Actor Reko Moreno is cursed as ‘Uncle Lucas’ in the World War 2 indie drama “Bless Me, Ultima,” hitting theaters on February 22, 2013. Directed by Carl Franklin (“Devil in a Blue Dress”), this coming-of-age story is based on the best-selling novel by Rudolfo Anaya, which earned the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol award and reflects the Chicano culture of the 1940s in rural New Mexico.
Reko has also been busy as a creator of his own projects, recently gaining attention for the action-comedy web series “Blanco Boys,” with another one, “Newlywed and Broke,” coming soon. This Houston, Texas native didn’t set out for a career in entertainment, first earning a degree in Economics from the University of Texas, but it’s definitely where he’s at now.
I recently caught up with Reko Moreno to find out more about his role in “Bless Me, Ultima,” his own projects and what lead him to a career in Hollywood.
Tell us about your role in the new indie period drama “Bless Me, Ultima.”
REKO: I play Uncle Lucas, the youngest sibling of María Márez. He is bewitched by the Trementina sisters and cured by Ultima.
The film is based on the best-selling novel by Rudolfo Anaya. Had you ever heard of or read the book before working on the project? And, does it help to you as an actor to have a novel to refer to when developing your character? Or is it easier for you to just use your imagination?
REKO: In high school, I was made to read the book for American Literature. I remembered bits and pieces of the story, but once booking the role of Uncle Lucas, I went back to it. The novel is truly timeless, a beautifully crafted coming of age story with elements of fantasy woven into it. For me, using the novel was helpful in creating my character, because it gave me a better sense of the time period, environment, and family relationships.
What was the best part about working on this project? What was the hardest?
REKO: I'm actually having a hard time answering the first part of this question. I truly had an amazing time on this film, everyone was wonderful and professional. I was constantly learning more about the business, craft of acting, and the art of storytelling thanks to Carl Franklin, Miriam Colon, and Benito Martinez; each one of them sharing so much wisdom and knowledge with me. And, when I wasn't being a nerd, I was hanging out with the guys that played my brothers in the film. We were always cracking jokes on one another and teasing Joseph Garcia because he had to grow a mustache for his role, which made him look like Luigi from Mario Brothers.
As for the hardest part for me on this set, well, like every set, it's staying away from the craft service truck. I had to look sickly and skinny for this role and you can't do that while stuffing your face full of nachos and popcorn.
You’re also creating a new sitcom pilot titled “Newlywed and Broke.” Can you share a little bit about this project and what inspired you to create the project?
REKO: "Newlywed and Broke" is a sitcom about a newlywed couple that discovers the truth after getting married -- they're broke. To make ends meet, they have to get random jobs off of craigslist, sell all their wedding gifts, and worst of all get a roommate. The idea came to me after looking at my own life. I recently got engaged and to save money moved my fiancée in with me and my roommate. So, you see, you write about what you know. A lot of people seem to be struggling during these economic times and I thought that maybe we could bring some laughter to their and our situation with this show.
What made you want to dive into an entertainment career? And, what’s been the biggest eye-opening moment you’ve experienced since making that decision?
REKO: I started on my journey in the entertainment industry later in life, I never thought I would actually move to LA and pursue it, I figured it would be a hobby. But a chance encounter with an ex-actor and words being whispered to me by Napoleon Hill's Book "Think and Grow Rich" made me reconsider my life. If one wants to truly be happy in life, one must be willing to take risk, so I did. I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2006 and I never looked back. The biggest eye-opening moment I've experience, is still occurring, I am constantly learning more and more about myself. Acting has made me look introspectively at the person I see in the mirror every day. Some things I love about myself other I don't, but that's me, vulnerable, shy, extroverted, happy, all the shades of Reko. If it wasn't for acting, I probably wouldn't have taken the time to know myself in this way, which has made me a better and more caring person.
And finally, how can fans keep up with you?
REKO: Fans can follow me on twitter: @RekoMoreno / https://twitter.com/RekoMoreno
And, in late March they can visit our website www.NewlywedAndBroke.com to get updates on the project.
Thanks, Reko. We can’t wait to see you both cursed and broke!