Vinicius Machado has spent the past decade establishing himself as a young actor to watch in Hollywood. His hard work and dedication to his craft has garnered him an astounding reputation in the film industry, being casted in: Golden Globe award-winner, “Monster”, The Celestine Prophecy, Get Smart, Fast Glass, Sunken City, and Real Premonition, to name a few. He also has had the good fortune in landing big-time roles in hit television shows such as; The Shield, Cold Case, Flash Forward, CSI: Miami, Southland, Sleeper Cell, Dark Blue, NCIS, again to name a few. An incredibly expressive performer who pours every ounce of his being into every role, Machado’s considerable talents have began to turn the heads of fans and critics alike, leaving him poised become a breakout star in 2014.
One of his most exciting new projects, a project which will surely be his breakout role, is the highly anticipated series POWER which premieres on STARZ June 6th. The series follows James St. Patrick, nicknamed “Ghost”, owner of a popular New York City nightclub. In addition, he is a major player in one of the city’s biggest illegal drug networks. He struggles to balance these two lives, and the balance topples when he realizes he wants to leave the drug ring in order to support his legitimate business. In the series, Machado plays Nomar Arcielo a Latino member of the Soldado Nation gang (leading gang in NY) who is dating his bosses daughter. Having been blackmailed by the FBI, he becomes Counter Intelligence in their pursuit of their most wanted “Lobos” (Boss of my Boss). As he straddles those two worlds and walks a fine line, danger ensues and the threat of his life is inevitable. Despite this, he persists in his blind love only to endure severe consequences. In addition to his role on ‘POWER,’ this amazing young actor has also been cast in a new feature film “Misfortune”, directed by Desmond Devenish and is in the running for several other exciting project slated for production later this year.
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Vinicius Machado to discuss his blossoming career, breakout role on the highly anticipated series ‘POWER,’ his upcoming projects and what the future might hold for actor on the rise!
How did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry and made you pursue acting as a career?
Acting was something that kind of fell into my lap. I was a soccer player, having been born and growing up in Brazil, and it seemed that was what I was born to do! So I thought; until I had to audition for a school play as a requirement for one of the classes I was taking. I got the lead role and every since I have been making progress of that. I have continued to land roles here and there. I was definitely something that fell into my lap, I accepted it and here I am today!
Who are some of the influences who had an impact in you early on; be it people in your life or other actors you looked to for inspiration?
My Dad has been my greatest hero and influence in my life with everything I have done. He has also been my greatest supporter. He has always been behind me in everything I have chosen to do. As far as actors who had a big impact on me, I think Anthony Hopkins did a lot for me, as did Denzel Washington. Their ability to so subtly portray characters and manifest a living soul or spirit in such a creative, artistic way has always gripped me. It gave me the ability to imagine beyond what I think a person is. I have always been captivated by them being able to personify, influence and cause people to think. From an actor’s point of view, being able to get to that level and being able to do that with your craft is very inspiring.
You have many irons in the fire when it comes to your career. One of those projects is the highly anticipated new series, ‘POWER,’ on Starz. How did you initially get involved with the project?
I got the call and I auditioned for it like everyone else. [laughs] Originally, I auditioned for the role of Julio but I got the callback for the part of Nomar Arcielo. From there it is pretty much history! I booked it! I flew out to New York and lived there for almost half a year.
What can you tell us about the character you are playing on the show?
I play Nomar and I really love it. Nomar is so cool and the part is so different than anything I have ever done. He is your stereotypical gangster in a way, as he is a Latin King, specifically he is part of the Soldado Nation, but he is also a pedophile. He stretches the envelope to the maximum with that as a gangster. He is caught in this pickle having to straddle between two worlds of dating his bosses’ fourteen year old daughter and being blackmailed by the FBI to get information for their pursuit of one of their most wanted; all while still being a human being, facing the addictions the role speaks to and everything else that is happening around him. He is always having to defuse moments of circumstance around him, faces the consequences of his choices and actions and lives in a world that is very much survival of the fittest. I think Nomar emulates that to the fullest. It is a very cool role, man. I am so humble and so privileged to play him and I think people will be able to relate to him a way that will be powerful.
As you have described, there are many elements at play with this character. What type of research did you do for the character?
I watched a lot of videos about pedophiles and people with sexual addictions; their minds and the concepts. 99% of the things I have done, as far as being an actor, involve being a gangster. I felt that I had enough in my imaginary backpack, as far as tools, to be able to come in, do this role and make it fresh at the same time. With the character an element of sexual addiction, I felt I had to dig a little deeper, so I did a massive amount of studying these types of people to better understand what got them to that point where they are and how that play into how they view life, people and children especially. Having that understanding helped me make the bold decision to display some courage with my choices. I think that is what it is all about.
What was it like being on set for this project and working with some of these other very talented people?
There were a lot of pranks on set! [laughs] One of the sound guys, Greg Harris, has been number one guy for pranks on set. That was very interesting! [laughs] I really bonded with everyone on the show from Joseph Sikora, Omari Hardwick and Lela Loren, who I had most of my scenes with her, and Courtney Kemp Agboh, who is the creator of the show. I didn’t have any scenes with 50 Cent but he was always on set. We all spent a lot of time together at the table reads and other events we did in support of the show. Overall, it was a humbling experience for the entire cast and crew. I hate to say it as “cast and crew,” because we honestly bonded in a way that we became family. We always went out and hung out after shooting. One of the guys, Joshua Williams, became one of my partners in a film I produced called “By Chance.” We just picked up on a whim and brought in Andrew Voegeli, who was also the director of photography on ‘Breaking Bad,’ to DP for us. Everyone was so cool and it was just one big family doing what we love!
Obviously, you and your character are two very different people but I was curious to know if you saw any parallels between the two of you?
Yeah, Nomar is hungry. He is hungry for many different things. I think that is the spirit of all of us who are pursuing the American Dream. He is not afraid and I think that is one of the things that really stuck out about him. The approach was not playing him as tough as your stereotypical gangster on TV to show a more human side to him. His mentality is that he has to do what he has to do to get himself as far as he can to what he sees as a better place, whether it is with his sexual addictions or his gravitation to achieving a better life. H is not afraid to step outside the box, show up to the plate and say “I am here. I am going to pursue it and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I am going for it.” I think that is going to be particularly interesting and something everyone will be able to relate to.
Another project you are shooting at the moment is a film by the name of “Misfortune.” What can you tell us about it?
It has been great working with Desmond Devenish over in Tucson, Arizona. The film, as you said, is called “Misfortune” and it is a thriller. It is about diamond trafficking in the United States and the consequences that come from it. There is a hidden world here in our homeland that people are unaware of. It has a bit of the element of the movie “Blood Diamond” with Leonardo DiCaprio a few years ago but it is from our perspective as Americans. I play Alvarez; he is one of the underworld diamond traffickers and is there to set up deals and things like that. Like anything else, there is a price to pay! At the end of the day, he has to pay for living that lifestyle and that is what the character is all about. We are looking to have it out by the end of the year and I believe they are looking to go to Sundance with it, if I am not mistaken. It is pretty cool!
What can you tell us about working alongside with Desmond Devenish? Are you the type of actor who, in addition to learning their part, immerses themselves in the entire filmmaking process around you?
Absolutely. In fact, I pulled him over before we even started shooting and told him that I was relying on him 100%, because filmmaking is a director’s medium. Sometimes as actors, we have a tendency to get self conscience and it blinds us in many ways. I said “Don’t be afraid. I don’t have an ego or anything like that! I am all about enhancing, stretching, making it better and giving it everything I have!” I have learned a lot from him. For example, the simplicity of little key moments and being able to live in the moment and take the time, regardless of the technicalities and timeframes, and be real in the moment. At the end of the day, if you are real, true and authentic, that is what’s best. I have had a lot of talks with him and bringing that authenticity to the table for Alvarez was the overall goal and message of the story. I definitely picked up a lot from him. He is a great director and I have had nothing but great times being on the set and I am privileged to be a part of it.
You have been a part of many projects in your career. Is there are particular role you are anxious to tackle in the short term?
I don’t know if I have anything specific in mind. I am an actor and I am willing to take on any role they give me. I am really comfortable with where I am at right now. Most actors want to get out of the box, a stereotype if you will but I am comfortable being there. I am in no hurry to get out. I think it is interesting to embrace all the different aspects and colors of that box that, for me, hasn’t been explored to the fullest. I am in no hurry to go anywhere else but I am also open to possibilities to whatever else comes my way!
That leads me to me next question. Since you have been at it for quite awhile now, how do you feel you have evolved as an actor?
I feel my biggest evolution has been staying sane in the process! [laughs] I have been doing it since 2001 or 2002, give or take. There are always times where you are tempted to throw in the towel, if you will. I didn’t and I can’t! It is ingrained in me and it is in my blood. I feel I am now picking up steam and getting a lot of buzz. I have been here quite awhile and I have paid my dues. I think within that, it is having determination and knowing this what I love to do, while staying sane in the process! You have to understand this is the nature of the business and you can’t control it. You really can’t! You just have to love the process and embrace the ups and the downs and keep yourself focused and determined that you will be here forever.
What other projects do you have in the works at the moment?
I just joined the cast of “Swaggy.” It is a musical thriller, more like a murder mystery. It amazing and the script looks incredible! I am super excited to have joined the cast. Dominique Swain is in it. Vincent Carubia is the director and writer. Right now, it looks like it will start in the summer. My feature film, “Sunken City,” just went on PPV, so it is out now. I am also in the mix for a feature film called “Southpaw.” It was written by Kurt Sutter (creator of ‘Sons of Anarchy’); it is being directed by Antoine Fuqua (‘Training Day’) and stars Jake Gyllenhaal. As I hear it, I am among the mix of actors they are interested in. I read for Antoine Fuqua the other day, so I am waiting to hear on that! I am also doing a horror film called “Abandoned” that I self-produced and co-wrote. We are doing that in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in July. I am also being talked about for a feature film in the Dominican Republic at the end of the year, so I have a few things going on in addition to auditioning for things here and there! I am busy! [laughs]
Absolutely! When you aren’t hard at work, what do you to relax and enjoy yourself?
I don’t think “relax” is a word in my vocabulary! [laughs]
It certainly doesn’t sound like it!
No, not at all! [laughs] I have three kids, so when I am not working on the career, I am busy being a Dad! Whether it is changing diapers, taking kids to baseball games or things like that, I don’t stop! [laughs]
What is your best piece of advice to young people looking to make a career in the entertainment industry in today’s climate?
I think having the answer to the question “What is it that I really want?” Just like anything else in life, whether it is acting, teaching or something else, you can’t expect to get there overnight. I think holding onto your dreams is very important. You have to hold onto those dreams and not let them be held hostage by fear. Every day you should do something to work toward your objective, regardless of the fact you do not have control over the outcome. You do have the control over the effort you put into it. I always say to my kids, which is something my father always said to me, “Hard work pays off.” To some degree or another, you are going to be climbing higher and higher as you put the work into your dream. Hold on to your dreams. Be fearless. Be courageous and don’t be afraid to dream big!
In addition to all you do, I know you are also involved in some charity work.
Yes! I have been a faithful supporter, for over a decade, of Feed The Children and Vision For The World. They are both organizations who make a difference in the lives of kids around the world and I am happy to support both!
Where are the best places to find and interact with you online?
If you go to www.MachadoVinicius.com; my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and everything else is there!
Thanks so much for your time today, Vinicius! We are excited to spread the word on all you have going on! You are definitely a busy man, so I am sure our paths will cross again soon!
Thank you so much for having me on board. Power to Icon Vs. Icon!
Catch Vinicius Machado on Starz’s new original series, ‘Power,’ which debuts at 9 PM Saturday, June 7th.