Castillo's Deadly Stare on Weeds Proven Effective

Will Cesar survive the 5th season? Find out on Showtime's Weeds, airing Mondays at 7pm (ET) 10pm (PT)

By Alma Maria Villa
Published on LatinoLA: August 11, 2009

Castillo's Deadly Stare on Weeds Proven Effective

The fifth season of Showtime's Weeds opened with a big bang, literally. Cesar is at the ready to kill Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) for ratting on his boss Esteban. When Nancy shows Esteban proof that she is pregnant with his baby things change, so instead Cesar blows away the two bodyguards in the room because, "These two gossip like old women." Enrique Castillo, who plays the silent but deadly killer, casually explains Cesar's actions "It's his job. He needs to protect his boss's political career and his own interests." Castillo takes his job of playing Cesar just as seriously.

After appearing in eight episodes out of 13 in season 4 of Weeds, which was created by Jenji Kohan for Showtime, Castillo was still uncertain if he would be returning for another season. Although in the last episode of season 4 Cesar and Esteban (Demian Bichir) had the upper hand, and it seemed Nancy was doomed, the writers of Weeds always seem to turn events on their heads, enough to give one pause.

"Although I was in the last episode, they can still kill you off anytime and just justify it with a line in the script," Castillo reasoned. Not even when the show was nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and he was invited to join the other cast members at the awards show, was he sure he would be invited back.

"I was just glad to be included in the ensemble cast nomination," Castillo recounts. "It give one a great sense of satisfaction to know you contributed to a top show like Weeds." He shared this experience with his 19 year-old daughter Karina, an up and coming actress, who accompanied him to the SAG Awards. "She was excited to be among such Hollywood luminaries and to meet the Weeds cast. She also got to meet some of her other favorite actors, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Michael C. Hall and Tina Fey."

"I was originally booked for one episode in season 4 and they just started coming. I ended up doing 8 episodes". It could have been his dead pan delivery as he gave orders to sandblast an informant's face, which had audiences as far as Sweden shaking in their boots and loving it, which convinced the producers to bring him back.

Or it could have been the steely piercing look which Castillo made a part of the Cesar character and is now written into the script as "the Cesar death stare" that clicked with the audience. It has certainly worked for Castillo before. "It's much like the look I would give my kids as they were growing up," Castillo laughs. "They now tell me it's what stopped them from doing anything bad, 'it was that look' they say." It worked for his kids and it works for Cesar.

Rick and Jake Edson are two fans who were not only willing to confront the Cesar Death Stare, but actually paid to do so. Edson and his wife became fans of the show through their son Jake. When Edson saw the National Hispanic Foundation of the Art's (NHFA) auction item for the set visit with Castillo, he made sure he and his son won that bid, making the set visit and lunch with Castillo the second highest grossing item on the NHFA when the final bids were counted.

Rick was so intent on winning a set visit to his favorite show that he had also bid on another non-profit's auction which featured a set visit with Kevin Nealon and won that one as well. During lunch on the set, Rick and his son hung out with both Castillo and Nealon and were allowed on the sound stage for the filming of some scenes from the last episode. Luckily for them the cliff hanger scene had already been shot and therefore he and his son were able to see the shooting of surrounding scenes where no secrets were revealed.

"It felt great to know that someone took that kind of interest in the show combining it with a generous contribution to the NHFA, a worthy non-profit organization which is about giving scholarships to students interested in pursuing a career in the arts," Castillo commended Edson. "They traveled 3,000 miles to visit and I was honored to spend as much time as I could on the set with them". The time spent with Castillo was enough to convince Edson to call his wife to report that he was actually a nice guy, unlike the scary Cesar.

One of the bloggers declared at the start of the season "Let me first state that the person to look out for this season is Cesar." And in fact Castillo was very prominent in the first three episodes, then he was taken away from "Nancy Watch" and for the next 4 episode, leaving the audience to wonder what other ghastly gruesome things he was up to while away.

Upon his return he helps prepare for the birth of Nancy and Esteban's baby, kills off an assailant, shows off his "medic" skills and gets shot himself ÔÇô by Nancy. It is the upcoming final episodes that Cesar's character goes through a shift in loyalty, some might say, and where that will lead is anyone's guess if the writer's have anything to say. And they most definitely do.

Will Cesar survive the fifth season? "That is to be seen," Castillo coyly comments. "If anything, you have to question whether he will survive the consequences of his choices." Only 4 more episodes to find out.

About Alma Maria Villa:
Alma Maria Villa writes about Latinos in all walks of life
Author's website

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