Oct 23, 2016
STEVE WILCOX is a Venezuelan born actor who had early success in American Me. It was rap icon Tupac Shakur's favorite movie and he sampled one of Steve's lines in Death Around the Corner. Working on the film was a watershed experience that still keeps Steve pursuing his dream 25 years later. (36:35)
The 1992 film “American Me” was Edward James Olmos’ directorial debut. But the movie also marked the professional acting debut for STEVE WILCOX who played teenaged J.D., the white kid who becomes a member of a Chicano gang in 1950s East LA. William Forsythe was cast as the adult J.D. and Steve had to adopt some of Forsythe’s mannerisms and physical attributes. As Steve tells me in VENEZUELAN-AMERICAN ME, he was fitted with an unwieldy dental prosthetic that gave him an unintended lisp, which he had to learn to speak without.
A few years later, Steve worked with rap icon Tupac Shakur in “Gang Related” who told him that he’d actually – unbeknownst to Steve -- sampled some of his dialogue from “American Me” on his track “Death Around the Corner.” Tupac promised to give Steve a copy of it the next time he saw him, but was shot and killed a few weeks later.
Playing a white kid in a Latin culture came naturally to Steve. Born and raised in Venezuela to a Canadian father and a Venezuelan mother, Steve says he was always the whitest kid he knew. To make matters worse, his mother dressed him in nothing but white clothing (shoes and boots, too) for five years as part of a pact she’d made with patron saint Jose Gregorio Hernandez who, she believed, answered her prayers to save her young son who was dying of spinal meningitis.
Steve is a survivor, and for 25 years has been a mostly-working Hollywood actor. Given his particular look (he’s been compared to Tom Waits, Nick Nolte and Ron Perlman) he often plays bad guys, which he loves to do.
Thanks to his connections in LA’s growing Venezuelan artistic community, Steve has recently appeared in a number of Venezuelan movies, including “La Hora Cero” and “Libertador.” BTW: Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is a friend. The charismatic maestro used to call Steve “Gringo” but now has a new nickname for him: “Creepy.” And it has nothing to do with the kind of roles he plays.
Many thanks to the composers of the music featured in this episode royalty free through Creative Commons licensing:
1. "I'm Going for a Coffee" by Lee Rosevere - leerosevere.bandcamp.com
2. "Anders" by Blue Dot Sessions - sessions.blue/sessions/
3. "Liquor Files" by Blue Dot Sessions - sessions.blue/sessions/
4. Latin Rhythm by Sunsearcher