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Victor Padilla Speaks with Puerto Rican Actors Paul Calderon and David Zayas


Paul Calderon and David Zayas

Victor Padilla:  Were going to talk about the Divine Horsemen and many things I definitely want to al about that and promote it on our online magazine. S tell us how you guys started, you guys started this like way back? What year was it that you actually started or go the idea to do the Divine Horseman?

Paul Calderon: 1995

Victor Padilla:  95 wow, and what was the inspiration behind it?

Paul Calderon: uh we needed a play to open the season with hah, we didn’t have one haha

Victor Padilla:  So whose idea was it, both of you guys got together and created it or?

David Zayas:  No, I was really just starting out I hadn’t really done much when and Paul wrote this I wasn’t going to be in it I was going to be the stage manager of it, that had to be 1995, but circumstances happened that the actor that was playing the role of Iffy which Im playing now, he couldn’t do it, so I jumped in and it was a really great experience.

Victor Padilla:  Wow, tell us a little about the show and the baseline of it, the purpose behind it

Paul Calderon: Back then or now?

Victor Padilla:  Well back then and then now, kind of like a recap                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Paul Calderon: Well back then again I was working on a novel and my wife was the artistic director of the theatre company at the time and I said listen you need a play to open the season with, you don’t have one, turn those ideas that you are working on in the novel into a play and I wrote it like in a couple of weeks and lucky for me I had great talent behind me, you know David was able to step in to take over a very challenging role, we had John Ortiz, Phillip Seymore Hoffman, and you know, we had a great experience we did a workshop and the response was great, and then shortly after it was auctioned off, it just didn’t go the way that I envisioned it, because all of a sudden the Latino characters were turned into something else, I took the rights back and shelved it. Then this past year David and my wife coerced me into bringing it back.

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Victor Padilla:  That’s cool, so David, tell us where your from and a little bit of your family history

David Zayas: Well my parents were born in Puerto Rico and I was born in the Bronx and raised in the Bronx and yea over by I grew up by southern blvd over there and when I got older we moved to the Soundview section of the Bronx. And yea that where I grew up. I come from a really strong influence Puerto Rican background, still am, still living in the Bronx, I’m living in the ghetto right now, things are going good got into acting late in life, joined the air force when I was 18, came back became a cop for NY for 15 years, then started acting.

Victor Padilla:  So playing police parts is easier for you for or is it weird?

David Zayas: None of it is easy really, you know certain things come easy, the jargon, the police jargon, comes more naturally to me maybe more than someone else you know, but It all boils down to the specificity of what was written for you and you try to make that true as you can

Victor Padilla:  Yea that’s true, and Paul tell us a little about your history and stuff which I already know but let’s talk about it hehe

Paul Calderon: I was born in Puerto Rico, I came here when I was 6 I didn’t know any English, my uncles kept stressing when I would speak to them in Spanish and they would say to speak in English but I didn’t know any English. It was rough coming here because there was no bilingual education in school back then, it was pretty tough. You know the public school in New York back then in the 50s were pretty rough you know but it gave me a lot to draw from for characters in the future.

Victor Padilla:  And things are so different with school now a days you know and kids are going to grow up with hunchbacks because they’re all hunched over looking at their phones hahahha.

So David tell us a little about what your inspiration was to get into acting what and who inspired you

David Zayas: I think I was 12 when I went to see Dog Day Afternoon, and I was like oh wow I don’t know what’s going on but I kind of want to get involved in whatever the experience Im going through in this moment with this film and from there it was always in the back of my mind, I wanted to be involved somehow.  You know then life takes over and you put it on the back burner and then when I was like 29 I said you know I’m going to give it a shot. Started going to acting classes and getting involved with everything that was there at the time that I was able to get involved with, I had to surround myself with people that I saw had took this seriously and was going to teach me how to have a good work ethic. I’m a good observer.

Victor Padilla:  So Paul tell us a little about your inspiration and what got you started into acting..

Paul Calderon: You know I was always a movie buff, my mom was very strict and sometimes she wouldn’t let me go out especially when we came to this country. I used to spend hours and hours watching movies on tv because back then it was just movies around the clock. Then my mom and my step dad, we would go to the movies religiously on the weekends, and I remember seeing Viva Zapata, Shane, The Blob, a whole bunch of great films, and back then, before the movies would begin, they would part the curtains, and it would be such an experience I remember asking my mom “do these actors know each other?” Haha. I told her I think I wanna be an actor I must have been 6 or 7. Then it went on the backburner for years.

Victor Padilla:  So David tell us about a something funny that happened during filming…

Paul Calderon: Funny moments, I have so many of them. I think filming a scene where I come out of the car with my gun running after somebody and had a woman come and put her arms around me because she recognized me and having to yell cut, and then I have the gun in my hand so it was weird and funny

Victor Padilla:  So Paul tell us a funny moment

Paul Calderon:   Well my wife is here so she recently pointed out this moment, I was doing Sea of Love with Pacino in 89, and we were shooting by west 86th st it was like 2 in the morning and we had a break we had a dinner break, at 2 in the morning, Pacino says, Im going to Hermes which was this famous restaurant on 72nd st and Broadway, hahah we all started running after him because he’s walking down the block to get in the cab and I push my wife to the side and start running after Pacino to go to Hermes with him hahhha!

Victor Padilla:  Did she yell bring me something back hahah

Paul Calderon:  She was pissed hahaha

Victor Padilla:  So tell us a little bit about where Divine Horsemen is showing and how people can get tickets and stuff and where to go online

David Zayas: Well we have one more week left, from the 4th through the 27th and its at Access Theatre, on the 4th floor, tickets are $25.oo, they can visit our website: https://divinehorsemen.brownpapertickets.com, itll sell out quick so buy the tickets

Victor Padilla:  Are you only doing it there are you going to start doing it out of state in different locations

Paul Calderon:  The reason why we went ahead with the interview is that were open to move it to continue with it.

Victor Padilla:  Now we come down to the very important question for both of you which is : What is your favorite Latino food and do you love Cuban sandwiches?

David Zayas: Where you at, are you in Miami?

Victor Padilla:  No, No, I am 5 hours away from Miami but Im a Tampa boy, Im from Tampa, Ybor city area.

Paul Calderon:  You mentioned the Cuban sandwiches before Victor hahahha

David Zayas:  You know listen, its always been a favorite of mine the arroz y habichuelas con pernil, I don’t say no to that wherever Im at and if its done good its even better. Ive curved on that recently trying to keep my weight down.

Victor Padilla:  Yea that’s a hard one to resist, any latin food lol.  So do you like Cuban Sandwiches?

David Zayas:  I do like Cuban Sandwiches, not a big pickle fan, and they usually put pickles in it, but I can get used to a good Cuban sandwich

Victor Padilla:  Good! And Paul

Paul Calderon: Probably my favorite latin food now that I think about it is when my mom would make arroz con gandules y carne guisada.

Victor Padilla:  So who in your lifetime guys has been your hero or inspiration in Life

David Zayas: That’s a very objective question, I think that it would be my father, because of the amazing work ethic that kind of brushed off on me, the responsibility. There is a lot of family members that Ive observed that have had a positive influence on me

Paul Calderon: Positive impact? Early on I can’t say I had too many. I had to get through a lot on my own. I had some Uncles that were cool guys but some of their habits were not something to emulate, so years later in life when I met someone that was a beautiful spirit I was able to learn from later on in life, he has since has passed he wasn’t an actor, he was just a  beautiful spirit and I was able to learn how to work others through him you know.

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