Actor Rene Rosado
Charming, charismatic and greatly talented. Rene Rosado continues to capture our hearts in his new role as Gustavo (Gus) Wallace on the hit TV show, “Major Crimes.” Gus’ story is heartfelt and makes for a great storyline.
In his interview with Living Out Loud – Los Angeles, Rosado reveals that if he could be in a movie with anyone, he would love to star in a film directed by his mentor Francisco Ordonez and featuring his friend Gina Rodriguez, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington and John Leguizamo. He also speaks to us about what being a Latino actor on a major TV show like “Major Crimes” means to him, having a strong support system and his amazing non-profit organization, A.I.M.
LOL-LA: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in acting?
Rene Rosado: Wow, I actually didn’t know. It just seemed to all work out. I started acting about 13 years ago in New York City doing commercials, and from commercials, I worked my way to TV, and it just kept working. I was in the middle of studying sociology and human rights at the University of Connecticut, and then once I graduated with my Bachelor’s, I decided to pursue this full time, and here we are, having this conversation.
LOL-LA: Was there anyone who helped push or guide you towards acting?
RR: Yeah, actually a lot of my New York friends that I got to meet helped guide me, especially my director friend Francisco Ordonez. … We did a short together called St. Paul, and he’s been my mentor pretty much this entire time. Not only just learning the business, but also learning the passion that he has for this art. He has guided me the entire way.
LOL-LA: Who are some of the actors you admire or that inspire you?
RR: DiCaprio for sure! What he just did with The Revenant, you have to be inspired by that if you’re an artist. Filming those long hours in that cold and still delivering such a solid performance – that’s just inspiring. Another one is John Leguizamo because, being a Latino actor, you want to be like John. He is not only good at what he does but based off his work, his passion for this craft. This guy studied with the great Lee Strasberg. Denzel is … oh my God. You can see his passion in his work. All these artists, I can’t wait to one day work with them.
LOL-LA: How have each of your roles shaped you into the actor you are today?
RR: It’s the experience, love. The experience that you get to have on camera or learning what you have to do, the amount of work that you have to put in for each character have definitely molded me because each character is different. You’ve got to dive in to other things in your life that either you have faced or haven’t faced. Every time I have a new character, I’m just trying to find something new about myself. That’s the best part about being an actor or an actress, right? The fact that we have an opportunity to dive into who we are, or even to those moments or sides we don’t know, and start discovering them. Each time you work, audition or are preparing for a role, you’re learning so much more about yourself.
LOL-LA:What does being a Latino actor on a major TV show like “Major Crimes” mean to you?
RR: It’s an honor. There wouldn’t be as many Latino roles now if it wasn’t for the door openers, from Edward James Olmos to Esai Morales. They went through it, you know what I mean? (laughs) The fact that these door openers came about and have given us a new opportunity, man, I just hope that one day I become a door opener. That would be awesome.
LOL-LA: How was the process of landing your role on “Major Crimes?”
RR: It was really intense because the scene that they had me audition with was when my character just discovered that his sister, Mariana, had been murdered. The scene was pretty much me walking into a morgue, discovering my sister’s lifeless body there and then being interviewed by the police. It was really intense because when you go to an audition, there is no body. You see no body physically, you have to imagine it. On top of that, you have the producers and the network there. Everyone is there in that room, and I’m here just crying my eyes out, pretending that there’s something in front of me, and there isn’t. (laughs) It was a really intense process. … They called me back three times, and each one was for a good 30 minutes of crying.
LOL-LA: How has your experience on “Major Crimes” been, and how has it changed your life?
RR: The experience has been phenomenal. The cast and crew have been working together for about 12 years now, because “Major Crimes” is a spinoff of a show called “The Closer,” so when I came in the show was a well-oiled machine, and you just gotta jump in there with them. At first, it could be a little nerve-wracking, but they made it very easy for me. It was as good as it could get; they’re all so nice. It’s slowly changing my life with the amount of experience that I’m getting as it becomes a norm to go to work and each day, no matter how much experience you have, each day is always new. It’s the experience that allows you to fall into character faster, to become comfortable – I don’t even want to say comfortable because I don’t really like that word – to adjust easier to working in a studio with so many people there. There’s multiple cameras, there’s a huge crew, so the experience alone has altered my life because it’s helped me grow artistically and spiritually.
LOL-LA: Talk a little bit about your character, Gus Wallace.
RR: Gus is a very in-depth character. He is a vet; he comes back from Afghanistan, from the war, to search for his two younger sisters, only to find out that one was murdered. The other sister is put into a foster care family that he’s never heard of. After the trial of his sister’s murderer, he decides to move to L.A. to see if he can start a new life there, because it’s closer to where his [other] sister is. In the midst of that, he ends up falling in love with Rusty Beck. S,o the character is going through a lot: He’s not only finding who he is, but he is dealing with the loss of his sister and the loss of his family. He has no family. The only family that he does have is his little sister, Paloma, whom he can’t see for another three years. The only thing that I think that is keeping him afloat is this new love that he has with Rusty Beck.
LOL-LA: Being Latino, there’s a lot of “machismo” in the culture. How hard was it, or is it, to play a gay man, and how did you let your family know about the role?
RR: It’s funny because we all grew up like that, right? There’s this whole machismo thing, but in the end, and I think our generation understands it more, it’s just love. There is religion and sexuality, and so with that and the way I live my life, I love everyone. I really do, so it wasn’t a hard adjustment at all. Especially as an artist, you get to give life to this character, and that’s an incredible opportunity. So with that, we just went to work and developed this beautiful character. My family was just proud; they’ve always been my No. 1 supporters.
LOL-LA: Are you planning on doing anything in Spanish?
RR: If the opportunity comes about, I’d love to do it! One of my dreams, actually, is to go to Puerto Rico and film. Being Puerto Rican and going back to the island and doing what you love, that’s one of my biggest dreams. Now, the opportunity hasn’t come about, but if anyone reads this, let’s do it! (laughs)
LOL-LA: Tell me a little bit more about A.I.M, your non-profit organization.
RR: When I was younger, I was a part of a program that brings higher education to low-income families. That program was called Upward Bound. Upward Bound brings in kids between eighth grade and high school, and they’ll tutor them and guide them throughout high school so they can be ready for college. Now there’s what’s called the trio program. You start with Upward Bound and then you work your way up through college to Student Support Services. I was a part of Upward Bound and Student Support Services, so I’ve always wanted to give back to that program. I didn’t know how, so we started A.I.M. (Artistic Inspiration and Mentoring), going to different schools and talking to the Upward Bound students. I bring in different kinds of actors and actresses that not only speak to the students, but also divide the students into different groups and the students will write a little bit about their lives and we’ll act with each other the story about their life. It’s to inspire the kids, to teach them the importance of higher education and the importance of the art. We go there to inspire the kids, and everyone I’ve brought ends up being inspired by the kids.
LOL-LA: What’s next for Rene Rosado? What do you have planned for the remainder of the year?
RR: Right now what I have planned is to finish the season, which I’m really excited about. It’s been really awesome. I also have a film called Asher that we will be shooting sometime this year. That’s it for now, just the show and a couple other films that are on the line right now.
Season 5 of “Major Crimes” premieres June 13 at 10 p.m. on TNT.