production of a film about the life of Pablo Escobar. “That was my motivation for moving to Los Angeles in 2006,” Calo said. “Again the movie was never actually made, but I just knew it was the right time for me to move here, and I always follow my intuition”.
Living in LA, he decided to focus only on his acting career, it took Calo many years to find an agent he felt comfortable with. He is now represented by 90210 Talent Agency.
In 2012 he auditioned for a pilot presentation, tentatively titled Trophy Wife, which is sure to change since ABC recently gave the go ahead for pilot with the same title. He read for a bit, one day role. “I really didn’t feel any connection with this other character but I did my best in the audition anyway,” he told me. Three weeks later he got a call from the writer/director Michael Ajawke Jr. (Eve, Sister, Sister, The Brothers Garcia, Entertainment Tonight) telling him that he really liked his audition but not for the role he auditioned. He wanted him for one of the series regulars, but he wanted to see him before he called his agent. He was sent the pilot script and Ajawke ask him to meet him at 6pm later that same day.
When Calo showed up all the other cast members were there waiting for him. After the all night reading with the rest of the cast to see if the chemistry was there, Ajawke gave him the news, “I’m really happy with your work, we all like you and you have the contract, I will call your agent and make the offer tomorrow. That was the fourth and final clue. “Everything was so unreal to me, and I didn’t know how big this project was until I was on the set,” Calo recalls.
With shades of Modern Family the pilot presentation is a comedy about an African American Family, the Castles, a trophy wife and a husband who is an NBA player. Calo plays a Colombian immigrant, Marteen Ramos who has been living in the country for five years and is still not very familiar with the culture. In the first episode Mary, a beautiful Anglo woman played by Katherine Norland wants to marry him to help him become legal, but his character refuses to get married without love.
Although there is no network order or an air date, the producers are optimistic that they will soon find a home. As far as Calo is concerned destiny seems to be taking its course and he has not doubt he did the right thing moving to L.A. Meanwhile Calo has six episodes to shoot in his very first series regular role.
When I ask him if there was ever a time he felt like giving up or just became plain discouraged, he said, “As an actor you have to work very hard in your spirituality, you have to have determination and patience. I been here seven years, some people quit after a couple years because they expect for things to happen right away. You just have to keep the faith and wait for the right role for you, adding “You have to keep dreaming and show up to all auditions with the right attitude, thinking that you are the best! Talent is important, but an actor’s essence and good spirit can make a difference in an audition.
Calo Rodriguez, whose credits include telenovelas Prisionera, Anita No Te Rajes and Los Teens, ABC’s Notes From the Underbelly, and the TV movie Kings of South Beach, confidently gets ready to adjust to his new busy life after the show hits the air. He is not just hot and charming, he is unstoppable.
He has been preparing for this opportunity his whole life. The question is, are you ready for Calo Rodriguez?