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Ismael Cruz Cordova Talks Miss Bala, Cartels, and Sesame Street

The world of Mexican border gang violence might seem light-years away from Sesame Street, yet actor Ismael Cruz Cordova managed the trip with his humor in tact. The actor, who landed the role of Mando on Sesame Street in 2013, is currently starring alongside Gina Rodriguez in Catherine Hardwicke’s remake of the 2011 Mexican thriller  Miss Bala.

This update  on the film (which in turn is based on the true story of beauty queen Laura Zúñiga) taps into a more current vein by turning the protagonist from a Mexican pageant princess working for the cartels to Gloria Meyer (Gina Rodriguez), an American makeup artist visiting a friend in Baja. When her friend is kidnapped, Gloria is forced into the arms of a cartel leader– played Córdova– and smuggle laundered money across the border in an attempt to extricate herself from the long arms of the DEA and gang warfare.

Image via Sony Pictures

Ismael Cruz Cordova:

  • The surprising similarities between Miss Bala‘s Lino and Mando from Sesame Street.
  • His research process for the role…and why he avoided watching other portrayals of Latino gangsters before diving into the part.
  • Who goes harder: Sesame Street or Mexican drug cartels?
  • How Cordova and co-star Rodriguez approached their “strange connection”–both on-camera and behind the scenes.

Here’s the official synopsis for Miss Bala:

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength.




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