An Actor to Watch: Alfredo de Quesada

Poised for a breakthrough year with co-starring role in Steven Soderbergh‘«÷s The Argentine and Guerilla

Published on LatinoLA: May 18, 2008

An Actor to Watch: Alfredo de Quesada

It‘«÷s in the ‘«£Cannes‘«ō for Puerto Rican Actor Alfredo De Quesada who co-star as "Israel Pardo" in the first installment of the Steven Soderbergh‘«÷s Che Guevara biopic: "The Argentine" and "Guerilla" premiering at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival on May 21.

One of the most amazing anomalies of the entertainment industry is the overnight success that actually is years in the making. A perfect example is the case of Alfredo De Quesada, whose road to the Hollywood marquee has seemingly taken long, delayed by the usual casualties of war of the struggling actor; yet in real time, hasn‘«÷t really.

Now with a breakthrough role in a highly anticipated feature film by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (‘«£Traffic‘«ō), this might very well be the year of De Quesada.

He is THAT man; the kind women want to have, to be seen with and to be with.

But to delve beyond the striking good looks of De Quesada is to find a smart, talented and exceptionally thoughtful young actor, deeply committed to giving back to his community and Latin heritage.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cuban immigrants who resettled in Puerto Rico, De Quesada was raised in San Juan where he attended Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola and went on to graduate with double major in General Management and Theatre Arts from the Carroll School of Management of Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA). During college he was part of the oldest college improv comedy troupe ‘«£My Mother's Fleabag‘«ō, and, upon graduation, moved to New York City - ‘«£I told my dad: here‘«÷s your diploma, I‘«÷m moving to New York‘«ō, fondly recalls the actor.

There he worked regularly with the premiere Hispanic theater company Repertorio Espa??ol, performing both classical and contemporary plays. In 2001, he received an ACE nomination as Male Theatrical Revelation for his performance in ‘«£Vieques‘«ō.

He mesmerized audiences for three years with his acrobatic, singing and awe-inspiring performance in the Off-Broadway internationally acclaimed Argentinean aerial experimental theatre troupe ‘«£De La Guarda‘«ō that traveled from New York City, Las Vegas to Seoul, Korea, garnering impressive media coverage and press reviews.

Yet beyond a three year success, little did De Quesada know that De La Guarda would, years later, turn out to be his calling card to his breakthrough project.

In September of 2007, out of the blue De Quesada received an email from a friend of his tipping him on the fact that the casting director of the movie said friend was currently on location in Puerto Rico filming, was looking to book one additional actor for the role of a character named ‘«£Ciro Redondo‘«ō. De Quesada promptly put himself on tape delivering a performance off of sides that only had his character‘«÷s lines, and upon uploading his on-camera audition on his computer, emailed it to the casting director. The waiting process then began, but De Quesada had a strong ally on his side: the casting director who recognized him from his memorable performance in De La Guarda, and was enthusiastically rooting for him.

Days and weeks went by without an answer leaving De Quesada doubtful he had secured the role ‘«™ until THAT phone call came. The casting director just wanted to touch base with him to let him know that the role was still available and that director Steven Soderbergh hadn‘«÷t made a decision yet but would do so within a few weeks. On the same day only a few hours later, the casting director called back again with a good and a bad news: ‘«£You didn‘«÷t get the role of Ciro Redondo but we‘«÷re giving you the one of Israel Pardo, and by the way, you have to fly tomorrow to Puerto Rico as you start shooting within the next 24 hours‘«ō.

De Quesada packed his bag, quit his computer consultant job at the Mac Store and boarded a plane to go back home to Puerto Rico.

The Argentine - a film about Che Guevara - focuses on the Cuban revolution, from the moment Fidel Castro, Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) and other revolutionaries landed on the Caribbean island, until they toppled the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista two years later. Alfredo joins an all-star Latin cast opposite Academy Award winning Benicio Del Toro, Victor Rasuk, Edgar Ramirez and Catalina Sandino Moreno. "The Argentine" was shot in Puerto Rico with most of the dialogue in Spanish.

Playing the part of Israel Pardo in the movie (a bigger role than the originally intended Ciro Redondo) was a bit of a catch 22 for this young actor who exponentially researched the history of the Cuban Revolution and Guevara's background to prepare for his role. Even though his parents are refugees from Cuba's Castro dictatorship and moved to Puerto Rico, Alfredo stated in an interview with the newspaper Primera Hora (www.primerahora.com) that he shares Che's vision of equality and justice. Ironically, the place (Puerto Rico) he originally left in hopes to jump start his acting career, is the one that called him back giving him THE opportunity to play THE role of a lifetime!

De Quesada catapulted onto the scene competing in the Telemundo produced reality show ‘«£Protagonistas de Novela 2‘«ō which showcased him as a superior actor in contrast to the rest of the contestants. Unlike the fate of other actors, his reality TV days didn‘«÷t work to his detriment and cast a curse on his career. He has had success with roles in many TV shows including "Strangers with Candy", "Upright Citizens Brigade", "One Life to Live" and "Law & Order".

Never resting on his laurels, De Quesada is also the creative mind behind the webzine dubbed "Se Habla Espa??ol‘«ō, which follows the trials and tribulations of the series‘«÷ hero, Eduardo Vel?Ūzquez, while he navigates the world of entertainment as a Hispanic actor. But we wouldn‘«÷t expect anything less from a man whose passion for life and the artistic world has lead him to resolve to some extreme measures. After all he is the kind of man who spent 2000 chasing his favorite band Metallica across the US, attending shows in Baltimore, Massachusetts, Los Angeles and, at last, New York where the drummer of the band finally recognized him and handed him one of his drum sticks; he is also the carefree, go-getter, adventurously daring kind of man who jumped on stage at a Pantera concert in Puerto Rico to perform an impromptu duo with the band on the hit ‘«£Mouth for War‘«ō, before being brutally thrown out by security, and immediately rescued by the lead singer who was enjoying Alfredo‘«÷s vocal contribution.

Alfredo resides in Los Angeles and regularly performs on stage with his LA improv troupe.

Alfredo De Quesada is a young talented actor who is certainly poised for a groundbreaking year with his breakthrough role in The Argentine ‘«Ű a role that will put him on the Hollywood map as an actor to not only watch but as well to watch for.

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