MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) – The opening credits of “Wakanda Forever” appropriately read “Features Tenoch Huerta.”
And boy, has it been quite the introduction.
Huerta’s role as Namor in the “Black Panther” sequel captivated audiences, catapulting him onto the world stage and sparking discussions about race and identity in his native Mexico and elsewhere. In addition, Huerta has been listed among the Associated Press’ Breakthrough Artists of 2022 alongside stars such as Sadie Sink, Daryl McCormack and fellow Marvel artist Iman Vellani.
Like many breakthrough artists, Huerta is not a rookie. He has appeared in several films such as “The Forever Purge” and series such as “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Narcos: Mexico”. But “Wakanda Forever” has catapulted her to a new level of global exposure, which she has used to support a variety of causes such as inclusion and social justice.
Huerta grew up in Ecatepec, a suburban area on the outskirts of Mexico City, noted for its high level of crime, often mentioned with prejudice and disdain by people in the capital.
“It’s not easy coming from there,” Huerta said in a recent interview in Mexico City while promoting “Wakanda Forever.” The area is close to the capital, but “you can spend hours before reaching the nearest metro station, there is violence,” he said.
Huerta, 41, admitted that the fact that she didn’t see “brown people” like her on screen, on stage and in advertising, not to mention, convinced her that acting was not a serious possibility for her. “You can’t dream of something you don’t see,” he said.
He spent several years coaching American football, only considering acting when forced by his father. “When I was 16, my father insisted that I become an actor, he forced me to attend workshops,” said Huerta. “The workshop was for two or three weeks, in the end I spent nine months in it. I really liked it, but it was never my life plan, it was just a hobby.
Despite this, she continued to go to castings and was selected to play a gardener who entertains rich white boys in “Deficit” (2007), the first feature of Gael García Bernal. The film took him to the Cannes Film Festival for the first time, a trip he made again in 2011 with Everardo Gout’s “Days of Grace”, for which he won Ariel, Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscars, for Best Actor.
“Up to that moment I had assumed, I understood, that I was an actor, but it takes a long time and an Ariel nomination, many awards in the world and in Mexico, and finally at that moment I thought ‘Okay , I am an actor.’ It was a process,” Huerta said.
Huerta explained that he was a fan of Marvel movies and was overjoyed when he received a video call from director Ryan Coogler, explaining the plot of “Wakanda Forever”. The story involved a magician and a potion that people drank before jumping into the sea.
“Communication went off for about five minutes, so when he came back he said, ‘So what do you think?'” Huerta recalled. “I never quite clearly understood what the offer was about and then I told my agents, and they found out he (Coogler) was offering me Namor, I was sure it was The Wizard, But he told me ‘No, it’s Namor. ,
His character is the leader of Tlalocan, the underwater world where Namor lives. It’s a vibrant world inspired by pre-Hispanic architecture and culture, created with the help of Mayan culture experts.
“They grew up in Mayan communities, they speak Mayan, and they have the title and all the credentials to work on this film,” Huerta said. “All I can say is that Marvel and Disney are doing a great job of inclusion and representation and that finally people like us, we can see ourselves in this movie, so beautiful, so beautiful and so powerful, it’s a gift.” Is.”
Huerta said that the second best thing to him after he felt confident collaborating with the experts on the film was all the training and battles, learning to hold his breath for minutes under water, and Riggs to simulate Namor’s flights. to use
“In real life… my knees hurt, my back hurts and everything. I’m just human and I’m getting old, by the way,” Huerta said with a smile. “But it’s a great experience to film.”
In Mexico, Huerta has become synonymous with the fight for racial justice, which has led him to receive praise, but has also faced criticism from those who see him as problematic, being a brown person or , as they call it black in Mexico. who denounces prejudice against those who look like themselves.
Huerta recently published a book titled “Preto Pride” in which she recounts her experiences of facing racism and classism in her own country.
“For me this book is a way of saying what we have to learn, what we need to change and try to make a better society. I have written this book especially for children, for youth,” the actor said, who is the father of two daughters. “I try to believe as much as possible that it’s better for them to be in it.”
Seeing herself as a revelatory artist gives Huerta hope.
“I don’t know how my life will change from now on, but I hope this film will impact people, it will impact kids and kids will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel proud,” she added. “If they can see themselves and feel proud, that’s perfect for me.”
To learn more about Associated Press’s Breakthrough Entertainers 2022, visit https://apnews.com/hub/ap-breakthrough-entertainers