Diego Calva is about to get his big Hollywood break as the star of Damien Chazelle’s upcoming epic “Babylon,” but Netflix subscribers might already be familiar with the relative newcomer thanks to his supporting role on “Narcos: Mexico.” Calva starred as the Mexican drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva in six episodes of the show’s third season, but it appears he’s not too fond of the series. Speaking to GQ magazine, Calva said he disagrees with how “Narcos: Mexico” represented his country.
“There’s a moment in your career as an actor that you really can’t choose your roles,” Calva said. “You are just grateful that you’re having a job, and ‘Narcos’ is a great show. But in my case, it’s a little hard because the way they put the story of my country, I don’t agree at all. There’s a lot of truth and that’s amazing, but there’s a lot of lies, too.”
“I think my country doesn’t need more narco culture and making these guys heroes,” Calva said, adding that when the show aired on Netflix he remembered thinking to himself, “This is too raw. I don’t know if I really want to keep shooting people.”
“Narcos: Mexico,” a companion series to Netflix’s “Narcos,” ran for three seasons and dramatized the true story of Mexico’s illegal drug trade. The series starred Diego Luna and Michael Peña in leading roles.
Chazelle’s “Babylon” marks a new career turning point for Calva, who stars in the film opposite such heavyweights as Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Calva plays a young Mexican American actor named Manny Torres who aims to start a career in 1920s Hollywood. The movie marks Calva’s first major American film production, although he still wants to stay close to his roots as his career moves forward.
“My dream is to be part of Latin American cinema always,” Calva said. “My only fear right now is that maybe Latin directors are going to think, ‘That guy will never come back,’ and they are not going to call me.”
“Babylon” is set to open in theaters Dec. 23 from Paramount Pictures.