‘Broad City’s Arturo Castro on Going from Actor to Writer With His Newest Web Series

Photo: Leriam Gonzalez for Slant

You may know Arturo Castro from his hilarious turn as Jaime in Broad City, but the Guatemalan-born actor has been busy working on projects that showcase his many other interests and talents. His web series, Alternatino, for example, already gave him the chance to mine his comedic writing skills to make some pointed commentary about Latino representation, while his stint on Mic’s Flip the Script where he asked white actors to “play it more white” was a hilarious reminder of the way Latino actors are often encouraged to play up stereotypical tropes just to land a job.

Castro’s latest venture, Tu Twist, promises to be a rather off-beat choice for the actor. “Writing a comedic cooking web series for Latinos” (in Spanish no less, with Giselle Blondet!) may not seem like what you’d have expected from the Broad City actor. As he admits himself, he’s not that great a cook! But it speaks to the actor’s decision to pursue new things and broaden his own talents both in front and behind the camera. You can see him trying to marry his sketch-comedy sensibility with a more family-based template, flexing his comedic muscles in these bite-sized webisodes that may give us a hint of what the actor could do with a whole screenplay. In fact, he wouldn’t say much about it, but there’s definitely a screenplay he’s been working on.

We talked to Castro about why we’ll be seeing more of shirtless Jaime this season, his pitch for the film role of his dreams (hint: it involves a certain Modern Family fave), and how he drew inspiration from his mom for this new foodie venture.

On The Idea Behind Tu Twist

I am a terrible cook, but I am a big fan of food! In fact I try to eat it at least once a day. Having said that, I grew up in a household where having dinner at the table was time you kinda came together, so I’ve always admired people that can do things that I can’t. So I’m a fan of cooking even though I can’t do it myself. My whole life. I mean I grew up with 5 mothers, cause I have three sisters, my mom and there was the woman that worked with us in Guatemala. And so, my inspiration usually goes to, when it has to do with nurturing when it has to do with caring and solutions, you know problem solving, my thoughts always go to “what would my family do? What would my sisters do, my mom do?” And I thought bringing a sense of comedy that’s not usual to the Spanish world to the sketches would be a refreshing take on cooking and on family building.

On Finding Inspiration In His Mom

And I gotta tell you, I’ll go on record: my mom is not the most amazing cook in the world. The number one lesson that’s she’s ingrained in me to this very day is: always have a pie in the fridge and a full chicken for when guests come over. That’s the number one essential. If you need to entertain somebody, you can never go wrong with a pie and a chicken. And one of things I think is most heartwarming to me about like my mom’s cooking is that she worked her entire life to give us a chance to get ahead in life. So when she would be home, we’d be stuck with limited ingredients, and she would make something as simple as a hot dog be so delicious by like leaving it a little extra in the microwave so it would get a little crispy and then just slice it in the middle and put like cheese in it. Like my mom has a way to make simple dishes feel so loving and so unique, you know? Like something as simple as hot dogs or something as simple as a hamburger tastes amazing when my mom makes it. Her twists always wind up tasting so well in such a surprisingly simple manner.

On Broad City Season Three

I think Jaime, along with all of the characters in Broad City are growing up before our eyes, you know? And I think this season Jaime’s definitely becoming more assertive, more comfortable in his own skin. I don’t think he was ever… Jaime has never struck me as a character uncomfortable in his own skin. That’s actually one of his biggest qualities, that he’s just so loving and like really happy to be in the present and in the moment. I just think this season, we’re seeing Jaime be more aware of his situation and be more assertive about what he likes and doesn’t like. And also Jaime is shirtless a lot this season. Because I sent a picture to Abbi and Ilana of myself after I went to boot camp… aaand they expected me to be in the same shape six months later when we shot. That was a wrong assumption.

On When To Expect More Alternatino

We’re coming out with the next batch of sketches somewhere in June and thanks to support of the community and the audience response to the first season, this season they’re really letting us expand the world of Alternatino. So yes, you can expect at least three more episodes this year, with the hopes of expanding it to a bigger version of itself, also later this year. But, yes! Of course you can expect it. *Puts on a really funny accent* There’s nothing that I rather do than bring you Alternatino. (You can’t hear me but I’m making a really funny accent as I say this.)

On His Future

I’m really excited about this new phase of the career as a whole, just because I feel that it’s so empowering and really, finding your voice as a writer is hard to do, but it’s one of the most compelling and rewarding things you can do. And so it’s funny ’cause I’m getting offers now to write roles for myself in movies and such and to me, the ideal movie that I’d want to come out with and that is in the works is a dramedy. My favorite characters are deeply flawed human beings, because I believe that we all are. And to add to a serious situation, an element of comedy and love and fear, I think is one of the best combinations that I’ve ever heard of. So that would probably be the thing I would write for myself. And for Sofia Vergara as my love interest. Sofie I love you!