Growing up in East Los Angeles with a single mom, Richard Cabral was in a
gang by 13 years old, made his first trip to jail at 14 and by 15 was addicted
to crack cocaine. His teenage years were a series of trips in and out of jail.
At the age of 20 Cabral was arrested and charged with attempted murder and
would spend a year in jail while he awaited trial. If convicted, he was facing
a sentence of 35 years to life. Making a
plea deal gave him a reduced sentence of 5 years of which he would serve 27
months. Upon release he found a support system in Homeboy Industries, Father
Gregory ‘G-Dog’ Boyle’s charity, where ex-gang members are provided jobs as an
alternative to gang life providing they stay clean. It was there that led to
Cabral being cast as an extra in CSI: Miami. Earlier this month we saw the
release of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones featuring Richard in the role
of Arturo. LatinoBuzz got to hear from Cabral about his transition in life.
LATINOBUZZ: You are from East LA and joined a
gang at 13 years old. What was it about that time and place that you felt that
it was yours and your peers only option?
RICHARD: I feel that in all kids that I’ve
came across, that at the age of 12-13 is a big transition . They begin forming
the Young Adult there going to become, here molding . I can’t put a
“name” on it but it’s something. Your trying to find yourself, were
getting ready to go to High School and as this world teaches you, you must
“belong” to something. (So we Belong to Something)
LATINOBUZZ: I did a piece on Father G-Dog – how
important was Homeboy Industries to your spiritual evolution and why are
organizations like them always in jeopardy of losing funding when they change
so many lives?
RICHARD: ‘Homeboy Industries’ is a great
organization but beyond that, it is Father Greg. He is the reason why I was
given this second chance. Of course other things play a factor on this amazing
journey I’ve gone through, but if there was no Father Greg there would be
nothing. I believe ‘organizations’ like these are always in jeopardy because
what we are taught in this sickening world (“Society”) is “greed” and
we as people are not one. ‘Majority of “minds” are warped into the
belief of the only person worth helping is themself. People think others that
come from gangs, poverty, drugs are below them. Which is bull-shit because the
whole world is going through problems, were all suffering together, people are
just too blind to see.
LATINOBUZZ: Is it crazy to think that you would
be a part of a blockbuster film franchise when you were facing 35 years to
RICHARD: Ha! It’s ludicrous to even say it in
the same line:) Well, that’s what we are taught to believe and that’s what I
would have stated when I was sitting in a cell. But the power of belief, of God
is beyond what mere mortals can Imagine. There is no restrictions in my Life.
If I do what I love, work night and day, and I’m open to the spirits. that’s
when the “Greats” take over.
LATINOBUZZ: How important is ‘Paranormal
Activity: The Marked Ones’ for Latino filmmaking?
RICHARD: HUGE! This is the first time in
history that Latinos have done it and made the “Studios” this amount
of money and signed to a franchise. There is a wave of seasoned and young
Latino actors right now! We’re making money for the studios and were bringing
the NOISE, there’s no stopping it.
LATINOBUZZ: What moment as being an artist
impacted you the most?
RICHARD: The true meaning of an artist/actor
is opening my heart to the audience and at the same time opening their heart.
Through sharing my pain I can possibly heal your pain, there is no other
feeling like it, money doesn’t compare. This is the true meaning of Art. I will
attempt to do it till my dying day. The theater is the ‘church’ and when I’m on
that stage I am the Priest/Pastor, it is a pure spiritual journey for me.
LATINOBUZZ: You’ve cited Miguel Pinero and
Stephen Adly Guirgis as writers that understood your world. What was it about
these two, very much New Yorkers, made you feel that way?
RICHARD: Learning the craft as an actor in Los
Angeles is a very hard thing to do, in my opinion. We all come from a certain
world and when you start learning the craft, you need material to read/study
that you can relate to. We do not have too many Latino writers on the West
Coast that I was able to relate to (or at least, I didn’t know at the time). I
came from the streets, so the most published authors had no relation to my
world. As soon as I picked up Pinero & Guirgis, it was all over. It was my
world, just in a different location. They cracked me open inside and out. They
talked about the “inside” of the barrio, the emotions, the stories
that people know is happening but were too scared to talk about. “Sun
Always Shines for The Cool” and “Den of Thieves” will always be
LATINOBUZZ: What’s your dream role?
RICHARD: I can’t point my finger on a “dream
role”, but the day’s that I’m able to fulfill the stories of the hood/barrio on
film, those will be great days. The stories of why people from the barrio
become what they’ve become. To show that sensitive side of a man, its always
filled with macho bull-shit, but we must see the other side (Fathers and Sons).
In film and television they never get the good stuff, while at least I feel on
LATINOBUZZ: What do you want to leave behind when
it’s all said and done?
RICHARD: When I die I want a child that never
met me, to hear were I came from and what I accomplished and for him or her to
live their life to the fullest and do what they were put on this world to do.
No limitations, blowing past everybody’s expectations. Screw whatever body
Written by Juan
Caceres. LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film
with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices.
Follow @LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook .