Your new movie Diablo
Rojo PTY - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character in it?
Rojo PTY is about a bus driver, Miguel, that is confronted by his past through
a witch’s spell. He and his companions are thrust into the jungles of
Panama and faced with every Panamanian legend including La Tulivieja. It is filled with dark humor, and is a love letter to the
classic B horror movies of the 70’s and 80’s. I play a priest, Padre
Andres, who is… ok no spoilers…
What did you draw upon to
bring your character to life, and how much Leo Wiznitzer can we find in
approached the character from a non-religious viewpoint. As an elderly man
who never progressed much in life and is at a point where he does not
believe in much and is very skeptical of changes or new beliefs. How does
he deal with having to face things he never expected to be true? I have
lived a very full and interesting life, so when I read a script and look at
a character, there is not much that I can't find a situation in my life
that is a parallel in some way. That connects with the feeling. How the
character reacts to the situation and how Leo would react is where the
challenge comes in. In Padre Andres’s situation, Leo would have run!
How did you get involved with the project
in the first place?
received a call from Jordi [J.
Oskura Nájera interview - click here] and Sol [Sol
Moreno interview - click here] two years before we started shooting.
They were looking for a place to host a casting session for a movie they
had written and were interested in using a theater that I am involved in.
I must admit I was skeptical, didn’t know them, and had never heard of
them, which is unusual because Panama is tiny. When I met them, they gave
me more details and they had obviously done their homework. They knew who I
was and my work and asked if I would be interested in the role of the
To what extent could you identify
Rojo PTY's horror theme?
is very much the culture I grew up in. The Diablo Rojos were everywhere,
they were the only form of public transport. When they wanted me to
behave, they would always say, “if you don’t, La Tulivieja is going to
come for you.” I had no idea what that was, but it was scary.
What can you tell us
Rojo PTY's director Sol Moreno, and what was your collaboration
is very bright and has very determined and clear ideas. And yet when you
first meet her, she is quiet and shy. It was easy to work with both her
and Jordi. Always willing to hear your views and opinions, but definitely
she is the boss.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
shoot is definitely one I will never forget. Everyone in the cast and crew
became like a family. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of comradery.
It was not an easy shoot. Almost all of it was at night, so we had to keep
going until the sun came up and stopped us. The conditions were difficult,
in the jungle with high temperatures and bugs, bugs, bugs. The things that
were attracted to the lights were fascinating. There was one night that
was “special”! I wanted to do all the work with no stand-ins, so that
evening I had to lay on my back on the wet grass with ants all over me for
about 2 hours while I was prepped for an important sequence. I was covered
with fake blood which Sol [Sol
Moreno interview - click here] had told me was water based and wouldn’t
stain… After we got that done, I was helped up, covered with more
blood, and laid down at a 45-degree angle at the edge of a river face down
with one hand in the very cold water. That was another two hours. When we
were done I took all my clothes off and tried to wash all the blood off.
It was impossible. As for not staining, I had pink hair for months.
Several weeks later I had a doctor’s appointment and when she checked my
ears she freaked because my ears had dry blood. I just smiled.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
are finishing post-production on a short film I wrote called Shadows, which
I hope is the pilot for a TV series I am developing. I have signed up for
parts in two films, Unfollow and Panama Al Brown, as well as a TV series
called La Caza de las Garzas. Unfortunately, the pandemic struck, and
everything is put on hold. We will see what happens.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
started acting in high school and got some training then but didn’t
follow up on it. I went to Tulane University and got a degree in
Architecture, but never worked as an architect. In the late 80’s they
were shooting the pilot for the first attempt at a TV series in Panama
called Panama Jackpot. On a lark I auditioned and got the lead. The series
never went anywhere but I did get noticed and offered roles in theater
productions. I enjoyed a lot of those in English and in Spanish, but there
were no professional opportunities, so I stopped. In 2014 I was offered a
part in a TV series. I did that and from there the opportunities started
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Diablo
movie I worked on was Historias del Canal, a film about several different
periods in the history of Panama and the Canal. It was a very small part
but got noticed. I had another small part in Hands of Stone but got to be
opposite Robert DeNiro. Last year was great. I was in three movies with
important roles, Locos al Poder, Operacion Causa Justa and of course
Rojo PTY. My complete filmography is on my IMDb page.
How would you describe yourself as an
is a tough question. I think I am easy to work with. I have the ability to
memorize things quickly. I usually don’t like to see my work on screen
because I always see things I should have done differently. Ask somebody
else! What I love about acting is I can become someone else and do things
I would never do and not have to suffer the consequences of those actions.
Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
inspire me but I don’t copy anyone. I think trying to copy someone is a
mistake. I absolutely love the work of Anthony Hopkins. One of the best
ever is Meryl Streep. She can become anyone anywhere and not be the same.
The Curious Life of Benjamin Button, Sunset Boulevard, The Deer Hunter and
Alien are among my favorites. There are so many more I could watch over
... and of course, films you really
I can watch absolutely anything and find something there that interests
Your website, social media, whatever else?
fan page is not active. I don’t do Twitter. I have a personal Facebook -
Leo Wiznitzer - and an Instagram account - @leowiznitzer - and an
under my name.
for the interview!