For Cuban-American actor Maurice Compte, delving deep into a role – whether it’s a Mexican cartel hitman in Breaking Bad, a Colombian military colonel in Narcos or a powerful demon in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series – means taking notice of all the complexities that make a character intriguing to portray.
In his new film Den of Thieves, Compte stars as Benny “Borracho” Megalon, a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department headed by Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler), who is helping to track down a meticulous group of criminals set to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in L.A. Living up to his name, Borracho is an “alcoholic gambler with a talent for turning informers.”
Along with his role in Den of Thieves, Compte is also gearing up to star in the upcoming TV series Mayans MC, the highly-anticipated spin-off to the biker crime drama Sons of Anarchy, which ran for seven seasons on FX. On the show, which follows the Latino members of the Mayans Motorcycle Club near the California-Mexico border, Compte plays Kevin Jimenez, a DEA agent tasked to bring down a cartel kingpin. The show also stars J.D. Pardo, Edward James Olmos, Richard Cabral, Jacqueline Obradors and Antonio Jaramillo.
With the pilot episode scheduled to air in the late summer or early fall, there is still plenty of time to imagine how the new show will compare to Sons of Anarchy and how the majority Latino cast will give the biker culture narrative a fresh take.
During an interview with Remezcla, Compte talked about how Den of Thieves stands up against other heist movies, what it’s like working on the set of Mayans MC with mostly Latino co-stars, and gets a bit testy when we ask him about Latino stereotypes on his new biker TV program.
Den of Thieves is currently playing nationwide at a theater near you.
On the Fine Line Between Good Guys and Bad Guys
I think this film paint an amazing picture and shows us that there are no good guys or bad guys. There are just choices and perspectives on things. Yes, there are bad guys, but everyone always feels justified. And if a good guy does something wrong, it’s for the right reasons and it also feels justified. When I play a role, I really don’t differentiate whether I’m wearing a white hat or black hat. I just look at the character and how they perceive what they are doing and if they have a rational perspective.
On How Den of Thieves Stands Out from Other Heist Movies
We’re dealing with the Federal Reserve. This is the motherload of all banks. I also think the characters in this really harken back to some of the older [heist movies]. I am a big fan of [that genre]. I love movies that revolve around problem solving skills. This film has a lot of that. There is some raw action that comes with it, too. I think this film stands out because of the [police officer] characters. They’re trying to have normal lives and trying to be good family men. I think you see the depth that some of them must sink to, so they can play on the same playing field as the criminals.
On the Secrecy Behind the Upcoming Show Mayans MC
[The studio] doesn’t let me say a lot about it. They don’t even allow us to post [on social media] about certain things like logos on jackets or motorcycles. They’re really keeping everything close to the vest. I think it’s for good reason because the twists and turns in Mayans are going to be spectacular. I’m so happy to be a part of it.
On Working on Mayans MC with a Majority Latino Cast
It’s amazing. It doesn’t matter if you were raised in Miami or Houston or San Francisco or L.A., we all come from a culture where we can relate to one another. We’re all one step in and one step out, so I think we can all relate to each other’s experiences – coming into this business as actors and coming up in the neighborhoods that we came from.
On How Mayans MC Is More Than Just a Sons of Anarchy Spin-Off
I think that because it’s a spin-off is sort of peripheral. It’s a stand-alone story. Had [Mayans MC] come before Sons of Anarchy, I think it would be the same. I don’t think the way [executive producer] Kurt [Sutter] designed this program was meant to be collaborative. Although, the way the Mayans were collaborative in Sons of Anarchy, it could possibly be in reverse order [in Mayans MC]. But this series is going to stand alone and have its own merit. You cannot compare the white biker experience to the Latin biker experience. They are very independent from one another. It won’t be a just a continuation of what you’ve seen before.
On Whether the Show Perpetuates Negative Latino Stereotypes
There’s negative stereotypes in every race. That’s part of what makes a race a race. It’s not like we all walk above clouds or we’re all gangsters. I think we’re out to show the diversity that exists, which is no different than any other culture. Nobody would’ve asked that question about the Sons of Anarchy themselves. No one would’ve asked [those actors], “How do you feel representing white people in a negative aspect?” That doesn’t happen. I think it’s time that we start looking at each other as one race. We’re all human beings. I think it’s time to stop asking, “What does it mean to be doing something as a Latin person.” I’d like to think we’re beyond that.