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Babylon Breakout Diego Calva Has Issues With How Mexico Is Portrayed By Hollywood

Damien Chazelle's upcoming epic film, "Babylon," explores the early days of Hollywood, California with Brad Pitt (Jack Conrad), Margot Robbie (Nellie LaRoy), and newcomer Diego Calva (Manny Torres) filling out the diverse cast of eccentric and pivotal characters that helped shape the future of Tinseltown during the Roaring 1920s. Chazelle has described the film as an homage to the era when make-believe became the raison d'etre of a burgeoning industry, or as he described the aesthetic of the film to Entertainment Weekly, "You're in a California desert, but you turn a corner and you're in medieval Europe, or a snowy village in the Rockies, or the Sahara Desert. You turn a corner and it's complete confection."

Hollywood history is not a strange topic to both Pitt and Robbie, who both starred in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" in 2019, but for Calva, the big-budget film is a revealing moment after some early roles that helped establish the Mexican actor as a force to watch in the industry, chiefly his part as Arturo Bertran Leyva in the third season of Netflix's "Narcos: Mexico." But despite his supporting role in the streaming hit, Diego Calva has spoken about issues he notices when it comes to Hollywood interpretations of Mexico.

Diego Calva disagrees with the way Netflix portrayed his home country in Narcos: Mexico

Diego Calva appeared in six episodes of "Narcos: Mexico" in its third and final season. Speaking about his experiences on the series and his thoughts on its content in an interview with GQ, Calva revealed, "There's a moment in your career as an actor that you really can't choose your roles. You are just grateful that you're having a job, and Narcos is a great show." The actor then added, "But in my case, it's a little hard because the way they put the story of my country, I don't agree at all. There's a lot of truth and that's amazing, but there's a lot of lies, too. I think my country doesn't need more narco culture and making these guys heroes."

Calva then went on to regret some of his character's actions in addition to the tone and presentation of Mexican culture depicted within the show. The "Babylon" star concluded by stating, "This is too raw. I don't know if I really want to keep shooting people." His role in the "Whiplash" director's upcoming Hollywood origin story is certainly different from the more graphic and serious situations his character in "Narcos: Mexico" was subjected to. Along with Robbie's Nellie LaRoy, the actor's portrayal of Manny Torres is meant to personify the wide-eyed dreamer who moves to the City of Dreams to make a difference in the artistic space of cinema.