Carlos Ponce is a man of many talents.
We know him as a telenovela star, actor and singer. But one skill you may not know about the blue-eyed hunk: He can copy just about any Latin-American accent.
When Ponce was offered the role as Mariachi Beaver in “Ice Age: Collision Course,” he was prepared.
“I saw a drawing of the guy,” reports Ponce of the sombrero- and guitarrón-toting rodent. “Then I offered producers different voices — by region. From north to south, everyone talks different. We tried out someone from Jalisco, from Mexico City, from Yucatán. They eventually went for some kind of hybrid of all put together.”
In No. 5 of the 3D animated family comedy, the prehistoric crew led by woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano) is trying to avert disaster — an asteroid that will render them all instinct. Ponce, as Mariachi Beaver, puts on a mean Mexican accent and helps his panicked friends by playing music.
Born in Puerto Rico, the 43-year-old moved with his family to Miami in 1986. So Ponce considers his accent now to be “totally Miami.” But get him on a good day, and he’ll channel someone from — you name it — Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Argentina, and most definitely Cuba, where his folks are from.
“I have a good ear,” he says.
Ponce had a lot of fun doing the movie, even though the role is small. He’d already worked with the producers — Blue Sky Studios — on 2011’s “Rio.”
“This is not my first rodeo with them. They’ve been great to me,” he said. “They’re all just amazingly talented people, gracious. And the images and music are so impressive. I hope this brings my numbers up for international sales. I’m totally taking it for a ride.”
If all goes according to plan, Mariachi will go over well with the kiddies, and the little guy will snag the spotlight if there’s an “Ice Age” No. 6.
“I think he should have his own spinoff, no doubt,” Ponce opines. “He should be the leading animal. And instead of a mariachi band, he’ll lead a high school marching band. I want him to be the most popular beaver in the world.”
Until that day happens, the “Devious Maids” castmate is content doing his thing. He’ll continue working on various projects, which include starring in the Telemundo soap “Silvana Sin Lana,” and voicing the State Farm ads in Spanish.
“I like all aspects of entertainment,” says the divorced father of four. “I do my best to train and go to my workshops and to do it the right way out of respect [to the craft] and so it doesn’t look like I’m improvising. But I try not to spread myself too thin. Sometimes all my projects pop up at the same time, but I can manage it all and still have family time.”
OK, so his dream project is probably not to play the most powerful beaver in the world. He has loftier goals.
“I need to be one of ‘The Avengers,’ then I’ll be happy. I want their salary too. Maybe I’ll just throw it out there in the universe, and it will bounce right back. Either that or run for president.”
That last statement was a joke: “Politics. No! Never! It’s too crazy,” says Ponce, whose ex-brother-in-law is Marco Rubio. “I would never want to be exposed that much.”