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Why Blue Beetle's Mom Rocio Looks So Familiar

If you were one of the fans who flocked to the latest DC Comics big-screen adventure, the likable but extremely generic "Blue Beetle," in theaters, there might have been a few members of the cast that struck a chord in your memory. One of those cast members might be Mexican actress Elpidia Carrillo, who plays the mother of the main character and titular superhero Jaime Reyes (Xolo MaridueƱa).

If Rocio Reyes's character looks familiar to a viewer of "Blue Beetle," it's probably because Carrillo has had a long career in both Spanish and English language projects over the last few decades. She's been a frequent presence in feature films and television shows, and a few of her performances have been in movies that are still widely watched classics even decades after their original release. Here's a brief rundown of a few of her highest-profile roles so fans of her latest can pin down what they might have seen her in before.

Early in her career, she worked alongside big names like Jack Nicholson

Suppose you're a connoisseur of the Spanish language art house cinema of the '70s. In that case, you may be familiar with some of the first projects listed on Elpidia Carrillo's credits on IMDb, including the controversial 1977 film "Pafnucio Santo." She eventually caught the attention of Hollywood and made her English language debut in 1982's "The Border," which stars Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel.

"The Border" is a crime story set on the border between the United States and Mexico. Carrillo plays Maria, a young mother detained by authorities and whose baby is abducted in an elaborate human smuggling operation that forms the basis of the movie's plot. As her first role in an American production with two Hollywood stars, "The Border" could be where many U.S. viewers saw her for the first time. And her performance in the film led to even bigger projects during the '80s and beyond.

She appeared in a TV miniseries about Christopher Columbus and worked with director Oliver Stone in Salvador

A few years after "The Border," Elpidia Carrillo debuted on United States television in "Christopher Columbus," an international miniseries production based on the life of the famous Italian explorer, played by Gabriel Byrne. TV miniseries about historical figures don't tend to be watched by too many people decades after the fact. Still, if you're old enough to have watched it on TV when it aired, there's a good chance it was your first time seeing Carrillo on screen, given that it was her first appearance on U.S. television.

Carrillo plays the role of Coana in four episodes of the six-episode series, and one of the people who may have taken notice of her work on the show is filmmaker Oliver Stone, who cast her the following year in a major role in his fact-based political thriller "Salvador" starring James Woods and Jim Belushi. Carrillo plays the female lead Maria, a former lover of Woods' Richard Boyle, whom he tries to help flee El Salvador in the wake of political unrest, and she was nominated for a 1987 Independent Spirit Award for the part.

She played Anna in Predator

A year after "Salvador," Elpidia Carrillo appeared in the role that is probably her most famous one even today. She plays Anna Gonsalves in "Predator," a young guerilla fighter who crosses paths with a group of soldiers led by Arnold Schwarzenegger's Alan "Dutch" Schaefer during a secret mission in the South American jungle. If you've seen the movie, or even if you haven't, you know that the men are picked off one by one by a dangerous and seemingly unkillable extraterrestrial big game hunter known as a Predator. Carrillo manages to hold her own as the only woman in a film drowning in testosterone.

She reprises her role with a cameo in the film's sequel "Predator 2," and since the "Predator" film series is still going strong today, this is likely her most recognizable role. If, during "Blue Beetle," your mind started to wander toward what would happen if Blue Beetle fought a Predator, perhaps it was your subconscious recognizing Carrillo in her most famous character.

She's turned up in several very popular TV shows like Miami Vice and ER

Throughout the '80s and '90s, Elpidia Carrillo frequently appeared on some top TV hits. She did two episodes of "Miami Vice," playing two different characters in two different episodes of the show's fifth season. Other familiar TV credits for Carrillo during this period include "21 Jump Street," "Against the Law," the TV movie "Dangerous Passion" with Carl Weathers and Billy Dee Williams, and an episode of "The Pretender."

She also returned to performing in her native Mexico for a few projects in the '90s, including "La Hija del Puma" and "Una Cita con el Destino," as well as a film called "Un Embrujo," which happens to have been produced by Guillermo del Toro.

In 2002, Carrillo played yet another character named "Maria" in Season 3, Episode 12 of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the iconic police procedural that has built up a substantial audience that remains loyal to this day. But if you're a longtime fan of the show and remember its early seasons, you may remember Carrillo's character in this episode of the series, where she played a fearful mother hiding dark secrets from the police.

She's continued to work steadily in TV and film throughout the 2000s

In 2002, Elpidia Carrillo appeared in a small role in a very different kind of science-fiction production from "Predator," the 2002 cerebral sci-fi "Solaris" starring George Clooney. And she's worked prolifically in television and films since then, with credits on everything from the satirical comedy "A Day Without a Mexican" and a 2008 episode of the detective procedural "The Mentalist."

Also in 2008, she co-starred with Will Smith in his drama "Seven Pounds," going on to appear in three episodes of the music biz drama "Nashville" in 2014 and 2015.

Most recently compared to her role in "Blue Beetle," Carrillo can be seen in Season 4, Episode 19 of the "Magnum P.I." reboot. Also, in 2022, she re-teamed with Guillermo del Toro for an episode of "Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities," "Lot 36," based on a story by del Toro himself and in which she plays the role of Amelia, a woman whose titular storage unit contains some possibly demonic artifacts.

These are only a few of Elpidia Carrillo's most high-profile acting roles over the years, so if she looks familiar to you in "Blue Beetle," these are some likely reasons why.