Actor Luis Guzmán at the New York City premiere of “We’re the Millers” in New York City on August 1, 2013. (Photo/Getty Images)

Coquito, cold water: Luis Guzmán reveals his worst vacation ever

Luis Guzmán is one of the actors in a road trip comedy “We’re the Millers.”  It turns out the Puerto Rican comedian didn’t lack inspiration when it came to his role as a Mexican highway patrol officer who temporarily puts the brakes on a seemingly wholesome family vacation taken by drug dealer Dave Clark (Jason Sudeikis), phony wife Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and fake kids Casey (Emma Roberts) and Kenny (Will Poulter).

“We take coquito and portable grills, lots of coolers,” jokes Guzmán about his family road trip essentials.  “I cook a lot, you know, do the burgers, chicken and hot dogs.” And while Guzmán has never ventured on a Mexican road trip the likes of which is the premise of “We’re the Millers,” (complete with pot, guns and one memorable stripper scene) Guzmán says that one of the most memorable vacations he’s ever had with his family of seven included a Puerto Rican no-no: cold water.

“I took a road trip to Bar Harbor, Maine in an RV with my family when the kids were really little with the idea we’d all jump into the ocean and enjoy the beach,” says Guzmán, who splits his time between Hollywood and the home where he resides with his wife and five children in Vermont. “But when the kids stepped into that water, they said ‘Papi, you’re crazy’ and came running back – there was no way they were getting in! And that was the end of that road trip.”

Luis Guzmán (c) in character in "We're the Millers."

Luis Guzmán (c) in character in “We’re the Millers.” (Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Ill-fated family road trips aside, Guzmán’s policeman role in “We’re the Millers” – which follows the story of pot dealer Clark’s drug smuggling trip from Mexico to Denver, Colorado under the cover of a fun-filled RV vacation – marks just the latest in a long string of roles where Guzmán lends comedic relief as cop or sidekick. In fact, “We’re the Millers” – one of the few comedies to hit theaters during a summer of blockbuster action flicks  – was just the opportunity Guzmán needed to cement his funny-man status once and for all, adding his trademark humor in laugh-out-loud scenes opposite “Saturday Night Live” alum Sudeikis.

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“It was really fun,” says Guzmán of his cameo in “We’re the Millers,” in theaters August 7. “More than anything, I got to really, really mess with his head. I really just had fun with it and Jason was on point. So you know, for the work I did, I think it really came off well and I’m proud.”

But don’t expect to see Guzmán’s name behind that of A-listers like Aniston for much longer. The 56-year-old actor has just wrapped his very first leading role, in a wrestling comedy named “Aztec Warrior” that will hit theaters early next year.

Luis Guzman (2nd L) and family attend the "We're The Millers" New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on August 1, 2013 in New York City.

Luis Guzman (2nd L) and family attend the “We’re The Millers” New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on August 1, 2013 in New York City. (Photo/Getty Images)

“It’s my first big leading role but I didn’t feel a certain sense of responsibility about it until later,” confesses Guzmán.  “That actually never entered my mind when I was shooting the film. If it was about the pressure of playing the lead, I wouldn’t want to do it. I play a lead in ‘Aztec Warrior’ because I wanted to have fun with the role, which is how I approach my character work.”

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Leading man status aside, Guzmán says that there’s one thing he wants to be remembered for – and it has nothing to do with acting, very much unlike co-star Aniston, who will always be remembered from her days on the iconic sitcom “Friends.”

“I just want to be remembered for being a good father to my kids,” reveals Guzmán, whose five children – four of whom are adopted – range in ages 17 to 21. “That’s the most important job I’ll ever have. And that’s my legacy that I want to leave.

“That where I draw all of my pride.”

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