John Leguizamo has made a name for himself by inserting his zany brand of comedy into his passion projects. Fusing Latin culture with off-the-wall comedy, which travels at a rapid speed, it usually takes a second watch to unpack his jokes.
For his film “Fugly!” Leguizamo takes what he does best with his one-man shows and turns it into a loosely-based story about a struggling comedian (Jesse) narrating the ups and downs of his professional and personal life. Rosie Perez plays his wife.
amNewYork chats with the actor about the film, in theaters Friday.
You and Rosie Perez have this fantastic chemistry together. She’s the female equivalent of you.
I agree. I thought this was her best acting she’s ever done. She’s got that crazy amazing timing that not too many people have, but she can get dramatic. She knows the deal with complicated dialogue that’s written, and she makes it seem like it wasn’t.
In this film Jesse’s family inserts themselves into his career. Have you ever experienced that?
We’re so family-oriented to a fault that you feel like you want to keep your family around and then they start working for you, and it adds a complication. My mom is still my accountant.
‘Fugly!’ deals with elements of your life. How did you pick and choose what to include?
I wasn’t sure when we were tapping into pseudo biographical stuff, how that would play … if it would help enhance the story. You want to tell your story and for it to be economical so I put the in kitchen sink and by process of elimination stuff starts to fall off.
Last we spoke you said you were working on a show that’s ADHD for Latin people.
My next one-man show is ‘Latin History for Dummies.’ I want to take it to jails and to schools and give these kids some self-worth. It’s 500 years of Latin history in 90 minutes, so it’s still ‘Latin History for Dummies’ with ADHD because it’s quick.