Celebrity Connection: Luis Guzmán
Lights, camera, seafood – Actor Luis Guzmán is ready for his Hilton Head closeup.
Story by Leslie T. Snadowsky + Photos by Monica Baddar
Award-winning actor Luis Guzmán has given passionate performances in movies such as “Boogie Nights,” “The Limey,” “Magnolia,” “Out Of Sight” and “Traffic” and in CBS’s “Code Black,” Epix’ “Godfather of Harlem,” HBO’s “How To Make It In America,” Netflix’s “Narcos” and Showtime’s “Roadies” and “Shameless,” but Guzman has another passion, and it’s seafood.
Guzmán will be assuming the Master of Ceremonies role at the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival from February 21-27 and is looking forward to his first trip to the Island.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Guzmán has more than 30 years of experience in the movie and entertainment industry. He’s starring as Gomez Addams, alongside Academy Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones’s Morticia Addams, in the upcoming Netflix series “Wednesday,” and is producing a feature film, “Story Avenue,” through his new Dark Rabbit Productions with his son and company CEO Cemí Guzmán by his side.
Their mission is to create high-quality original content and build a culture of unity and acceptance through film. A proud father of five, Renaissance man Guzmán also likes to dance, play music, take photos and cook seafood.
[LOCAL Life] You’re going to be a Master of Ceremonies at the upcoming Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival. You’re a star in Hollywood, but do you have any seafood cred? [Luis Guzmán] I’m a huge fan of seafood. I love cooking seafood. I love fish chowder. I’ve been to many places around the world, and I’ve enjoyed tasting different types of seafood everywhere I go. I like making seafood vegetable stew with lots of garlic. I put shrimp, calamari and codfish in there, a lot of mushrooms and garlic and kale and carrots. And I put a few noodles in there, too.
[LL] Have you been to Hilton Head Island before, and what are you looking forward to the most when you get here? [LG] I haven’t been to Hilton Head yet, but I sent my daughter Luna there this past summer and she loved it, absolutely loved it. I love traveling, I love visiting new places, and my daughter reported back to me how lovely, how awesome it was. I’m very excited, and I welcome the opportunity to be there. I just want to have fun and, you know, rub elbows with all those beautiful, supportive people that are going to be there.
[LL] You just wrapped up production in Bucharest, Romania, for the upcoming American horror comedy “Wednesday,” a Tim Burton next-gen take on The Addams Family franchise due to premiere on Netflix this year. I’m sure you watched The Addams Family as a kid. Was Gomez Addams a character you ever thought you’d portray? [LG] Never in my wildest imagination. I’ve been acting for a long time, and I got to tell you, this, for me, it’s like a dream come true. It’s very humbling. I grew up, like you said, watching The Addams Family, and one of my all-time favorite actors, Raúl Juliá, portrayed Gomez Addams in two Addams Family movies. And here I find myself portraying the new version of Gomez and working alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays Morticia, and Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday, who, by the way, that young lady is a rock star, and it’s being directed by Mr. Tim Burton. If I never go to the moon, I could say I’ve been Gomez Addams and that’s good enough for me.
[LL] Spill the beans. What’s it like working with Mrs. Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones? [LG] She’s phenomenal to work with. She’s an absolute team player and is a fun, fun, fun human being to be around. We complemented each other super well on this.
[LL] How about over-the-top director Tim Burton? Was it fun being immersed in his world for a while? [LG] Tim Burton is Tim Burton. He’s a pretty awesome director. As I said, I’m over the moon that I got an opportunity to work with someone as iconic as he is. The sets are incredible. The wardrobe is mind-blowing. They put a lot into this, rightly so. I think it speaks for itself, and it’s taking it to another level of Addams Family. I’m just really proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
[LL] You’re a very involved father of five, and I know you’re excited about an upcoming project you’re producing with your son Cemí, who is accompanying you to Hilton Head. Tell us about it, and tell us why staying at the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival host hotel, the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, is going to be special for both of you. [LG] We’re working on a project called “Story Avenue” that an incredible young man named Aristotle Torres wrote. We hope to be shooting that this year. And the beautiful thing about that is not only am I going to be in the movie, but my son Cemí and I, we’re producing it together. In Hilton Head, we’re going to be visiting with our long-time friend Calvin Belknap, who’s the general manager at the Omni, and we’re looking forward to being at the Omni. I know the Omni brand has always done incredible things for their communities. When Puerto Rico suffered that catastrophic Hurricane Maria, Calvin went to Puerto Rico and offered people jobs and flew them out and provided them housing, a job and job security. He’s a wonderful humanitarian. I love him for that among other things, like being a good friend, and he’s loved by his employees and the staff. I just feel honored to be able to do this with him, and for him and for the Omni.