You can tell Miguel Angel Silvestre is excited for everyone to see the latest season of Sense8. The Spanish actor is as big a fan of what Lana Wachowski is doing with the Netflix sci-fi show as you could imagine. So much so that at a recent advance screening of the second season’s newest episode — which picks up right where the Christmas special left off — he sneaked a peek at the screen only to be blown away by what he saw. As an actor on the show, which follows eight different characters around the globe who share a psychic connection, he knows he has little control over the final product audiences get to see. So much of it is made and reshaped in the editing room. He often shoots the same scene and dialogue in different parts of the world, trusting Lana to piece it all together and make sense of it all.
As the show ramps up for its second season, which includes a very public coming out for Lito, Silvestre couldn’t help but reflect on the way Sense8 had quite literally changed his life. Known to Spanish audiences for his portrayal of Alberto Márquez in the hit series Velvet, Silvestre was thrust into a greater spotlight when he nabbed a role in Pedro Almodóvar’s raunchy comedy I’m So Excited! and a chance to work with the Wachowski siblings on this ambitious globe-trotting show. He remembers getting the call about Sense8 while he was still working on Velvet. He’d signed on for two seasons but credits the producers on that show (who will join the Netflix family once their Cable Girls series premieres) as being nothing but supportive. “Working with the Wachowskis isn’t something that happens every day, you know?” they told him. Which is why they worked around his shooting schedule to let him take on the role of Lito.
“There were days, I swear, when I would wake up and wonder, ‘Where am I?’”
Looking back, he doesn’t know how he made it. One day he was shooting in Spain, the next he was flying to Korea for a one-day shoot, only to head back to Spain for two days, then hop on the plane back to Korea, wrap up in a day, head back to Spain and then even head all the way to San Francisco. “I don’t even know when I slept. There were days, I swear,” he said, “when I would wake up and wonder, ‘Where am I?’ Or even, ‘Wait, who am I?’” He remains indebted to his Velvet producers and would do anything for them.
While much of the plot details of the upcoming season of Sense8 is being kept under wraps — the better to entice you to watch — there is one scene that fans who follow its many stars on social media are eagerly anticipating. At last year’s São Paulo pride parade, those celebrating the LGBTQ community in Brazil were surprised to see the full cast sharing kisses, hugs, and being all-around very affectionate. Silvestre, who’s helped flesh out Lito as he wrestles with coming out and sharing his boyfriend with the world (played by Alfonso Herrera), said he and the cast had the most wonderful time at Pride. After he performed a scripted speech that Lana wrote specifically for Lito, he and the rest of the cast were encouraged to just party and enjoy. Even when Lana asked him to take off his clothes and just dance, he didn’t hesitate. That’s how much he trusts her and how much he believes in her vision for this boundary-breaking show. And yes, he did get a call from his father later when images of him making out with all of his castmates hit the web. “Te veía tan promiscuo!” his father told him, even as he was assured by Silvestre that the show’s cameras were capturing it all for a very cool sequence.
As someone who grew up with an aunt who’s part of the LGBTQ community and who helped him grow up in a tolerant and accepting world, he’s now very fortunate about bringing Lito’s story to light and to help spread a much-needed message. As he told Remezcla, what he most enjoys about Sense8‘s treatment of Lito is the way Lana conceived his character as moving beyond a mere victim or tortured stereotype. There’s a hopefulness in the story the Wachowskis created. It’s a concept that really hit the actor when he visited the Kerry James Marshall retrospective last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Much like Lana’s vision, Marshall’s paintings of black subjects in buoyant and optimistic scenarios try to imagine a utopian vision of our world.
Knowing the actor is set to star in season three of that other signature Netflix show, we tried to get more info on what Narcos will look like now that Pablo Escobar is out of the picture. He’s clearly been having a ball on set — as his many pics with his co-stars attest — but what could he tell us about the drama’s plot? Well, true to the show’s core narrative, we’ll continue to follow the drug trade and how that shifted once Escobar was out of the picture. “Even as a fan, I wondered myself, how do you follow this show now that you don’t have this charismatic central character,” he said. “But the first episode, towards the end, there’s one scene that everyone in-house is already touting as the most intense one they’ve shot for the show. And the most surprising one to date. And really, when I read it, I immediately had this feeling that everyone will want to hop on the ride and binge the full season in a day.” We couldn’t sell it better ourselves.
Sense8 season two premieres on Netflix May 5, 2017.
This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated by the author for Remezcla.