Raúl Castillo talks “The Inspection,” ethnic roles in the film industry, and more

Actor Raúl Castillo sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “Hollywood at Home,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In the newest episode, Castillo talks about the backstory for the much-anticipated movie “The Inspection,” what it’s like to be a person of color in the film industry right now, the parallels he draws between his career and his character in “The Inspection,” and much more. Highlights below. 

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Highlights from “Hollywood at Home” featuring Raúl Castillo – 

On the inspiration behind his upcoming movie “The Inspection”: “The premise is actually based off of our director’s own life experience. Elegance Bratton is his name. This is his first narrative film. He’s a documentarian by trade. And it’s based off of a period in his life when he was experiencing homelessness, he’d been kicked out of a home for his sexuality, for being a young gay man. And his mom was very religious and intolerant of his lifestyle and ended up kicking him out of his house, out of their home. And he was homeless for 10 years before he enlisted in the Marines. So while it’s not autobiographical, it is based on true events. And it takes place in boot camp. And we follow a sort of fictionalized version of Elegance. The character’s name is Ellis French, he’s played by a wonderful young actor named Jeremy Pope. And it’s sort of based off of Elegance’s own experience going through boot camp and sort of overcoming the obstacles there were during the era of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ The movie takes place in 2005. Yeah, it was about, you know, kind of about him being a sort of, presumably queer young man in the military and overcoming all odds to become a Marine.”

On his experience as a person of color in the film industry: “Well, what I’m experiencing in my career firsthand, what’s happening now– and this has been throughout my career, but like, I’ve consistently been able to, you know, play characters that are rooted in ethnicity while managing to play —like, this has been throughout my career– I’ve managed to, you know, take on characters where ethnicity doesn’t play any part in the character or the storyline. And I love the balance of that, so I think people are thinking outside of the box and I think, you know, I just did this film, “Cha-Cha Real Smooth” where it’s with Dakota Johnson and his wonderful cast and like Cooper Rafe is the director of that film. And he cast me in this really, really fun role of this lawyer named Joseph, you know, like, Dakota’s fiancé and it’s a kind of fun role and, like, how I play opposite Cooper’s character in that movie is really fun. But, again, ethnicity plays no part in that role. I love– you know, I did a film early in my career called “Cold Weather.” I mean, I guess the character’s name was Carlos, but that was about it. You know, we worked in an ice factory. And we talked about Sherlock Holmes, and like– that was Aaron Katz was the director of that movie, a great independent filmmaker. So it has changed for me. People are thinking outside of the box. We did a movie called “Mother Android” last year. Mattson Tomlins is the writer and director. I play this– it’s a post-apocalyptic, you know, story with Chloe Grace Moretz is this young pregnant woman who meets my character, and he was like this woodsman. You know, it’s kind of a scientist woodsman engineer kind of living alone in the woods, and I’m kind of helping her survive. There’s a flip of the switch on that one. And I think I’ve been fortunate that people are starting to think outside of the box when they’re casting me.”

On whether there are parts of his real life experiences that mesh with his role in “The Inspection”: “These drill instructors, a lot of times, when they’re on these tours of duty, they have to leave their families and go off to Parris Island, you know, and kind of commit themselves to this work. This is like a vocation. And being an actor, certainly, being a film and television actor is very similar in as far as like, you know, I live here in Brooklyn with my fiancé– who’s also in the film industry, she’s a costume designer. And so she’s very supportive of my career. But, you know, we oftentimes have to go and leave for, like, weeks, months at a time and sort of, like, the tension that that has. And I’m very fortunate that she’s very understanding, and very supportive of my career. But, of course, it’s challenging, you know, you spend a lot of time apart.”


More about “Hollywood at Home”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “Hollywood at Home” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.

Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon”), Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Aaron Cooley (“The First Lady”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Colman Domingo (“Euphoria”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Frances Fisher (“Titanic,” “Unforgiven”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), LaMonica Garrett (“1883,” “Sons of Anarchy”) Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Nathan Kress (“iCarly”), Jaren Lewison (“Never Have I Ever”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Melissa Manchester (“Don’t Cry Out Loud”), Molly Smith Metzler (“Maid,” “Shameless”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Joey and Daniella Pantoliano (“The Matrix,” “Memento”), Ross Patterson (“Range 15”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Kyla Pratt (“The Proud Family”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”), Reid Scott (“Veep”), Paul Scheer (“The League,” “Veep”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”), Tramell Tillman (“Severance”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”). 

More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. The Creative Coalition harnesses the unique platforms of the arts community and entertainment industry to make positive impacts on social welfare issues. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.