Everyone’s buzzing about the DVD release of “The Avengers,” but few realize that stealthy Agent Sitwell is played by no other than Latino actor Maximiliano Hernandez.
Hernandez, a Brooklyn native, briefly studied acting at the Leonard Davis Center for performing arts in New York before beginning his acting career in off-Broadway theaters. Following appearances on a number of television shows including “24” and “Law and Order,” Hernandez landed parts in blockbuster Marvel films like “Thor” and “The Avengers.” He can be seen in the new short “ITEM 47” and in a rare break from shooting, chatted with NBC Latino about his role in the much-talked about film franchise.
What was special about playing the character of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jasper Sitwell in blockbuster films like “Thor” and “The Avengers”?
“It’s a nice feeling – a dream come true. I mean grew up reading comic books and knowing this character was a real character in the comic books was super awesome. And it’s nice having the opportunity to play a character that’s not ethnic specific. I had to admit that this business is a very white, very Anglo and when people look past that to see the diversity and flavors that exist in this world, magic happens. For a long time I played snitches, drug dealers and murderers and got really sick of it. That being said, in this role I get to be a real actor and that’s something I’m really proud of.”
What was it like filming a short in conjunction with the DVD release of the highest grossing movie of all time?
“It was incredibly liberating. Louis D’Esposito, the co- president of Marvel Studios, directed it and he came from an honest place of wanting to make it great. Plus, a lot of people who worked on “The Avengers” are in it and that was really great. Everyone came to work with this spirit of ‘this is awesome, let’s make this big.’”
What was the biggest challenge in filming “ITEM 47”?
“The biggest challenge was stepping into the role of Agent Coulson. His character dies in “The Avengers” and had a huge following, so that was a little tough. So my attitude of kind of taking his place was a metaphor for me personally, doing something worthy with my character and showing what I’m all about.”
What do you love about acting in action films?
“You know what? I think I’ve been spoiled! There’s a lot of action stuff but with Marvel there’s a lot of care given to the actors. The directors want really good performances – it’s not about explosions, but about getting to the heart of the story. A lot of action movies don’t do that. Plus I love that I’m making movies for my son – he’s seen every single Marvel movie and he’s completely into it.”
You’ve been a part of so many successful projects. When did you realize acting was an outlet for you?
“I think I realized it my senior year in high school. I had done theater in school primarily to get out of detention but it turned into a great outlet, especially growing up in Brooklyn in a neighborhood that wasn’t conducive to that stuff. In college I auditioned for a conservatory and really buckled down, did a lot of theater and small parts on television for years. You’re not going to jump and be an instant celebrity. But being a solid actor? No one can take that away from you and it’s a pleasure when somebody says you’re a good actor.”
What’s one thing fans might not know about you?
“I love eating flan, a guilty way to consume calories. I also love do-it-yourself-type shows way too much. My dad was a contractor for 40 years and I’ll totally watch those shows ad nauseam. I love learning about new tools and while I don’t have any intention of buying them, I like to know what’s out there.”