David Barrera is an American actor best known for his latest role as Gunnery Sgt. Ray ‘Casey Kasem’ Griego in Generation Kill. He has appeared in several television series including Heroes, CSI: Miami, Boston Legal, Medium,Nip/Tuck, Without a Trace, The West Wing and 24 for which he was nominated for an ALMA award as best actor. The most recent film in which Barrera can be seen is Universal‘s family comedy Evan Almighty. He worked on films likeInfinity, No Way Back and The United States of Leland. Barrera guest starred in the episode ‘Alex Gives Up’ in a Disney Channel Original Series live-action sitcom, Wizards of Waverly Place – a series in which his wife, Maria, is a star player.
Barrera was born and raised in San Juan, Texas and was the seventh of eight children. He attended Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, where he was involved in Theater. He received his BFA from Southern Methodist University on a theater scholarship. He went on to receive his MFA from The University of California, San Diego, where he garnered a San Diego Fellowship and was awarded The Princess Grace Acting Scholarship in his third year. While at UCSD, he was trained in and worked on several classical works of theater. He also did an internship at the prestigious La Jolla Playhouse and at Luis Valdez’ El Teatro Campesino. David is married to actress Maria Canals Barrera with whom he has two daughters.
On Friday October 26th a very special episode of NBC’s Grimm will be re-broadcast for the first time on Telemundo television. David will have a leading and ground breaking role. He said, “The episode will air on NBC, Telemundo and Mun2. The story deals with the legend of ‘La Llorona.’ I play a dad whose son is taken by her. We spend the episode searching for my son and La Llorona. It’s a really action packed episode and will have you on the edge of your seat. All my dialogue is completely in Spanish. One of the regulars on the series is fluent in Spanish and her character serves as my character’s translator.”
It’s Halloween in Portland and a series of bizarre child abductions lead Nick (David Giuntoli) to a ghost story that may be reality. Nick and Hank (Russell Hornsby) join forces with Valentina Espinosa (guest star Kate Del Castillo, Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur), a mysterious detective from Albuquerque, to help find and capture the elusive suspect. Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) joins their investigation, acting as the precinct’s fill-in Spanish translator to Luis (David Barrera) whose son is taken by La Llorona. The more Nick digs into the case, the more he realizes the pattern of the kidnapping matches those in the famed Hispanic horror story ‘La Llorona,’ a story with its roots intertwined with his own family’s history. Meanwhile Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) celebrates the holiday in fine style as he teaches the neighborhood bullies a lesson.
Herald De Paris Deputy Managing Editor Dr. Al Carlos Hernandez had an inspiring conversation with David about this episode and his personal life and studies, at the recent ALMA Awards:
Al Carlos Hernandez: Tell us about this very special episode of Grimm. I understand this is the first time Telemundo will re-broadcast and made for primetime episode.
David Barrera: Yes. It will air on NBC, Telemundo and Mun2. The story deals with the legend of ‘La Llorona.’ I play a father whose son is taken by her. We spend the episode searching for my son and La Llorona. It’s a real action packed episode and will have you on the edge of your seat. All my dialogue is completely in Spanish. One of the regulars is fluent in Spanish and her character serves as my character’s translator.
AH: How difficult was it doing the whole program speaking Spanish? What is your highest hope for this episode?
DB: It was not that difficult because the Spanish was written beautifully. So many times, if you get Spanish dialogue it’s written horribly and you end up having to translate on the fly. That can be difficult. But this was a joy to work on. My highest hope would be that the episode gets incredible numbers, NBC capitalizes on it to create more Latino characters and that there is more work for Latino actors. That would be amazing.
AH: Do you think your career has been limited because of your ethnicity and/or moral posture?
DB: Early on in my career, I turned down a lot of stuff because it was stereotypical. Had I taken some of that stuff, my career would have moved further along at a much faster pace. However, I would not have been happy with my decisions. There are certainly not as many roles as I would like there to be for me to have the opportunity to work on – but I try not to ‘live’ in that. I try not to spend my energy getting upset about that. I focus on what is in front of me. I focus my energy on getting the work that IS available.
ACH: What are the kinds of parts you would like to play? What would be the perfect project?
DB: I would love to play a detective on a television series who investigates crimes. I would like it to shoot in town so I could be close to my family. That would be ideal for me.
ACH: What are some of the TV shows and films you have worked on and what are some of the ‘types’ they book you for?
DB: I have 53 television titles and 14 film titles on IMDB.http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0056876/Some of those include NYPD: Blue, ER, The West Wing, The Mentalist, Heroes, Medium, CSI: NY and the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. I book a lot of roles for doctors, lawyers, cops and, lately, dads and detectives.
ACH: Which platform do you prefer the most: stage, screen, or TV?
DB: I prefer film. I think most actors do. There is generally a lot more time to shoot scenes in film. It takes time to develop a character, etc. Although lately, there are a lot more interesting scripts being done on TV than in film. Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, shows like that. I think HBO started that trend with The Sopranos. Drama is, by far, my favorite. I still like being funny and making people laugh but I just find that in drama I feel very at home. It resonates with me a lot easier.
ACH: What advice would you give to young actors who are just starting out?
DB: Get trained. Learn your craft. Learn what acting is and how to do it well at a consistent level and you will always work.
ACH When it’s all said and done, 50 years from now how would you like to be remembered? What would you like your legacy to be?
DB: I would like to be remembered as a guy who worked really hard at what he loved and sometimes did it pretty well. A guy who always enjoyed what he did and treated people with respect and dignity as he did it. I would also like to be remembered as a good father and husband who was not defined by Hollywood, but tackled Hollywood on his own terms.
This groundbreaking episode in terms of the cross promotion, airs first NBC on October 26th at 9/8 c then later that evening it will air in Spanish on Telemundo from 12 – 1 a.m. and in English on mun2 at 1-2 a.m. (ET