By Eddie Olmo
Twenty years ago a man, from the Bronx named Lou Torres, decided to change his career path and go into acting at the age 35. Many people think that at this “late” age a change a profession would not be a realistic decision to make, but Lou Torres has made his mark as a Latino in the film industry. Lou Torres is not a household name like George Lopez or Luis Guzman, but once you see his face you might remember him from movies like Taxi, working opposite of Jimmy Falon, Shaft starring with the one and only Samuel L. Jackson or as the Diner Owner in Spiderman, with Toby Maguire. The list goes on.
Lou Torres has also been a major part in producing Latino films, one of them being “Manito” in which he also starred in. Manito won 10 awards including the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Aside from film, Lou has also appeared in numerous commercials, TV programs and has worked the stage, but in 2010 Lou Torres suffered a stroke that left him without the power of speech. Lou known for his menacing look and his strong vocal chords was now speechless, but this didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream. It took 2 years for Torres to learn how to speak again and now he’s ready to work on his next project.
LT-When did you realize that you wanted to become an actor?
Lou-When I was 3 years old. I guess it was because my father was always recording the family with Super 8(film), but before acting I was a teacher and a musician. I played Bass with bands like Johnny Colon and Joe Quijano.
LT- Why acting?
Lou-I guess it was because when I was in Catholic school I would act in plays.
LT- Where did you study acting?
Lou-I studied at HB Studios and Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.
LT-How do you prepare for a casting call?
Lou- I read the script and then I visualize myself in the story.
LT-Of all the actors that you worked with, who did you find to be and all around person?
Lou-Samuel Jackson he came up to me pat me on the back and told me that I was a good actor.
LT- Why did you start your own production company, Big Lou Films?
Lou- I saw that there were no Puerto Rican actors, no Latino productions.
LT- How did you fund the films that you produce?
Lou- I would raise money or sometimes put my own money in the film.
LT- How was “Manito” recorded?
Lou- It was recorded digitally, but when we were selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival we had to convert it to film. This cost about $60,000.00 to do. It was one of my first films as a producer.
LT- Do you still keep in touch with Frankie G.
Lou-Franky’s head got too big. I’m not that type of person, if I know you and I see you I would say hi to you, but I think the fame got to Franky’s head.
LT- Are you currently working on any projects.
Lou- Right now I’m writing a movie called Zoo Keeper about 2 Brothers who were in gangs in the South Bronx. One was raped and died from aids. I’m still doing research. I’m going to shoot it on Super 8.
Even though Lou Torres has not recovered his speech to the fullest he is not pessimistic about his passion for film.