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An Interview with Alexis Cruz (Martin, Shark)

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An Interview with Alexis Cruz (Martin, Shark)
©2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc./Monty Brinton
Alexis Cruz may be young, but this up and coming actor has had a solid 20 years in show business. After attending the legendary "Fame" school, Alexis has landed one role after another in films starring actors such as Johnny Depp, Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox and Marlon Brando. I found Alexis to be not only enthusiastic about acting and enhancing his craft, but he is without a doubt, one of the kindest and warmest actors I've had the pleasure of interviewing. Remember the name Alexis Cruz folks, this guy is going places! Get to know more about this young actor who is ready to enter your living rooms each week as he plays opposite James Woods on the fabulous new CBS legal drama Shark.

Q: When did you decide show business was the path you wanted to take?
Alexis:
"I started when I was 9 and it was something I had interest in and I was aware that I wanted to go further, I just didn't know how. Even when I started at 9, when you're that young, if you've got talent, you can read the lines and you're cute, that's enough. But, when I was about 13, I was auditioning for a role and I was up against Marc Anthony, the director sits me down and says, 'You know, you're not a very good actor, you're a terrible actor, but I'm going to give you this part anyway.' It just stunned me! But some part of my brain clicked in that he was saying something to me and that you need to take acting classes. So I decided to listen to him and that same year I started training at the School for Performing Arts, the Fame school. It turned out to be the biggest turning point of my life, that's where I learned to become an actor."

Q: You attended the infamous Fame school, what "extra something" did you have that scored a spot in the school?
Alexis:
"It wasn't anything. When I was auditioning, their standards were really strict. I went through two days of the auditioning process with various exercises and tests and monologues to gauge your talent. There's really no way to prepare for it."

Q: You have starred in films with some of the biggest names in the business, which celebrity has given you the best advice through the years?
Alexis:
"I learned from Anthony Quinn about working my knowledge. I learned from him what it meant to learn my knowledge. Many, many, many years later, I learned from James Woods a combination of what I had learned...not to be a jerk [laughs]."

Q: Being Hispanic, what advantages and disadvantages have you faced in the business?
Alexis:
"There have been no disadvantages at all. There have when people have tried to use that against me, but that's never been a disadvantage, I've found it empowering, I thrive on challenge. You have to thrive on a challenge to work it to its advantage, particularly if you're in the position of being the underdog. I really believe in the triumph of spirit, that single people can invoke great change through example, I greatly believe that. I have seen it happen, I have practiced it. So, when people have tried to use my heritage against me, I'm very clear that it's their own ignorance."

Q: Tell me about your character on Shark.
Alexis:
"My character is Martin Allende is a deputy district attorney. Martin is morally and ethically centered, however, I think there is a line within him, which is struggling in that we've seen the reality that justice is blind, though we believe in those ideals. We have seen when things don't work out right. There's a moral and ethical conflict being Stark's protégé, he wants to do things properly, but he's discovering as the process goes, that there is a lot of red tape. He's much more comfortable with research than public speaking. He's very, very quiet, he's a thinker who does things rather than talk about it."

Q: How do you think Martin will compliment Sebastian's character?
Alexis:
"I think he's going to show Sebastian that there's something to be said for fighting a losing cause. As it is now, Sebastian is all about winning and he'll win lost causes, but for him it's about competition. He may be completely uninterested in a case, but if a rival dangles it on his face, that'll get him going. Martin on the other hand, will do things just for the sake of doing them, there's virtue in justice if justice is at stake. If you go down losing, you go down making a point. Once you make a point, there is another generation waiting to pick up that point. I think Martin has that understanding."

Q: Favorite movies or favorite genre?
Alexis:
"I'm still into the sci-fi/fantasy genre. It sparks my imagination, particularly when it's out of context."
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