Salvador Chacon was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1984. He has been acting since childhood, where his performances in school plays led him to a professional acting career. In addition to acting, Salvador also produces, directs and has worked behind the scenes in production. He has starred in many short films including How To Forget, Obsession, and Navidad and guest starred on shows like NCIS and Ex-Best. Currently, he stars as Pablo in the hit FX series Mayans MC. TNWU recently had a chance to chat with Salvador about the show, acting, and his upcoming projects. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
How did you first get into acting?
I’ve been acting since I was a kid. I was always trying to do some sort of performance for my parents and their friends. In school, I started performing in my first actual plays, which I think was the true seed that eventually grew into wanting to become a professional actor.
How were you chosen for Mayans? What was your audition process like?
I got the audition from my agent, and I remember it was with very short notice. It was a small scene that had some cool moments to show different emotions. Crazy enough, I prepared the scene but almost didn’t make it to the audition. The casting office is on the west side and I was at a fitting on the other side of town and running late. When I eventually got there, thankfully, they hadn’t started because they were expecting the producer and the director to attend the session, which came as a surprise. But I said to myself, “Well, what the heck. Let’s rock it.” So I went in and Wendy O’Brien, who is the casting director, read the scene with me, and she is amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to read for her a couple times and she is great. So [I] read the scene with her and that was it! I got a call a week and a half later from my agent.
What’s it like being part of a show that’s almost an instant classic, coming with a diehard set of fans from Sons of Anarchy?
It’s quite amazing. Really, it’s a dream come true being part of a story that is not only breaking boundaries but that has been created by Kurt Sutter and Elgin James. [They are] two very talented guys that have a deep passion for what they do, and that have stayed true to creating a show that is unique and that speaks for itself. I think the Sons of Anarchy [SOA] fans will appreciate that Mayans MC has elements from SOA but that it very much drives itself on an obvious different road.
Did you watch Sons of Anarchy?
Believe it or not, I don’t watch much TV in general. But I did watch a few seasons of SOA and really enjoyed it.
Pablo doesn’t ride, but do you have your own motorcycle?
I do not. I respect people that ride motorcycles with a sense of caution and responsibility. Like a car, a motorcycle operated irresponsibly can be a deadly weapon.
How realistic is a group like Los Olvidados?
Very. There are already groups that have taken action into their own hands due to the lack of action from their governments. Los Olvidados represents a cause of change, prompting the government to take action, and creating a strong warning for the cartel that there are others vastly powerful and ready to fight back.
Does the series paint an accurate portrait of Mexican life in Southern California?
I think there are many lifestyles and many ways to describe a “Mexican Lifestyle” in SoCal. Mayans MC, even though it takes place in Southern California, lives in a narrative world. Yes, there are cartels. Yes, there are activist groups, gangs and MC’s in the Latino/Hispanic communities and in SoCal but just like in every other ethnicity, nationality, and town in the world. The show has a realistic approach to these social structures and cultural background. However, [it] is fictionalized and written to develop the characters, their lives and their emotions as humans, which is what truly connects the audience with the show.
Let’s talk about some of your other projects. Tell us about your film, Bad Labor.
Bad Labor was a very interesting project to be a part of. I shot it a couple years ago and it was finished this year. The entire film was written, directed and produced by a 19-year-old (Chris Carmona) that was extremely high on Robert Rodriguez’ book, Rebel Without a Crew, and set himself into doing a full-length feature. The process was rough and it certainly had the bumps you’d expect from a first time filmmaker with limited funds, but it was so filled with passion, effort, and dedication which is what made me want to do it.
Tell us a little something about your work on Wind in the Night.
Wind in The Night is another film I had the chance to play a part on. The film tells the story of Guillermo, a guy that has fallen victim of having to work for the Mexican mob [in order] to maintain his family; in the film, he is blackmailed into doing this one “last” job or else they will kill them all. For me, it was a great window for the audience to understand that many times the men and women that are involved with the cartels, or that cross the border in search for safer ground, they are basically forced into doing these things. It’s painful to listen to comments that generalize and categorize every Mexican as criminal.
We’re called Talk Nerdy With Us – do you have anything you are nerdy about?
I am a big design fan (all types of design), but specifically, I love interiors and architecture, and my girlfriend happens to be an interior designer. So we literally nerd-out on pieces of furniture: lamps, tile, buildings — you name it! We can seriously be having dinner, look at a lamp, and talk about it (again) for the rest of the meal!
Photographer: Aldo Chacon