From having a Double Platinum Award-winning album to starring in ABC's extremely popular People's Choice Award nominated series, "Cristela," Latin heartthrob Carlos Ponce is a man of many talents and is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood. Carlos gives us the scoop on "Cristela" and his character Felix, working with the hilarious Melissa McCarthy in the upcoming feature film "Spy," and the possibility of an upcoming album.
DICKSON: So you star as Felix in ABC's comedy "Cristela". In the show, we follow Cristela as she tries to accomplish her version of the American dream while balancing traditional Mexican-American culture. What do you think Cristela's version of the American dream is?
PONCE: In reality, both Cristela and her "Cristela" character have very little differences. She IS living the American dream. Just 2 years ago she was struggling to make rent and today she is executive producer, writer and star of her own TV comedy. The only obvious difference between her real life & character is that the real Cristela never went to law school. She chose that career for the show because she figured more people would relate to it.
DICKSON: What can you tell us about your character, Felix?
PONCE: He is a fun guy. I like Felix. He is the guy who is there to instigate, to keep the passion; when I say passion, I am talking about our Latin passion, that flame that is alive at all times. He throws jabs at her (Cristela) and she back at him, but there is love there. It's always in a loving way. If there wasn't love, she wouldn't be living there. I can tell you my character and I don't have too many similarities. Felix is a little more machista than I am. I'm feminine and I'm proud of it! I have my daughters, a couple sisters, mother, grandma, all around so I wouldn't dare try to be machista. You can tell he throws his little stabs with love; it's one of those relationships.
DICKSON: Why do you think "Cristela" is relevant to today? Why should we tune in?
PONCE: Cristela is a marvelous show that tells the story of an enchanting young woman, her family, her anecdotes, her triumphs and failures that have happened and trying to get ahead, succeeding in this land of opportunities. I can tell you it's real and people will appreciate it. It's very authentic, it really is, and I think that's going to show.
DICKSON: You also star in the movie "Spy" that is set to release this May. How is "Spy" different from other action-thrillers?
PONCE: Paul Feig somehow always manages to come up with very unique ways to tell the story. Just using Jason Statham and the word "comedy" in the same sentence is already funny. This movie has it all - action, adventure, drama and a whole lot of comedy.
DICKSON: How did you land the role of Ryan in "Spy"?
PONCE: Ryan is a CIA operative agent; it's just something that I could not pass when I was approached to be a part of. It's not a giant role. It's just when Paul does a movie you want to tag along because you know it's going to make you laugh no matter what. And there are no small parts on his movies.
DICKSON: How committed are you to getting into the characters that you play? Did you add anything to your character, Ryan, that wasn't originally scripted for you?
PONCE: Ohh yeah! There is a great deal of "free styling" in this project so there are many different versions of the same scene. I saw a quick cut when I was doing ADR and honestly didn't even remember saying some of those things.
DICKSON: What was it like to film "Spy" in Budapest?
PONCE: I'd never been to Budapest, so it was a great experience for me - so beautiful and clean. The cast and crew made it that much better. I hung out mostly with Will Yun Lee since our scenes called for us to have the same schedule. Great guy! He even Skyped a few times with my kids who are fans because of THE WOLVERINE.
DICKSON: Melissa McCarthy stars as the main character, Susan Cooper, in "Spy". Is Melissa as hilarious in person and she is onscreen?
PONCE: Melissa was hilarious at all times. She's very sweet and friendly. She traveled with her entire family. That's always a plus when you are filming far from home. It keeps people in a good mood.
DICKSON: How does having 4 children affect your acting career? Do you think any of your children will follow in your footsteps and become an actor or actress?
PONCE: I don't encourage them, because it's a tough business. But if they do, I would be supportive. I would rather that they play golf for a living. ;-)
DICKSON: You don't limit yourself solely to a career in acting--you're also a talented singer and have a Double Platinum Award-winning album under your belt. Can we expect anything musically from you in the near future?
PONCE: I'm always active with music and writing and producing for different Latin singers & telenovela songs, I do a lot of that. As for a new album...never say never.
DICKSON: Out of all the television shows and movies you have starred in, which has been the most rewarding?
PONCE: Cristela is one of my favorite gigs so far in my career. Outside of the fact that it's a beautiful schedule that everyone in Hollywood wants, we're very close. It sounds a little cliché, but it's a great cast and crew. We just laugh all day.
DICKSON: Have you always wanted to be an actor?
PONCE: Actually I always wanted to be a singer. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that my drama teacher picked me and a partner to represent the school at one of the state competitions. We brought home some awards, so I then started training for musical theater.
DICKSON: What do you do in your free time?
PONCE: I LOVE the water. I'm always looking for entertainment and sports that include getting wet. I also travel to new places whenever I have some spare time.