Apocalypto Star: Mel's a 'Great Guy'
12/23/2006 AT 06:00 AM EST
How did you end up meeting with Mel for the role?
I came to California to create a dance production. I was here three months and stumbled upon an open casting call. I went in all cowboy-ed up in my boots and everybody else (was) all GQ. I met with the casting director and then I came back and met with Mel. He had me run around his conference table and he said I ran like an animal and I seemed like a man's man. Later that day he called me and asked if I could get on a plane to Mexico City the next day. I thought I was flying out as a featured extra. I said, "What is this for?" And he laughed and said, "Hasn't anyone told you? This is for the lead of my film; you're the star of my movie."
What was it like to work with him?
Mel is a great guy – very smart. We automatically clicked and came together. He would look at me, and I knew what he wanted. He helped me a lot because this was my first film.
The role is pretty demanding. How did you train for it?
I am a runner, always been a runner. I box. I'm an athlete, you know. If you are a Texas boy, you either play football or you have a tutu on. I made it a point to want to do the stunts. The role involved a lot of movement and I enjoy movement – any kind. It was very demanding, but I love the word "challenge." I wanted to do it, whether it meant I got banged up or not. And I got banged up.
And the jaguar chase scene – was that real?
I ran in front of a live jaguar. It was running, you know. I believe it was from down there (in Mexico). They had wranglers for it. But it's an animal, and you should never take your eyes off an animal. I am from the country and you don't ever let your guard down. It was intense. My heart was racing. I loved it.
You wear a lot of tattoos and piercings, but not much else. How did that feel?
The makeup went on very morning for three and half to four hours. I was there at 1:30 in the morning putting on makeup. And I had to wear that little thong. I was making sure to do my leg lifts and butt exercises.
Then there's all the blue paint.
Oh my god. Whe-ew. It took some getting used to. But after a while you get so used to it, just like me wearing a little thong with my cheeks hanging out. It becomes a part of you. After a while, people didn't recognize me with clothes on.