Edgar Ramirez thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
At the time, he was sitting in a park in his native Venezuela with Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Iñárritu weighing the pros and cons of becoming an actor.
The director, who has the highly anticipated “Birdman” coming out later this month, had just finished making “Amores Perros.” He had originally offered the starring role to Ramirez, whom he had seen in a short student film.
“This could have been you,” Iñárritu told him when he showed him a clip from the movie. Ramirez, then a college student, passed on the role because he was planning a career as a diplomat and had lined up postgraduate internships.
When Iñárritu talked to him a second time about becoming an actor, Ramirez was heading a nonprofit group in Venezuela similar to Rock the Vote. This time Ramirez took the plunge, and now it’s paying off for the 37-year-old actor.
He plays South American freedom fighter Simón Bolivar in “The Liberator,” out in select theaters today. In the upcoming “Hands of Stone,” he plays the legendary boxer Roberto Duran with Robert De Niro playing his trainer. Currently, he’s filming the role of Bodhi (originally played by Patrick Swayze) in the new version of “Point Break.”
It’s not like Ramirez is an unknown. He received Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations for starring in the 2010 miniseries “Carlos,” the true story of the infamous terrorist known by that name. He also had prominent roles in “Che,” “Clash of the Titans” and its sequel, “Wrath of the Titans,” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”
In “The Liberator,” directed by Alberto Arvelo, he stars as a rather dashing version of the general. We first meet Bolivar in the film when he is leaping off the balcony of his lover as assassins come in the door.
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