becoming an actor, Santiago Cabrera originally planned on
taking up sports professionally. He played soccer for three
years on college scholarships in Chile and played semi-pro
in London. While in London he trained for three
years at the Drama Centre. After graduating, his first role
was Montano in Shakespeare's Othello
at the Northampton Theatre Royal and in London at The Greenwich
Theatre. Cabrera's career breakthrough came when he was cast
in the lead role of Octavius in ABC's Empire.
He currently stars in NBC's Heroes
as Isaac Mendez, a heroin-addicted artist whose dark, violent
and apocalyptic paintings are actual premonitions of future
events. Review Graveyard caught up with Cabrera as Heroes
was about to start broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel...
character seems to struggle with his ability. Do you think
he could be using it to better effect?
Cabrera: I think it depends on whether you're in control of
it or not. That's the interesting thing about this character's
premonitions. At that moment, he's not conscious of what he's
doing. It's a pretty freaky thing. There's this question of,
"What is this evil that is coming from inside me?" and also
a sense of, "Why is this all happening?" But obviously, if
you're in control of it and you can put it to good use, then
that's a different story.
the great thing about this show. It starts from the very beginning
with everyone discovering these things for the first time.
When you play Isaac, are you as confused as the character
because you do not know how the story pans out?
That's the fascinating thing about working this way. It's
not every day that, as an actor, you don't know the whole
story. You're like the audience in that way, so you have to
bring that to your performance. It's different and it's interesting
at the same time. You have to play in the moment and create
that confused state of not knowing what's going to happen
was great that everyone's story was taken from the beginning.
Everyone has their own process of discovery which is very
important for the audience. As the episodes continue, as the
audience keeps watching, the characters come together and
there'll be more of an interaction.
RG: This is your first major role,
how does it feel to hit the dizzy heights of stardom? What
did you do before the show?
I got here from London where I have been doing some theatre.
I've done a couple of movies that should be coming out soon.
But what a better part to get than to come straight into this.
I did the pilot season. I remember just locking myself in
an apartment which I was staying in for a week and reading
eight pilot scripts. As soon as I read Heroes, it jumped
out at me and I pursued it from the beginning because it was
something very unique and I really wanted to be part of it.
You say you have done some theatre work, has this helped with
your preparation for a major TV role?
There is an intensity about an actor's preparation for the
theatre, more so than other roles. The great thing about Isaac
is that he has that intense quality. What attracted me to
the role is that you don't know where he's going to go, he's
full of surprises. Isaac has many layers and a depth about
certainly helped me to have delved into that level of preparation
before because we want to try and reflect that same intensity
and add some variation to it.
Were you a fan of comic books when you were growing up?
I have to say I didn't really grow up with comics, apart from
Asterix. But I immediately got together with Tim Sale,
who's the comic book artist, and was introduced to that world.
He also does my character's painting. I have been reading
his comics and have really enjoyed them.
works with Jeff Loeb, who's also a writer on the show. My
character is a comic book artist himself so I've been reading
books and I've become really hooked on Daredevil actually.
I think it's fascinating, that whole world. I can see why
people get obsessed on it, it's very gritty.
How do you feel about the phenomenal success that the show
has achieved already?
When I was reading it, I thought that if what comes off the
page is translated on to the screen than we're onto a winner.
You're always hoping that but I'm not surprised that there's
been this reaction because it really is a unique show. It's
like nothing else, very different and edgy. And it's great
to see this response. It's like a prize for the all hard work
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Julie Warmington at Holler
begins broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel
from February 2007.