Raymond Cruz is a Hollywood star who has had a prolific career, appearing on television's "Breaking Bad" and "Major Crimes," as well as movies like "From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money," "Training Day," and "Collateral Damage." He recently spoke with The Daily Wire about his upcoming horror film, "The Curse of La Llorona," which hits theaters on April 19.
Q: For those unfamiliar, tell us what the "The Curse of La Llorona" is about?
Cruz: It’s a horror film based on a folk tale that goes back hundreds of years. It is very popular with the Latin community. It’s based on a dark entity that roams the earth in search of children to replace the one that she lost. Originally, La Llorona was a married woman who discovered her husband was having an affair and she ended up drowning their kids in a fit of rage. She took her own life after that and is now roaming the earth in search of children to replace the ones she lost — a void that can never be filled. It’s a vicious cycle that goes on forever.
Q: What role do you play in the film?
Cruz: I play Rafael, an ex-priest who left the church because he felt that they weren’t doing enough to help people struggling with these supernatural occurrences. He goes out on his own and becomes basically a shaman — a mystic. He’s essentially a witch doctor who balances his faith with his knowledge of shamanism to help combat these supernatural entities.
Q: What makes it different from horror films?
Cruz: It’s different because of the cultural connection. It’s a Latin phenomenon that is being shared with the rest of the world. In my opinion, the best horror movies are the ones based on these plausible entities and not some made-up CGI monster.
Q: This is Michael Chaves' directorial debut of a major motion picture. What was it like working with him?
Cruz: It was great working with him! He’s so enthusiastic. He was going a hundred miles a minute and I was like, "We have four to six weeks of shooting." He has good energy, a love of the subject matter, and with him, you can’t wait to put the pieces together to see the film.
Q: What was it like behind the scenes during shooting?
Cruz: It’s really hard shooting a film. People don’t realize all of the nuts and bolts of it. It can be hard, so we lightened the mood. Linda (Cardellini) was great to work with. She had a great sense of humor. We had fun scaring the children on set and I’m sure they’re scarred for life. They asked me if La Llorona is real, and I said straight-out that she was and that changed everything.
Q: You’ve done roles in several genres, including science fiction, comedy, action, on stage, film, and on television. What is an aspect of horror that you like?
Cruz: I call it the "Frankenstein aspect." I saw "Frankenstein" when I was a kid and it fascinated me — this idea of a visceral creature wandering the earth in search of something, but everyone being afraid of him. As a kid, that made me love horror films and I would watch them every chance I got. So, to grow up and be a part of a big horror film is a rewarding experience.
Q: As far as acting in genres, what are your favorites ones to star in?
Cruz: I would say the drama genre. I’ve done so many roles in that and I like the challenge of it. Like on "Breaking Bad," I loved the challenge of bringing the scenes to life. Any actor who is worth his weight, it is about the challenge of communicating the story.
Q: What is next for you, as far as projects?
Cruz: I’m really focused on writing and getting my own stuff made. I’m writing a TV series and a film. I don’t want to reveal too much of the project, but it is a horror film combined with spirituality.
Q: How would you encourage audiences to go see "The Curse of La Llorona?"
Cruz: It’s a different take on a horror film, in regard to the Latin legend. Go see it and get your thrills. There’s a ton of jump scares. We’ve had people say that they stopped breathing because they were so scared. Part of my role is also to be comedic, so on top of the terror, I release some of the tension with humor.
"The Curse Of La Llorona" is being co-produced by "Aquaman" director James Wan and distributed by Warner Bros.