Edward James Olmos is known for extraordinary performances in films like “Stand and Deliver” and “American Me,” but the Mexican-American actor says his role in the new film “Go For Sisters” is the apex of his nearly 40-year career.
“I would probably say this is my best performance ever,” says Olmos. “It might just be. In my work, you have to accumulate, understand and let it come out and I think that shows in my performance in this film.”
In “Go For Sisters,” which opens in select theaters nationwide on Nov. 15, Olmos plays Freddy Suárez, ex-LAPD detective who comes to the aid of an old friend to help her find her missing son Rodney. The U.S.-Mexico border is nearly as prominent as Olmos in the drama, making geography a guiding presence throughout the film by director and two-time Academy Award nominee John Sayles.
“We filmed in in 66 locations in 19 days, traveling between the United States and Mexico,” Olmos says of the independent drama. The cast and crew traveled by bus to each of the locations, from Los Angeles to Calexico, Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego.
“The speed at which we filmed is really where my work as a producer began,” shares Olmos, who stars in the film opposite actresses Lisa Gay Hamilton and Yolonda Ross. “It was my job to bring the balance of each of the artists to the camera, and help them use the experience of traveling as an element to the film.”
The film – in which Olmos’ character becomes deeply intertwined with the women whom is he charged with helping – also made the 66-year-old actor reminisce about his own personal relationships.
“You know, my character is a great, great detective whose best friend was doing things that weren’t right – and so he just had to turn his back on him,” muses Olmos. “And I’ve done that myself, many, many times. Sometimes you have to completely disassociate from people, and it’s terrible, especially among alcoholics. You have to say ‘I love you, but you can’t come around me. Because I’m watching you kill yourself – and I can’t do it any longer.”
Aside from the film’s deeply personal themes, Olmos says he hopes the movie resonates with audiences for its intense portrayal of life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. A staunch advocate for immigration reform, Olmos says now is the time for President Barack Obama to “take executive action.”
“He should, but he won’t,” says Olmos. “That’s all there is to it. He has a lot to understand. He’s allowing much more deportation than has ever been allowed in this country and allowing things that are really supposedly out of his control to take place. But if you can’t change it, don’t enhance it.”
While Olmos is thrilled to have delivered the performance of a lifetime in “Go For Sisters,” he insists that in many ways, he’s entering a new stage in his career _ and nowhere near retirement.”
“I’m doing what I love. The work I’ve been able to receive and do is a real blessing,” says Olmos. And don’t be deceived by the overwhelming number of dramatic roles the Los Angeles native has taken in the last few years. Olmos intends to show fans a new side to his persona very soon. He’s teamed up with comedian Paul Rodriguez to produce a new television series for ABC, in which he will star as a “very opinionated, very discriminatory” character.
“I’m going to be more Archie Bunker than Archie Bunker was,” laughs Olmos.
“This new project is just one of the many reasons why I’m grateful for all I’ve been given and the career that I’ve been able to have.”