Photos Courtesy of Javier Lezama
Javier Lezama is a Peruvian-born actor and musician currently residing in Los Angeles. Lezama has starred in short and feature films, commercials, music videos, and industrials. He has starred in two LGBT themed short movies, KISS ME and FALLEN COMRADE. FALLEN COMRADE is a story about the bond two soldiers in the US Army share and the impact after one is lost in combat.
FALLEN COMRADE has played in several gay film festivals in the past year and has earned several awards. It is nominated for Best Drama at the Tucson’s International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival’s Crystal Cactus Awards which takes place on Sunday January 27, 2013. Lezama talked to PrideIndex about his career, goals as an entertainer and special mission with the President of the United States.
PRIDEINDEX: I’ve taken a glance at your resume and I noticed that you were a United States Marine and you were also a boxer. In the movies you also play a soldier and a boxer. How ironic is it that art is imitating your life? What do you think about that?
JAVIER LEZAMA: I love it. I think that it’s amazing because I did not know that I wanted to be an actor until I was age 23. It has really helped that I have lived a life’s experience where I got to put on different hats. I played every sport growing up as a kid. I came from an entirely different culture from Peru so when I started acting I noticed that all of those different shoes that I had put on throughout my life have helped me when it comes to booking roles.It’s a blessing; I guess everything happens for a reason.
PI: Why did you quit the United States Marines?
JL: I did my four years and although it was a great experience I did not want to make a career out of it. Right after I’d left the Marines I started to take theater classes to get my feet wet on stage. The whole military experience was good; I just did not see me doing it as my life’s career like I did with acting and the entertainment industry.
PI: Describe your experience growing up in Peru, why did you come to the United States?
JL: Peru is third world country. There are wide areas of the country where people live in extreme poverty. I came to the United States in 1993 with my mother and my two siblings to escape the poverty and because my siblings and I suffered from severe asthma that were triggered by the humid weather. I remember as a kid having to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night and missing school for the whole week because I’d had asthma attacks. My extended family of my aunts, uncles and my grandmother where already here in the States, when she would call, they used to tell my mother to leave Peru and come to USA where she did not have to worry about the asthma. So we moved here for what was supposed to have been a few months.
PI: You studied dance, and you sing and act. What is your ultimate goal as an entertainer?
JL: You know that’s funny because I am not a singer but I do hip-hop so I am considered to be a rapper. I do have a background in dance. For a short time I was practicing with this dance crew in Oakland called Destiny’s Art. And they did shows and were pretty known out there. It was more like a hobby that I picked up on and learned some pop and lock moves. So I can still get down. I still have my moves down. As far as hip hop goes it also originated as a hobby until I came to Los Angeles where I started to take it seriously it, performing, recording tracks, doing shows and making music videos. My stage name is Eltumi.
And as far as acting I think that acting was always my main thing.If I have to choose one, I love doing music and theater but I guess that acting comes more natural in the sense that the more I did it the more it became natural. I feel blessed to be doing a little bit of everything when it comes to entertainment and I guess I am the triple threat. It is what I have been referred to and I will see how far I can it.
PI: I understand that you have worked with Rihanna on her video, what was like to work with her?
JL: It was truly a blessing. Rihanna is super cool. At first she seemed to be a little shy, she was not very talkative at first. She did not come across a being just more reserved. But once she pulled her wall down she was really cool. (Laughs) It is really funny because I can actually say that I taught Rihanna and Young Jeezy how to play poker. The director came up to us because we were going to simulate a scene where we were going to play cards. But then he asked if anyone knew how to play poker. I was the only one who knew so the director asked me to show them some of the basics. They were really cool and humble once.
PI: Does that mean that we will see you on Midnight Poker with other big ballers and celebrities any time in the future?
JL: (Laughs) Well sure I’ll take it if I am ever given the opportunity. I am not a big time poker player, I know how to play but not like a big gambler like that. But if someone calls me and gives me the chance then I am there.
PI: Looking at the films that you’ve starred in which one was your favorite? Why?
JL: They each have had their own element that I really liked so I would have to ask what you mean by favorite. Do you mean by overall product or which one was my favorite in terms of working on it?
PI: Let’s address overall product first then go into your most favorite you like to play in?
JL: For overall Product I would have to say I liked FALLEN COMRADE, and the movie is doing is doing really well. It’s earned eight awards in the film festival circuit and we are going for a ninth one. In the next couple of weeks I am going to be going to Tucson, Arizona because it is nominated for Best Short at Tucson’s International Gay Film Festival. I was satisfied with the film as a whole everything about the film was good. The detail, the quality, the directing and the acting; it was all there. It was a very controversial film that I enjoyed being a part of.
The one film that I have had the most fun working on was SIN PADRE because even though it was a story based on the director’s life I felt in a way that it was a story about me as well. The lead character was a kid from Honduras and I was a kid from Peru both of us were immigrants. And I was a kid that grew up without a father because my dad stayed in Peru after we came to the United States so from the time I was 9 years old up until the present day, so I am a kid who grew up without a father. I needed that male figure to look up to so I was able to personalize the story to my character in SIN PADRE. I was that character so I found myself emotionally able to go back to those years when I grew up.
PI: If FALLEN COMRADE where to be made into a full length film would you want to reprise your role?
JL: That’s the plan, to make FALLEN COMRADE into a full length film.
PI: Are you going to star in the feature film version?
JL: There is talk about that right now. The director mentioned that I would possible audition for the role. He is in the process of still writing the film. If he wants s to go with me again in the lead role I will be happy to do it. If he feels that someone else is more right for the role that’s okay as well? Any way that I can I want to contribute to that film even if it is not the lead role. If a short film can generate this much success, granted that the feature film if it is well written is just going to blow up. I can really see it taking off. I would definitely want to help out any way that I can with that film.
PI: How do you select which roles to audition or go out for?
JL: (Hmmm) I go for roles that apply to me, such as one that features Latinos, a tough guy, or athletes. I also go out for the pretty boy, or guy who gets the girl. It’s a combination of all of those things that I can relate to, so I submit my resume and they invite me in to audition for the part. Honestly speaking I am flexible as an actor and will stretch myself for different parts.
PI: What projects are you working on right now?
JL: I’ve recently finished a project called DETAINED IN THE DESERT which was written by Josefina Lopez, who wrote “Real Women Have Curves.” And there’s a film called SELENCIA, which is an anti bullying short film. I am currently working on that. We are shooting a film this weekend called SINGULARITY, a Sci-Fi film about a group of Special Forces that has to rescue the President from aliens. It’s a bad ass film from a cool director.
PI: What do you do to keep yourself in shape or train for these roles?
JL: I go to the gym almost daily. I do weightlifting, a lot of running, jump rope and boxing. Whenever I have a bad day I just go to the gym and take it all out on the bag. (Laughs) It beats hitting someone that I really don’t like. That’s my workout, that’s how I take out all of my anger. I do a little bit of everything the one thing that I want to do more of is swimming. The weather over here in LA is currently cold and that’s something I want to do more of. But as far as my work out goes I do cardio and weightlifting.
PI: Which of the following drinks most closely match your personality? (A.) A Beer. (B.) A Martini. (C.) A Shot of Vodka.
JL: (Laughs) Gotta love those original questions! Honestly I would have to say a shot of vodka. I am not a real drinker or the kind of guy who drinks just because I’m watching the game. I drink very sporadically so when I do drink, I do it big for the effect for the buzz. I am not a big drunk either. (Laughs) It’s just that I work hard; I am a go getter so I have to have my fun too.
PI: What do you like to do for fun?
JL: I like to go dancing. Whether it’s a salsa club or a hip hop club, I like to go out to dance and to relax. And if there is a big event or red carpet like, I like to attend. I only go out after a long week of hard work. I do it as my way of rewarding myself. I do not go out too often I like to get lots of work done first before going out to play.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now or 10 years from now?
JL: Five years from now I see myself doing what I am doing right now. However a lot more successful taking on bigger projects booking more quality films of great caliber. Getting representation because that’s something that I need right now. Doing what I am doing right now but bigger and twice as many better projects.
As for ten years I see myself doing even bigger things, ten times the size of what I am doing right now. God willing I will be like Michael Pina, a household name. In ten years I hope that when you say my name it would ring a bell instantly. I would be a lot more successful than I am right now. But I can say that things have been going well because every year I see progress. This year my name does have an effect a lot more than last year. And last year it had more of an effect than the year before. So I cannot complain as much.
PI: What else would you like to tell us?
JL: I would say watch out for the new movies I am in. And I have a mix tape and album that will be dropping this year. Look out for those by ELTUMI on Eltumimusic.com. I‘ve just finished shooting a music video for a political song called “Monster.” I have a lot of stuff coming up. I‘ve got to stay hungry and motivated.
Check out Javier’s Acting Reel click here.