By Jose Cruz
With a long career of films under his belt including Chicago’s own Nothing Like the Holidays and writing credits on shows such as MAD TV and In Living Color, Rick Najera is also the writer and creator of his own award-winning comedy, Latinologues, about Latino life in America. When LS found out that Rick was working on his next film Taco Shop, we had to catch up with him based on the title alone. He was even kind enough to submit to a Hot Tamale Round.
Rick has been called the Latino communities Tyler Perry, a title he is happy to embrace. “We both speak to our community through comedy, and his audience and mine loves comedy. There have not been a lot of funny Latino films and I want to change that. Hollywood loves our Dramas but Latinos love our comedies. And comedy is what we do really well. For me comedy is king.” When asked about his thoughts on the new generation of English-dominant Latinos he told us, “it’s an inspirational audience, comfortable living in both worlds and willing to see the world in all it’s richness, and comedy explores that.”
Produced by our friends at Maya Entertainment, Taco Shop stars Tyler Posey (MTV’s “Teen Wolf”). In the new comedy Posey plays ‘Smokes,’ a young Latino who plans to quit his job at a taco shop to open his own shop. But plans soon change and it becomes an all-out war when a high scale taco truck parks across the street. The film also stars Carlos Alazraqui (TV’s “Reno 911”), Eric Roberts (The Expendables), Felipe Esparza (TV’s “Last Comic Standing”), Parvesh Cheena (TV’s “Outsourced”), Johnny Sanchez (MAD TV ), Paula Jai Parker ( FRIDAY) and Laura Harring ( Mulholland Drive).
“I think it’s a great film because we take something so common (A taco shop) and fill it with purpose” said Rick. “They have big dreams, even though they are all common people, and this little shop has a big theme. And that them is the neighborhood ”mom and pop” type store versus big business.”
Hot Tamale Round-
If you could have worked with one actor/actress now deceased, who would it be?
Rick: I’m a little complicated because I’m a writer/actor/producer. As an actor Lucille Ball, as a producer Dezie Arnez, and as a writer Mell Brooks. I was on a plane with him and was too intimidated to say hello.
Which living person do you admire the most?
Rick: Person’s: The soldiers, serving our country. I toured overseas this year and every one of them was hero to me. I can’t thank them enough . I was in Diego Garcia and those men and woman called me a hero for flying out there. And I thought I’m telling jokes you’re getting shot at it.
What characteristics of yours do you like the least?
Rick: My crippling Adult Atentiton Disorder….. What was the question? and my dyslexia I can’t spell and I’m a writer.
Cats or dogs?
Rick: Whichever one is the most house broken.
When do you lie?
Rick: Never! Ok, almost never. I’m a really bad liar so I try not to because I can’t do it.
Who is the greatest love of your life?
Rick: My family… my wife Susie and Kids Julian Sonora and Kennedy those three kids are my biggest production. And my Mother I’m a latino guy, we can never forget our moms.
Where would you rather live, near the sea or on a hill?
Rick: Sea but where ever my family is I’ll be there.
Your favorite movie is?
Rick: Any one I have written. But seriously, bits of different movies. The last monologue in “Blade Runner” or Charlie Chaplin’s monologue in “The Great Dictator” so many moments, oh, the last moment in “Cinema Paradiso” all those moments made my life.
Who would play you in your bio?
Rick: That’s easy Damien Bichir (A Better Life, Weeds) plus I know him so he would do a better job playing me than me.
If you could see any singer or band play live tomorrow, it would be?
Rick: Mana with Juan Luis Guerra playing anything.
What’s your favorite name?
Rick: “Conception” it was my grandfathers.
(Finish this sentence) I know I have Latino blood in me because I…
Rick: I’m dramatic and funny at the same time that is ironic.
Taco Shop is in production and as always we’ll have you the “yummy” details when it opens.