February 2, 2023

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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ stars Tenoch Huerta

3 min read

Introducing a new character to audiences in the rabid Marvel Cinematic Universe can be risky if it’s not stunt casting — think Kurt Russell as Chris Pratt’s father in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” — but Namor in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Soon to own the screen she flew out of the sea on winged feet, decked out in Mesoamerican finery. Even better, Namor is played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, though viewers may recognize him from “Narcos: Mexico.”

But more importantly, Huerta jumped at the chance to represent people who looked like her in a major Hollywood blockbuster. His charisma and passion radiate over the phone as he talks about Mexico, how his dark skin makes him an object of racism, and how the entertainment business prefers “white” Latinos. His activism accelerated when he learned that his niece was being bullied because of her skin color. Huerta noted that local shows in Mexico and Latin America often feature very light-skinned actors, but not so much indigenous or black or other people of color from the region. “Producers say, ‘Oh, it’s because people demand white people in movies,'” he quipped. “But that’s not true. This movie proves that to be false.”

What does it mean for “Wakanda Forever” to be such a big hit?

I like stories like this where presentation isn’t the point of the story. The story itself was important but the presentation was part of the narrative. Within weeks, we made half a billion dollars. So people prefer representation in the best way possible. They don’t care. you know you are brown you are white you are black They love stories.

Americans think that racism is a thing in the US, I think.

When they say people only want to see white people in movies and TV, that’s white supremacy. In Latin America, we have a serious problem with white supremacists.

The movie shows Mesoamerican culture and colonial oppression but also celebrates Namor and his people. Was it fun to be a part of this?

This movie was so much fun to make. I mean, the inspiration of Latin American culture is just an inspiration. Of course, this is not a documentary, of course it is not about the Mayans of today. It’s about the past, this Mesoamerican past. We have to take that movie from that place – and it’s beautiful. I mean, when you play with science fiction, especially with Afrofuturism or Mesoamerican futurism, you can play with these elements and you can create these fantastic worlds.

What did you think when you first saw the picture?

Oh, it blew my mind. I think the first cut was about four and a half hours. And it made me proud of my job and everyone else’s. You know, all my colleagues, directors, producers. Oh, it was just beautiful, to appear for the first time in the movie theater, just watching this fantastic movie.

Do you want to produce or direct?

Yes, of course I wanted to produce or eventually direct, but basically produce different types of films. I mean, it’s not a matter of genre, just so it’s a good story, a drama or a comedy or whatever. But just different story, good story with proper presentation.

There are many great directors and producers in Mexico.

We have stories, we have history, so we have a lot of material to make great shows, movies, dramas … but now our cultural elite, they’re all white and they’re all of European descent, and they have control over the media. Eventually, we will defeat them. We are going to make these new shows and movies. So we will prove our point that representation is important. [Laughs] You can earn good money with representation.

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