It’s not a bird, it’s not a superhero, it’s Disney’s “Planes” that hopes to soar into theaters this fall and win over fans who eagerly welcomed the “Cars” franchise with a new 3D animated comedy for the aviators at heart.
The feature film will take off alongside Dusty (Dane Cook), a crop duster plane who dreams of becoming the world’s best air racer but must overcome a paralyzing fear of heights, among other obstacles, before he can succeed.
Among the high-flying cast is “Reno 911’s” Carlos Alazraqui (as El Chupacabra), who along with Mexican-American comedian Gabriel Iglesias (as Ned & Zed), gives voice to Dusty’s competition.
As the voice of “El Chu,” the Argentine-American actor brings to life a Mexican racing legend and casanova whose over the top attitude matches his love for fellow racer Rochelle (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). In a recent interview with Alazraqui, the actor told HuffPo a little more about his love-struck Latino character and the animated flick set to land in theaters on August 9.
HP: Tell us about your character
He is “muy apasionado”, he is very gregarious, machismo, ex-performer, telenovela star, recording artist, he has “mucho sabor”, he has positive energy, a person who just loves life, he is the world’s most interesting man.
HP: He is like the Casanova, the Latin lover…
He thinks of himself like a Casanova, but when it comes to Rochelle he needs help, he is passionate he needs to learn how to refine it, he has so much passion that it is too much for Rochelle .
HP: He comes from Mexico, he is Mexican… Why a Mexican?
I think because of the sort of glorious history of the Aztecs and the temples, because it portrays somebody strong. The man with the cape, the lucha libre character that brings honor. The version of the samurai, there is a lot of honor in the competition. He is so brave and honorable.
HP: Why do you think they chose that name?
In the movie they explain that “El Chu” is a name designed to instill fear in his opponents. That’s just his stage name, his lucha libre character. He believes that it strikes fear in his opponents, but of course he’s wearing a cape and a mask and they think he’s ridiculous.
HP: What is the importance of the character in the movie?
On the surface he’s the comic relief. In terms of the story he befriends Dusty right away. Because he has this lucha libre respect for other opponents, when all the other planes are looking at Dusty as this little crop duster, he says 'no, I am new to this world and you are new and we will be friends, I can tell.’ When Dusty runs into some problems, because they have this honorable friendship, and because Dusty has helped El Chu in matter of romance, he returns the favor.
HP: How do you think Latinos are being seen in movies now? What is the importance they have been getting in movies?
It is a reflection of the change in demographics of the country. Nowadays they are trying to embrace multiculturalism, I think it’s more a reflection of a general acceptance of the Latin culture and how important it is. I like the fact that el Chu is a heroic character; he is not the bad guy. The bad guy is ironically portrayed by Gabriel Iglesias, a Mexican doing a white character.
HP: Do you feel being Latino in the US has or hasn’t helped you develop your career?
It is something I embrace. Being in this business got me to embrace my Latino roots, before that I was just American, just a comic, my first cartoon had nothing to do with being Latino. When I had the chance to do Latino stand up, that is when I started to connect with [Latino things]. Sometimes in Hollywood it works against me, because my name is Carlos but my last name is of Jewish origin. You know I’ll go out for Latino roles but they’re looking for a Mexican, or a Guatemalan.
I benefited from being sort of neutral white. Especially for voice overs because I can portray a Latino character, I can do all these characters without boundaries of how I have to look. Being Latin and acknowledging that has helped me tremendously business wise. My name has helped me get more Latino characters…