With Compadres opening in theaters this weekend, I recently interviewed Eric Roberts while he was on location in Doha, Qatar shooting the premiere for his new series, Medinah. Roberts plays a bumbling FBI agent named Dalton in Enrique Begné’s hilarious action comedy about a disgraced Mexican cop (Omar Chaparro/Garza) on the run. With Dalton in hot pursuit, Garza eludes capture while seeking revenge on the crime lord (Erick Elias/Santos) responsible for framing him and kidnapping his girlfriend (Aislinn Derbez/Maria). He forms an uneasy alliance with a young American hacker (Joey Morgan/Vic) who’s stolen millions from Santos.
In an exclusive interview with Collider, Roberts discussed what attracted him to the project, his character, being a fan of Chaparro’s work, shooting at the same studio in Baja Mexico where James Cameron shot Titanic, Begné’s directing style, playing opposite a terrific cast, their support for his stepson Keaton Simon’s music, being part of an action-packed parody that turns Hollywood clichés and stereotypes about Mexicans on their head, the most memorable acting roles of his career, the best advice anyone has ever given him about acting, and his latest role in the Lifetime series Stalked by My Doctor.
Check it all out in the interview below:
How did this project first come together for you?
ERIC ROBERTS: I had seen the previous movies done by this company and I loved them.
Coincidentally, they came to my agent and inquired about my availability. Going to Mexico for work was a dream.
What made you say this is something I’d really like to do?
ROBERTS: The script had me laughing out loud immediately. Plus, I was a fan of Omar’s. And the location. It just got better and better as we went along.
Can you talk a little about your character? What does Dalton bring to the story?
ROBERTS: Dalton is a buffoon. Hopefully I bring some conflict and some laughs to the story.
You’ve worked with so many great directors. How was your experience with Enrique Begné and his directing style? Did he leave the flow to the actors to see what they came up with or did you stick pretty close to script?
ROBERTS: Enrique is brilliant. He has more energy than any adult has a right to have. And his sense of humor is perfectly balanced. He left us to flow, but he also had a vision. He was really there, guiding this production.
How was it playing opposite Omar Chaparro and the rest of the wonderful cast?
ROBERTS: What a cast! I learned so much and loved every minute with absolutely everybody. Omar and the others have also shown such support for my work and for my stepson, Keaton Simons’ music! That means the world to me.
How was it being part of an action-packed parody that turns Hollywood clichés and stereotypes about Mexicans on its head?
ROBERTS: That was fun. It’s a sensitive world and people should be embracing each other…All of us. I trust these guys to make fun without hurting feelings.
What was your most memorable moment on set?
ROBERTS: My most memorable moment filming this was the first day shooting the first scene when we couldn’t stop laughing. I thought we’d never get this movie shot.
Did you shoot on location in Mexico, and if so, how was that experience?
ROBERTS: We were on location in Mexico at the exact resort where the family celebrated Keaton’s 21st birthday. We were also at the studio where they shot Titanic (Playas de Rosarito, Baja California). The name plaques were still on the doors. We took pictures.
Have you had a chance to see the completed film yet? What was your reaction?
ROBERTS: I cannot wait to see the completed Compadres!
You’re an extremely busy actor. What do you look for in the projects you choose?
ROBERTS: I look for a script with potential and or actors or directors with potential and location, schedule, a little of everything. There’s always something good to each project.
You work with a lot of young, new directors as well as established filmmakers. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with a new filmmaker?
ROBERTS: There are things to enjoy with the veterans and with the new people. It’s most fun when you have a senior director on set, working with someone new.
What first inspired you to be an actor?
ROBERTS: I got on stage as a little boy and I just fell in love.
Looking back on your impressive career, you’ve played some very powerful and intriguing characters. What do you feel has been your greatest role?
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you about acting?
ROBERTS: To follow Sanford Meisner (American actor & acting teacher) and listen.
What do you have coming up next that you’re excited for people to see?
ROBERTS: I actually had fun doing the Stalked by My Doctor series for Lifetime.
Compadres opens in theaters on April 22nd.