Sense8’s Miguel Angel Silvestre reveals his personal experiences with LGBT and which cast member is his partner-in-crime
As Lito Rodriguez, Miguel Angel Silvestre portrayed the popular closeted Mexican actor that is one of eight individuals in the cluster birthed at the beginning of Sense8. We watched as Lito’s secret life is discovered by his co-star Daniela, and it later unravels as a result of her jealous ex and some ill-timed cell phone pictures. Miguel’s emotional performances in each episode conveyed the turmoil and fear that exists within the LGBT community, particularly those who are Hispanic. The issues of morality, religion, and homophobia were all tackled head on, and we saw the struggle firsthand through Lito’s eyes.
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Miguel phoned into TV After Dark to talk about the show, the role his family played in shaping his views on the LGBT community and their struggles, and how playing Lito has impacted him in real life. He also gives us a little peek into the fantastic chemistry he has with Toby Onwumere when he chimes in for part of the interview! Want to know more? Listen to the audio of our goosebumps revelations on our interview with Miguel Angel Silvestre below:
Sense8 hasn’t just expanded our perceptions of what is possible for the human mind, but also to the riches and diversity of the world. One of those things was the machismo we often see in Hispanic and Latino cultures. Was this something that you saw firsthand growing up?
Well, um, I have some of the people in my family belong to LGBT, so thanks to them, me and my sister, we had such a beautiful – and I value right now and I see the privilege right now – we had such a beautiful education in terms of human nature and human desires. In that sense, we grew up looking at LGBT people standing for their rights even though the system was not putting them easy for them, and we saw through my parents and my family and my auntie – mostly – how brave heroes they were for me and my sister. They were like heroes. So, yes, there was a tendency years ago in performing where you get to see the celebration of masculinity and you get to see that in many performances. But in reality in Spain, I started to see the real authenticity of some people and I started to give value to that kind of expression – way more value than the other one. So, I could understand more or less what Lana was trying to say. To me, it’s a bit boring when I get to see people celebrating their masculinity. I find way more beauty I in the expression when people accept both sides, the yin and yang, the femininity and the masculinity and how a sensitive person can be way more sexy and beautiful to be with or live with or see performing when they accept both things. That’s why I was always very interested in actors like Cary Grant or James Dean or even some of the performances of Brando when he allows his nostalgia and femininity to go to the surface and that becomes way more interesting. For me, they are great inspirations.
As Lito, you’ve had a chance to have some pretty fun scenes while being on his sets – especially the gunfight scene in season one. Was there anything else about playing Lito that eased some of the drama going on in his life?
Toby and I, we became very close friends, and we experience parties together for the first time, right brother? (Toby laughs) Berlin, for instance, was amazing. Do you have anything in mind, brother, any experience we had? (You know the moment for me, Miguel?) Tell me, brother. (Toby interjects – You remember it was the scene in Nairobi, remember, and uh we were between takes, and we were sitting on the couch and I think we were about to shoot, and we had the script, and we were just talking about it like “and no no no, what if we do it like this” and analyze – do you remember that?) Yes, I remember that moment! (That…that moment – someone took pictures of it, I think.) And do you remember that that day the light was so beautiful, and we were there in Africa working as actors that – I mean, we’re starting in our careers – so for us it was such a privilege to be in that position in a beautiful set in Africa, and I remember that you were working constantly in Africa, but you also – I remember when you told me “look at that light, Miguel, isn’t it amazing to be here?” And I remember that when you told me that that made me – sometimes you forget you know because you want to give your best, and you forget how lucky it is to have a job nowadays and to be able to work in the things that you love. I remember Toby reminding me that and it was also a nice moment.
We know that highlighting the difficulties of being gay in the Hispanic/Latino culture is both highly relevant and emotional for many audience members. Have you had any particular feedback or stories from fans of Sense8 about their own experiences? Was there one that touched you?
I think that we get to portray Lana’s [youth appeal] and Lana’s commitment to the cause and she’s giving voice to many people and I get to experience sometimes in the supermarket when they come, how much they value the generosity of Lana of talking about their lives. We are lucky to be some of the pencils that Lana is using for their painting – for her painting, so yes I feel very proud to be part of that, but mainly Lana is the main character of everything. Those beautiful lines that Lana wrote, and those scenes that Lana wrote – they touch many people and it’s so nice to feel when someone says “hey thank you for doing this role and it means a lot to me” it feels very good, but most of the credit is for Lana. I am the lackey person that gets to portray those beautiful scenes that I really believe it, but yeah, the people feel very grateful for Lana’s commitment.