EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Guzman Talks The Boy Next Door Playing Diverse Characters in Hollywood!

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During an interview with HuffPost Live last week, Jennifer Lopez — the star and producer of the new thriller The Boy Next Door — explained why she made the conscious decision not to address the ethnic backgrounds of the movie’s two main characters (played by Lopez and her co-star Ryan Guzman).

“We didn’t think about it at all — it wasn’t part of the script. And I’ve done many roles where race is not addressed — you don’t know if I’m Puerto Rican or Cuban or Italian or French — you don’t know what I am. I’ve been lucky enough to get jobs like that. But that’s not normal in this business,” Lopez said.

This week, we asked Lopez’s co-star Ryan Guzman about that decision and whether, as a Latino actor (Ryan is Mexican-American), he thinks it’s a huge step forward to be able to play any nationality — and not be limited to playing just Latino characters.

“I love that Jennifer did that,” Guzman tells EXCLUSIVLee.com. “{Because} not playing to a specific ethnicity is one of the most important factors in casting these days. It’s definitely a huge step as a Latino actor—I want to play roles regardless of {a character’s} nationality or backgroundIt’s about falling into a character and playing someone else, after all,” he says.

RyanFor Guzman — who has been compared to Channing Tatum ever since he signed on to star in the Step Up franchise — the important thing is finding roles that challenge him; starring in quality films and doing serious work (like Tatum did this year with his lead role in Bennett Millers Oscar-nominated film, Foxcatcher).

“I appreciate the comparison to Channing Tatum because I think he’s a fantastic actor,” Guzman tells EXCLUSIVLee.com. “He’s building a very impressive career—I would love a role in a film like Foxcatcher, absolutely!” said Guzman.

Luckily for Guzman, he won’t have to wait very long to work with gifted, award-winning directors. In fact, the in-demand actor just finished filming a new movie called That’s What I’m Talking About with director Richard Linklater, the Oscar-nominated director of this year’s Best Picture frontrunner, Boyhood.

“The opportunity with the gifted Richard Linklater was a dream come true for me,” Guzman tells us. “He’s terrific and I learned so much working with him. I am so grateful to be an actor with these opportunities and look forward to playing diverse characters in quality films as I move forward in my career.”

And if the box office results from Guzman’s new movie The Boy Next Door are any indication (the film opened to a strong $15M last weekend, against a production budget of just $4M!), it looks like Ryan is going to have a very bright career!

Photo courtesy of Marc Cartwright


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About Author

Lee Hernandez is a writer, editor and executive producer. Lee has been the Deputy Editor of Latina Magazine; Editor of Latino Voices at the Pulitzer-Prize winning site The Huffington Post and a breaking news contributor to dozens of leading sites and magazines, including the best-in-class celebrity site PEOPLE.com; Cosmopolitan for Latinas magazine, AOL.com, The Wrap, HollywoodLife, Celebuzz, The New York Daily News and Fox News Latino.