Alberto Guerra Talks “Griselda,” Working With Sofia Vergara + More

ALBERTO GUERRAPhoto Credit: David Suarez

Alberto Guerra, one of Mexico’s biggest film and television stars, is making a splash in America thanks to his work on Netflix’s Griselda opposite Sofia Vergara, which premiered in late January. The series is inspired by the true story of the rise of Griselda Blanco, the Colombian businesswoman who created one of the most profitable drug cartels in history. Guerra stars as ‘Dario’ who starts the series off as Griselda’s bodyguard and quickly becomes her husband, business partner, and stepfather to her children. Guerra, who previously starred on Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico, can also be seen in La Jauria for Amazon and the first Spanish sci-fi series, El Refugio on Lionsgate+.  Here, the Mexico City resident chats with Haute Living about his latest series, working with Sofia Vergara, and what’s next. ALBERTO GUERRAPhoto Credit: David Suarez

We watch your character Dario Sepulveda in Griselda go through some very big life changes through the course of the show, from bodyguard to husband to father. We know you are a father in real life. Did you bring that emotion to your character? How if so?

Definitely. I wanted to bring into the character’s dramatic arc all of those small and subtle changes that usually happen to men when we fall in love and/or become fathers. You start to reevaluate the risks in your life, you begin to want to be more present, there’s a more important reason – other than yourself – to be safe and change your ways and soften up. But what happens when your line of work involves shootings, police and other cartels looking for you to kill you or send you to prison? I wanted Dario to question everything he ever knew, I wanted him to become more sensitive, start feeling fears and the usual emotions a first-time father (at least in my case) feels. It was a different approach from the references Andrés Baiz (the director) and I had seen of characters that were hitmen or sicarios.

Did you enjoy wearing the 1970’s and 1980’s wardrobe in Griselda? Why or why not? What’s your typical fashion aesthetic like?

I enjoyed the wardrobe from the 70s so much, but my favorite was the 80s. Fashion was a bit loser, more comfortable. It’s kind of hard to feel unbeatable (as a hitman) when you are wearing a really tight, flowered, silky shirt…but the 70s Dario was definitely having more fun than the 80s Dario. My typical fashion flows between baggy pants or shorts and sandals to boots and a leather jacket – depends on the mood of the day I guess. But it definitely has to be comfortable. Also sort of monochromatic. You could even say boring.

What was it like working with Sofia Vergara? Did she have any career advice to dispense? What if so?

Sofia was great. She was actually an amazing partner in crime, generous, always trying to hype everyone and make you feel needed and proud. You actually learn a lot more from paying close attention to people like that – hard-working and successful – rather than asking questions. I had the chance to be very close to her for 6 months, on and off set. She’s such a fun person to be around.

Who are some actors and directors that you admire and why?

That’s probably the hardest question you can ask an actor because I start thinking of actors and go back to when I was 7 watching TV. Jeff Bridges was the reason I decided to become an actor from watching him a million times in the 1976 King Kong movie. But nowadays, Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, Benicio del Toro, Javier Bardem, Oscar Isaac and Tom Hardy are some of the actors that have had some of the most amazing roles I’ve seen lately. I’m 41 years old now, so that means I belong to a generation that idolized Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio’s careers as the ultimate goal. Oh and I think it would be so much fun working with Pedro Pascal, that’s a goal of mine. Also, the great ones – Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and my favorite, Al Pacino – I could go on for hours. Directors, there are many, Quentin Tarantino will always be the first one I think of, and I would also love to work with Yorgos Lanthimos, Barry Jenkins, Sam Levinson, Greta Gerwig, Ruben Östlund, Chloe Zao, Martin McDonagh, Damian Chazelle…and obviously the Three Amigos, Alfonson Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu. There are so many great filmmakers that I want to work with.
ALBERTO GUERRAPhoto Credit: David Suarez

What’s your dream project?

Any project that allows me to dig deep into my character and develop a path of constant change for him. I love to explore the darkest sides of the human condition and let the wildest thoughts run free in my mind. This allows me to cross the boundaries that a person, such as myself, has. The beauty of acting is being able to live whatever life you are given without paying any consequences for the actions.

What would you be doing if you did not go into acting?

I would probably be a carpenter, mechanic or some profession that involves using your hands to fix or create something. And for sure I would live at the beach and surf every morning.

Do people say you have a celebrity doppelganger? Who? What are your thoughts on the resemblance?

Not really. I did get some Adrien Brody comparisons at some point, and I loved it as he’s amazing, but I think I would get that with any actor with a big strong nose…you know.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Time. That’s my biggest luxury, I work to pay for the times that I’m not working. I love to spend time traveling, being a present dad – taking the children to school karate, ballet or the park. It doesn’t matter where, it’s the time that I can spend on myself and my family that matters the most.

ALBERTO GUERRAPhoto Credit: David Suarez