THE SMOLDERING, SEDUCTIVE SLOW BURN OF ALEXANDER BEDRIA By Sandra Castillo
He embraces his emotional latitude as titanium, industrial-strength armor, which refuses to bend to anything other than the truth. He is a stalwart force, almost defiant to a beautiful fault but ingrained with just the perfect amount of vulnerability to ward off any residuals of predictability. It’s a given that absolutely nothing is ever going to stand in his way, when it’s time for the director to signal, “Lights. Camera. Action!”
Then, it’s on for Alexander Bedria.
Whether he is portraying a sympathetic priest in HBO’s“The Newsroom,” a dedicated DEA agent working to enforce the law and justice in “Mayans M.C.” or taking on the gorgeous wiles and fiery temperament of Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in “Desi,” one cannot help but take notice of the quiet storm brewing in the soul of this multi-faceted actor, whenever he is in his zone.
Bedria, who was born in New York City but now resides in Los Angeles, possesses the same brooding intensity and soul persuasion as other outstanding acting luminaries-Mark Ruffalo, Vincent D’Onofrio, with a hint of Benicio del Toro thrown in for good measure. He is on par with those who have left their indelible mark in an industry where only the most resolute survive. Clearly, Bedria is in a league of his own, and it won’t be long before the world knows his name.
RG Magazine recently caught up with Bedria to find out more about what kickstarted his journey into acting and what the future has in store for him. Here is what he shared with the publication.
Who or what influenced you to pursue a life and career based on your desire to act?
I’ve always loved movies. As a child, I completely lost myself in them…though I don’t think that translated into a conscious desire to pursue a career in show business. I’m not sure I even thought of it as an option. When I discovered theater at my first year in college, I felt completely in love. It just felt like the deepest, most personal form of expression that-up until that point-I never had. It connected with me so much that I stopped attending all my other courses and went all-in on acting. I haven’t looked back since.
Are any of your family members involved in acting or the business?
I had zero connections to the business when I started, family or otherwise.
Your bio reads that you grew up in New York City. Talk a bit about what that was like for you and if the city ever inspired you in any way to become an actor.
I was born in New York City but actually grew up on Long Island. I was, honestly, such a shy kid that the idea of performing would’ve likely made me ill. In fact, I remember getting out of an elementary school play because my family had a vacation planned-and being completely relieved for it!
What was your first acting role?
The first role I was cast in was “Billy Bob” in a college production of Lu Anne Hampton Laverty Oberlander.
What goes through your psyche when you are in the zone of your character portrayal?
It depends on the role and situation. If I’m truly “in it,” nothing would be going through my mind other than being in the flow of what’s happening in the moment. Of course, that tends to be elusive, so I try to be open to whatever it is I’m thinking or feeling, even if it seems contradictory to what the character might be experiencing. That tension can often lead me down an unexpected (and surprising) path.
Ray Donovan. The Zim. Mayans M.C. Please introduce the readers to your characters for each one of these film/TV shows.
Ray Donovan-I played a character named Marco, who, without alerting family, threw his mentally ill sister in an institution after years of having his compassion for her numbed by her pattern of harmful behavior.
The Zim-I played Daniel Silva, a Zimbabwean farmer struggling to protect his family during a violent farm invasion.
Mayans M.C.-I played Santiago Martin Heimler, a dedicated and honest DEA agent working on the Calexico border at the intersection of the Mayans Motorcycle Club, the Cartels and the American and Mexican governments.
Besides the movies and TV series previously stated, have you ever acted in anything else?
I’ve been fortunate to work on projects like The Newsroom, Scandal, 90210, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, and even had a small role in The Amazing Spider Man a few years ago. Plus, a few others that you’ve likely (and thankfully) never heard of!
Describe what it personally means to be an actor.
It means a great deal to me. It was something that really gave me a sense of purpose; especially, when I discovered it, which was a time in my life, when I felt lost and rudderless. It creates an opportunity to generate empathy within myself as a necessity of the craft, and hopefully through that, empathy from the audience for the role I’m playing and story he’s a part of.
“The Zim” went on to win several prestigious awards and honors, including Winner in the “Best of Fest” in the LA Shorts Fest in 2017, while receiving well-deserved recognition and accolades from the cinema industry. Based on true life events, the movie showcases one man’s struggle and personal challenges in his harrowing decision to either “flee” his country” or stand firm and face his adversary. What exactly compelled you to direct this film that hinges on a man’s due diligence and determination to do what he feels is the right thing for himself and the allegiance for his country?
The answer is in large part in how you framed the question…that, in deeply rooted conflicts, the solution is rarely clear. Or better yet, there is no clear solution. I find stories that explore these kinds of themes, which transcend race, time and place, endlessly fascinating.
What do you enjoy most about directing films, as was your decision to do so with “The Zim?”
I love the entire process. From concept to post-production. It feels like both a deeply personal form of expression and a communal one. If I had to boil it down to a single answer, it would be the collaborative aspect.
The comparisons are inevitable between the critically acclaimed “Sons of Anarchy” and “Mayans M.C.,” as both shows deal exclusively with bikers and the drama and volatility of their lives. Talk a bit about your role in “Mayans M.C.” and if the character allowed you to explore the edgier, darker nuances in a way that only enhances your acting abilities.
Though “Sons of Anarchy” and “Mayans M.C.” are both shows that pulled no punches, regarding the brutality of the world they depicted, my character-as a DEA agent-wasn’t directly involved with the Mayans themselves. He and his fellow agents walked on the outside edges of that world, trying to maintain normal lives. I thought a lot about what it might be like for Santiago to come home to his wife and young sons, after days or weeks undercover, and how the unspeakable things he saw might bleed into his psyche.
NCIS: Los Angeles is your next big step into the fray as you will be guest starring on the iconic show as FBI Special agent Randall Cejudo. Talk a bit about how this role came to fruition and what it feels like to be a part of something firmly entrenched in the vast collective of millions of fans who can’t get enough of this series.
I’m honored to be a part of the show and the rich history of the NCIS universe! It feels like a right-of-passage as an actor, as I’ve had many friends who’ve done great work on NCIS, NCIS: LA and NCIS: New Orleans, and I’m glad I finally had a chance to join the party!
I’ve auditioned for the wonderful NCIS casting directors Susan Bluestein and Jason Kennedy many times over the years. I really credit them with continuing to invite me in and trusting that the right role would come along. Cejudo came around, and he easily was the role I would have chosen out of all of them.
It’s been noted that NCIS director Dan Liu gives you high praise for your work on the series and was quoted as saying this about you–
“Alex quickly grasped the human side of the brash agent and added a nuanced performance that greatly enhanced the character.”
What’s your take on this and does it push you to be the best at your craft that you can possibly be?
That was incredibly kind of Dan to say. I had a fantastic time working with him, and if I was able to enhance the character in any way, it’s only because he offered me the space and freedom to do so.
What’s up next for Alexander Bedria, where the Universe and beyond has paved the way for your talents as an actor?
I’m just interested in continuing to challenge myself through complex roles and interesting projects, as well as developing stories to nurture and bring to fruition with collaborators both in the television and film space. In terms of what you can see me in next, I’ll be in the thriller Aftermath (with Ashley Greene and Shawn Ashmore), in theaters 2020!