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Freddie Prinze Jr. Has Been Waiting 20 Years To Play A Latino Role In Christmas With You

Anyone who grew up during the late 1990s and early 2000s will no doubt recognize the name Freddie Prinze Jr. The actor starred in several notable films, including the first live-action "Scooby-Doo" flick and the slasher horror "I Know What You Did Last Summer," as well as hitting a role on "Bones," "24," and other major TV productions. Despite his popularity, many fans of Prinze Jr. may be surprised to learn of his cultural background. In reality, the actor is one-quarter Puerto Rican through the paternal side of his family, and the actor has said that his heritage is extremely important to him.

Despite taking on a plethora of roles since his mainstream acting debut in 1995, none of these credits have given Prinze Jr. the opportunity to play a character with a cultural background that truly reflects his own — until "Christmas With You," that is. The 2022 Netflix rom-com, which chronicles a holiday-themed romance between a struggling songwriter (Aimee Garcia) and a music teacher (Prinze Jr.), has finally given the actor an opportunity to display his heritage on-screen, and he couldn't be happier.

Prinze Jr. gets to showcase his heritage on-screen

In "Christmas With You," Freddie Prinze Jr. portrays Miguel, a music teacher and single father with a Latino background. As the actor said on The Talk, he was deeply appreciative of the chance to play a character with a similar cultural identity to his own. "I love my culture," he said. "So it was something important to me and I got the opportunity to show off. Like I've been saying, I've been waiting 20-plus years to do it."

As Prinze Jr. told Entertainment Tonight, he has technically played Latino characters before, but those roles didn't meaningfully address it in any way. "I don't get to play Latinos very often in this business unless I create and write the show," he said. "Otherwise, it's always an after-the-fact studio thing, where the character's name is Mike Smith and [then] they cast me it's Mike Ramirez, and all of a sudden, they're like, 'Look, we hired diverse people.' And it's an afterthought, so I don't count any of those."

Specifically playing a Latino father was also an important factor to Prinze Jr. The actor's father Freddie Prinze Sr. died by suicide in 1977, before Prinze Jr. had even celebrated his first birthday. "This [project] also offers an opportunity to be a Latino father," he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "Growing up without one, it was an opportunity to show what I always wanted, what I wished for and what I fantasized about."