Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver) knows the kind of industry he’s been a part of for the last 47 years. It’s the reason, he says, it’s taken so long for Hollywood to embrace the idea of expanding its talent pool.
“You have to understand that this is show business,” Olmos told Forbes magazine. “It’s not show sociology, psychology, or cultural awareness. You can put depth and texture into a work of art that can be commercial like Selena, La Bamba or Stand and Deliver. These are films that were well received and made more money than they cost to make – and that’s what it’s all about.”
Until Hollywood realized it could make a profit from casting Latinos, Blacks, Asians and other minorities in their movies, there was really no reason to do it since sticking to the status quo was doing so well for them already.
“Caucasian storytelling has been very profitable,” Olmos says. “God Almighty, it’s a multibillion-dollar business, so they never needed to use non-European based cultures to tell stories for the world. Now, it’s starting to make more sense to diversify. The change is happening but has taken a long, long, long time.”
Currently, Olmos is getting ready for the start of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), which he co-founded in 1997. He’s also promoting his newest film, Walking with Herb, where he plays Joe Amable-Amo, an amateur golfer who has lost his faith after a tragedy. George Lopez (No Man’s Land) plays a messenger from God who takes Joe on a spiritual journey to face his fears.
“When I’m gone, 100 years later they’ll be able to watch my work and say, ‘Wow, this is really interesting how he used this medium,’” Olmos says.