Born in Mexico of Spanish father and Cuban mother, FERNANDO ALLENDE is not only SLAYER's associate producer but also co-star with Lynda Carter. Here he shares his experience working with Lynda, and details of the movie exclusively for WONDERLAND.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTOR?
That is one of the first thoughts that I had in my mind, that I wanted to be a performer. I truly do not believe that any branch of the family had before any kind of this artistic desire, but I certainly knew this from the very beginning, since I was a little kid. It was really interesting how the process evolved into conquering my dream. Eventually I was able to fulfill this dream at a very early age because I did my first film “Maria” when I was 15 years of age, and right on the set in the month of November still filming I turned 16 . “Maria” was a very well-known film based on a classic romantic novel of the 1800’s and I had the pleasure of playing opposite Tyrone Powers’ daughter Taryn Power, and it was a humongous success. It is in the Cinematic in Paris and Moscow, it turned out to be a classic film, so it was really interesting to think about something when you are very, very young and focus your power and energy into conquering this. From that moment on, I just continued performing, and the singing and producing, and now I’m an artist, I’m painting too, I’ve been able to expand in different areas of art.
THAT IS VERY SIMILAR TO LYNDA’S EARLY EXPERIENCE AS A SINGER. ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT?
You have a point there. After meeting Lynda, I know that we have a lot of things in common, not only the things that you mention, but the fact that she is a phenomenal person. I have been hosting her while she has been here in Puerto Rico. I know that she loved her stay here and she wants to come back, and she left a lot of wonderful friends and people that cared for her because she is such a wonderful, energetic and positive individual. She left a wonderful impression here in Puerto Rico.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ROLE IN THE MANY FILMS AND TV SHOWS YOU HAVE BEEN IN?
I have several favorite ones, definitely the one I played opposite Joanne Woodward in “Street of Los Angeles” as Ramond (Gallo) Zamorra left an important mark in the rest of my life and career, because getting to know Joanne as a person really taught me a lot of how people should behave, how people should be, how humble people should be, with the craft and then she was kind enough to invite me over to spend sometime with them in Westport in Connecticut and I had the pleasure of meeting Paul and her children. It was like a fulfilling experience, not only artistically wise but as a human being, they taught me so much. Just by being close to the family you learn how to deal with life in a nicer and positive way. It was really phenomenal. I recall also playing George Mellis in “Master of Game” written by Sidney Sheldon, it was a great, great character. It was power, the duality of this role, because during the daytime he was a charmer, a wall street individual, really respected and loved by people, but at night he turned into a psychopath that would kill, it was kind of a Jekyll and Hyde situation. So it was a very powerful character that I remember a lot about. I also remember “Stalingrad” which was the first American-Russian co-production in history. It was produced by Warner Brothers and Quincy Jones was the executive producer, but mainly I remember the role because it brought me over to Russia during the first moments that glasnost and perestroika were happening. This enormous power on the planet was going through a crucial change, economically wise, socially wise, so to be there at that specific time in history, playing such an important role, playing the only Hispanic actor, it just meant a lot to me. But in reality I can mention every one of the characters because you fall in love with each one of them and you learn from each one of them that really leave a mark in your life and your experience. I love all the characters.
WHAT MADE YOU WANY TO BECOME A PRODUCER ON THIS FILM AND STILL ACT IN IT? WHY DID THE STORY INTRIGUE YOU?
Well, the reason that I wanted to become an associate producer on this film (SLAYER) was that that I own 53,000 square feet of soundstages here in Puerto Rico, and because of this I was able to meet the people from IDT and Kevin VanHook who wrote and directed the story. I just fell in love with the people and the whole idea. I loved the story, I thought it was very interesting to present a new version of vampirism, not the usual black cape and fangs story, but a contemporary story about this topic where they were speaking not only about the traditional vampire, but talking about how we, as human beings as a race, have provoked the mutation of species. That we’re pushing them away from their natural habitat, and in order for them to survive, they need to become vampires, so to me that whole idea I really liked that innovative approach to such a known topic. That is why I wanted to become a producer on the film, and then when I knew who was coming to perform and I knew that they were dealing with Lynda, and there was a possibility that she could come over and play one of the parts, and I knew that she was the only non-vampire female in the film, I said, let me read the script. When I read it, I said, “well, there’s another non-vampire role, the guide, which is the only male non-vampire, and while it is a small role, I said that I would like to play that , and they said OK, so Lynda will play the only non-female vampire and you’ll play the only non-male vampire.” Not only that, but I always want to keep my craft alive, and I like to play little roles, because I don’t think of them as little roles, every piece is important in a production, technically-wise, actor-wise, so I always like to participate one way or the other.
THAT’S A FASCINATING WAY OF LOOKING AT YOUR PROFESSION.
Well, for me being an actor through all my life, it’s been a phenomenal experience, and as I’ve said before, each one of the roles truly allow you to learn from them, the fact that you can live, the fact that you can become other individuals, the fact that you can teach them how to walk, because not all the characters walk the same, not all of them look the same, not all of them have the same physical or corporal expressions. If you take acting as the realm of giving each of the roles a different characteristic, a different personality, it’s a really, really enhancing experience, not only for the actor, but for the human being. I always like to be in front of the camera, but on the other hand I’ve been discovering this new passion in my life over the past 6-7 years which is to apply all your knowledge ands everything you’ve learned through the years. Now you can not only apply it in front of the camera but behind the camera to make things smoother. It makes you understand your fellow actors so much better, it makes you understand your crew members better. It gives you like a broader spectrum understanding towards the whole production of films, so it’s been really an evolution that’s taking me into a better understanding of what all the business is about, and it’s really fascinating.
SO BESIDES YOUR ROLE AND LYNDA’S ROLE AS NON-VAMPIRES, WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE CAST?
Ah, you know what happens is, is that either they are vampires or eventually they turn into one, you see, but the story is so interesting that we shouldn’t say a lot about it, but that’s what really attracted me about the character, I’m the guide, the guide through the jungle.
WHAT IS LYNDA’S CHARACTER LIKE? WE KNOW SHE IS A MILITARY FIGURE.
Well, you know Lynda is a powerful woman, not only in real life but in the film she is a powerful lady, and sensitive and powerful is how I would define her character (as Colonel Weaver). She is a shine of light that is needed in the story, and she played it impeccably well as a woman in the military. I am certain that she was very, very happy with her performance, too.
HOW WAS SHE CHOSEN FOR THE FILM?
We didn’t start casting until November, but we always had her in mind. I think it was a role made for her, but there were certain problems, we went back and forth because of schedules and compromises. She was just finishing “Chicago” and at a certain point it seemed that it would be overlapping and she would have very little time to rest. We were concerned with her having enough time to recuperate, as producers we understand the commitment that requires to do stage, the daily grind is a draining experience, but fortunately God was with us and everything turned out to be great. She loved the story, she loved the writing, she loved talking to Kevin VanHook over the phone from London, and towards the end, approaching the time to start filming, everything seemed to fit perfectly. You know she had to come over to Puerto Rico, and she did her first sessions of filming, and she had to go back because she had prior commitments in Washington DC, then she had to fly back to Puerto Rico to finish her performance. But that was Ok with us to split the filming, we said “We Want Lynda Carter”! And we fell in Love with her, who doesn’t, and we confirm the living icon she is. We are very happy that we were able to convince her to participate in this film and as a company we are wishing and hope that this is only one of many that we can do together with her.
IS THE FILM GOING TO BE A TELEVISON MOVIE OR A BIG-SCREEN FILM?
We truly at this point do not know, we know we have a wonderful product, but we do not exactly know what approach we will take, we have all the doors open, remember, we are not a major studio, we want to see the product finished but I cannot tell you know what will happen, but I know it will be good.
HOW DID YOU COME TO KNOW LYNDA?
Well, I lived in Aspen for 18 years, and in that time I came to know Lynda and her husband, in fact her son and my son went to the same school together when Lynda lived in Aspen for a whole year. But I came to know her of course like the entire planet earth knows Lynda through her renowned performance in “Wonder Woman”, so from that moment on she was and is the sweetheart of so many people in the planet. I also got to know about Lynda towards her support in Hispanic matters, being such a renowned person who was definitely one of the first ones to proudly, publicly say that she came from a Hispanic extraction, so that gave me an incredible respect towards her because of the pride, and because all of the beautiful Hispanity she was sharing with the world, using the media as a reflector to let the world know of how beautiful Hispanic traditions and music and food and people are in general, so I got to know her through her labor.
CAN YOU TELL US ANY PERSONAL THOUGHTS ABOUT KNOWING LYNDA?
First I’ll tell you a funny story, when Lynda came to the airport in Puerto Rico it was really wonderful, everyone wanted to meet her, including the guards, and when she came out of the plane, and we all came forward to welcome her, including the police, and she gave me this kind of “what is going on?’ look, and I told her “that they were just here to welcome you”. Lynda and I also had some quality moments, speaking about spirituality and about personal growth and development, speaking about being a hispanic nowadays in America, becoming mainstream, I had the pleasure also of introducing my wife and my two children to Lynda, and all of us having quality time together, but I must say that spending time with Lynda always becomes like a memorable quality time of experience together, it’s been wonderful, better than before. For her to share her wonderful being, and for us to be able to absorb such a wonderful individual was fantastic.
SENOR ALLENDE, WE CERTAINLY WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PERSONAL THOUGHTS ABOUT “SLAYER” AND KNOWING AND ACTING WITH LYNDA.
Well, thank you so much for being able to meet you over the phone and tell you about Lynda and “SLAYER” and myself.
Interview © 2006 by WONDERLAND • The Ultimate Wonder Woman Site. All rights reserved.
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