August 31, 2011

The AoSHQ Pepe Serna Interview. [dri]
— Open Blogger

With the 30th anniversary of the epic film Scarface fast approaching, AoSHQ sent out entertainment reporter Zee to Balboa Island CA to interview the film's multi talented star Pepe Serna. Mr. Serna you no doubt recall played the role of Angel Fernandez who met a grisly demise at the business end of a chainsaw in a Miami motel room shower. Pepe Serna has acted in over 100 films and has worked with an amazing collection of Hollywood's biggest stars and directors.

Photobucket
Pepe Serna in Scarface. You grew up in Corpus Christi, TX. What influences there led you to become an actor, a writer, and an artist? Do you have any crazy personal stories about that beach that you can drive on for miles?

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an actor. I was always performing in some way. I had the most energy of anyone around me. I was always enthusiastic, which came from my "entheo" (the god within)…. There are no excuses, one must tap into their own pep.”

“As a child, I considered my older brother my mentor. I was raised by my beautiful mother who was always singing, and so hands on. She was such an influence on me as an artist. My father was not so hands-on, but a brilliant man nonetheless. My grandmother was the storyteller, the healer, a “La Mona Reza” which means a “woman in our life that picks us up.” She had a profound influence on my development as a boy and as a man.”

“That beach that one could drive for miles on runs all the way into Mexico. I remember rehearsing there as a young boy for my acting roles. I recall looking out onto that beach in mirrored sunglasses…. Driving up and down that beach, games of cowboys and Indians… That beach also holds my saddest memory growing up of a friend who drowned there.”

You are an actor, a writer, and an artist. Which of these talents best represents the “real” Pepe Serna?

“All of it! My motto is - Life is Art…the artist is in there, in all of us. My wife is a designer and creator, and has always been my great muse.”

Pepe recently created the “Pepefied Sernafied” breakthrough method of teaching improv to young people. He takes a “playground mentality” to teaching, keeping it fun and seeing it as a game, despite the difficulties inherent in most of life’s great endeavors.

Pepe recalls the words of his good friend William “Pila” Chiles, a guru and a decorated Vietnam veteran with Fleet Marine Forces, Pacific and survivor of a Top Secret experimental program in guerrilla warfare: “Find something you love to do…find somewhere to do it…and find somebody to enjoy it with.”

You have had a long and successful acting career. Most fans remember you from films such as Scarface, Red Dawn and Car Wash, but few probably realize you were in one of Chuck Norris’ first movies: “A Force of One.” What was it like working with Chuck Norris? Did you get to kick his butt in the movie?

“It was great! I took it easy on Chuck. He’s such a cool guy.” While working with Chuck on this movie, Pepe was pleased to discover that Chuck was studying with David Alexander, who was also Pepe’s acting teacher.

The 30th anniversary of Scarface is coming up. Have you participated in any anniversary events? How is the cast holding up?

“On August 23, 2011, I attended the 30th anniversary event for the Scarface cast at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Ludacris performed as musical guest. I really enjoyed listening to Al Pacino describe what this movie meant to him and its impact. I have always been inspired by Pacino’s passion for the movie.”

Your part in Scarface has you killed by a chain saw in the shower by a crazed Colombian drug dealer. How did you prepare for that scene?

I am an improvisational actor. For me, it was all about “being in the moment… standing there, chained to the shower rod, hearing the roar of the chainsaw, smelling the gasoline engine, feeling the palpable fear…just looking into each of their eyes… just going into that awful, violent moment.” Pepe noted that the guy who “killed” him with the chainsaw was a jazz pianist off the set!

Scarface is such an iconic film. What do you think is so special about this movie that has made it such a cultural phenomenon? Especially when you consider all the big budget movies being made today that will hardly stand the test of time.

“The rags-to-riches story. Everyone wants to hit the lotto - to make it big.” And even though Tony, a prisoner from Cuba, achieves this feat, Pepe recalls the story of Icarus who flew towards the sun only to have his wings melted by it, “and to the dust we shall return.” Tony also paid this price. Pepe believes that the Hip Hop world took Scarface to its zenith. “It took typical gold plating and turned it into solid gold.”

How was Al Pacino to work with? During filming did he act like Tony Montana when the camera was off?

“Al never went into character until the movie began shooting.” “During rehearsal, He read his lines normally” - “the stew had not cooked yet, and he wasn’t tasting it until it was done” Pacino said. “But once shooting began, Pacino never came out of character – He was Tony Montana on and off the set.” “Al Pacino was “very serious” and when I asked him if he got out or went anywhere he answered, “No man, I can’t go no place.”” Pepe remembers having a copy of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” in his hand and “Tony” walking by and telling him “…don’t buy no wooden nickels man.””

Another movie you were in that can be considered a cultural landmark is Red Dawn. What was it like working with so many future Hollywood stars on Red Dawn? Did you have any inkling that so many would become so successful?

Pepe really enjoyed working on this film. He was not intimidated on set; he had the feeling “he belonged.” Pepe knew Charlie Sheen’s dad Martin Sheen before starting work on the movie. “Who knew they would become such big stars! I would not have predicted the success that they had.” Pepe regrets the “instant gratification society” of today and how much has changed in terms of the work ethic of actors.

Photobucket
Pepe Serna today

What projects are you currently working on?

Pepe spends a lot of his time as an artist these days, and his paintings draw influence from his Mexican roots. He is perpetually inspired by his wife of over 40 years. Gardening is a great pastime of his these days.

His Improv workshops teach kids that they are the “stars, writers, directors, producers of their own movies.” He is especially attached to the community where he grew up in Texas and conducts his workshops here.

Continuing his outreach to the young people in his community, Pepe has created a one-man show where he stars as a “Curandero”, a Mexican soothsayer. He performs this show in verse, “where every word started as a poem and every poem was a picture.” The children respond so strongly to this form, and to his workshops in general, and many leave “Pepefied.” He reminds the kids about their uniqueness, like that of each of our thumb prints and encourages them to tap into their own pep.

I had the privilege of listening to Pepe perform part of this show and was indeed Pepefied! -ED

Early in his career, Pepe remembers his agent telling him that he couldn’t just put him up for anything, that he wanted Pepe to be a star. Pepe’s response: “I just want to work.” And work he did. Pepe has enjoyed a long and successful career as an actor, writer and artist. Pepe reflects: “I have never worked a day in my life. I never made a lot of money, but I was consistent.”

About the interviewer. Zee does freelance entertainment reporting and is a colleague of AoSHQ blogger dri. She is based in Los Angeles.

Photobucket

Zee

“Scarface” will be re-released theatrically Wednesday, August 31st for just one night in more than 475 movie theaters nationwide. The 30th anniversary Blu-Ray release of the film will be on Sept. 6.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:29 AM | Comments (65)
Post contains 1418 words, total size 9 kb.

1
Zee as in Zebra?

Posted by: soothsayer at August 31, 2011 10:32 AM (G/zuv)

2 Wow. Nice work.

Posted by: sifty: N UR BASE, STEEPIN UR T at August 31, 2011 10:32 AM (4CSeG)

3 Woo Woo Wa Wooooooooohhhhhhhh!1!!11!1!

Posted by: Pooter Hound at August 31, 2011 10:32 AM (le5qc)

4
Continuing his outreach to the young people in his community, Pepe has created a one-man show where he stars as a “Curandero”, a Mexican soothsayer.

What's this, now?

Posted by: el soothsayer at August 31, 2011 10:33 AM (G/zuv)

5 Now, this was a pleasant surprise.  Nice article!

Posted by: mikeyboss at August 31, 2011 10:33 AM (MX5qJ)

6

Would Zee happen to own a tri-corner hat and if so, are there any pictures?

I'm just askin'.

 

Oh ya, nice interview also.

Posted by: Max Entropy at August 31, 2011 10:34 AM (lH6z9)

7 Dive!!1!!11  Dive !!1!!1 AaaaaOOOOOgaHHHHhhh

Posted by: U- 571 at August 31, 2011 10:35 AM (le5qc)

8 I can't tell from the photo if Zee has some fly aways or it's the
marble.

Posted by: McLovin at August 31, 2011 10:35 AM (j0IcY)

9 Zee is ze hotness.

Posted by: Blacksheep at August 31, 2011 10:35 AM (8/DeP)

10 Zee. You zee what a looker she is?

Posted by: Dave Z at August 31, 2011 10:36 AM (Xm1aB)

11 Also, Scarface is probably one of the most over-rated films of all time.

Posted by: McLovin at August 31, 2011 10:36 AM (j0IcY)

12 I wanna "interview" Zee.......over and over and over

Posted by: ugknown at August 31, 2011 10:36 AM (fOPv7)

13 Say hello to my little friend?

Posted by: EC at August 31, 2011 10:37 AM (GQ8sn)

14 Now this is a post worth reading!

Posted by: Andrew Breitbart at August 31, 2011 10:37 AM (Xm1aB)

15

Hummena Hummena! Couldn't you have Pepe do an article about Zee, instead of the other way around?

Not disparaging Pepe and his accomplishments (I can't remember how many movies I have seen him in, but it is a lot), but you gotta respect Rule 5.

Posted by: West at August 31, 2011 10:37 AM (1Rgee)

16 Voy a estar en mi cama.

Posted by: Will Up North at August 31, 2011 10:38 AM (KjlbF)

17 Meh, I've seen better.

Posted by: Pam Geller at August 31, 2011 10:38 AM (le5qc)

18 Has anyone created an index or graph for this story?

Pie chart?

Opinion poll?


Posted by: sifty: N UR BASE, STEEPIN UR T at August 31, 2011 10:38 AM (4CSeG)

19 Oh Hai!

Posted by: Navin R Johnson at August 31, 2011 10:38 AM (qvb/m)

20 Since she's a friend of AOSHQ I will just say a tasteful ha-cha-cha-cha

Posted by: blaster at August 31, 2011 10:39 AM (Fw2Gg)

21 So firm, so round, so fully packed.

Posted by: Lucky Strikes at August 31, 2011 10:40 AM (le5qc)

22 I think a good wolf whistle is in order.

Posted by: MetaThought at August 31, 2011 10:41 AM (qNGz5)

23 To get de gurllls, you ferrrs hayv to get da money.

Posted by: Tony Montana on Dating at August 31, 2011 10:41 AM (4t9J5)

24 Yeah, you losers. I got to sit around and watch her for over an hour as she asked me about myself.

Posted by: Pepe at August 31, 2011 10:41 AM (Xm1aB)

25 Shit, send that woman to interview Steve McQueen and I bet he'd talk her ear off.

Posted by: sifty: N UR BASE, STEEPIN UR T at August 31, 2011 10:42 AM (4CSeG)

26 What does all this crap have to do with the hot chick's picture?

Posted by: fluffy at August 31, 2011 10:42 AM (3SvjA)

27 wait, was he colonel bella?

Posted by: joeindc44 at August 31, 2011 10:42 AM (QxSug)

28 me likey!

Posted by: onetermer at August 31, 2011 10:42 AM (pSYWf)

29 Amazing how a woman taking a picture of herself in a public restroom looks classier than all the posed pictures of the POTUS McStumbleFuck.

Posted by: t-bird at August 31, 2011 10:43 AM (FcR7P)

30 Never saw the film. Is the kid on the left holding a grenade launcher indoors? What is that thing?

Posted by: t-bird at August 31, 2011 10:45 AM (FcR7P)

31 25 Shit, send that woman to interview Steve McQueen and I bet he'd talk her ear off.

Posted by: sifty: N UR BASE, STEEPIN UR T at August 31, 2011 03:42 PM (4CSeG)

Ooh, ooh, I volunteer to channel the ghost.

Posted by: MetaThought at August 31, 2011 10:45 AM (qNGz5)

32 Ay, caramba!!

Posted by: dblwmy at August 31, 2011 10:46 AM (BvTwT)

33 29 Amazing how a woman taking a picture of herself in a public restroom looks classier than all the posed pictures of the POTUS McStumbleFuck.

Or someone else in the Obama clan.  Class is not something you can emit by merely wearing expensive clothes.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at August 31, 2011 10:46 AM (9hSKh)

34 I'm sorry Pepe. I got to Zee and forgot what I was reading.

Posted by: Jollyroger at August 31, 2011 10:47 AM (NCw5u)

35 Judges?

Posted by: dblwmy at August 31, 2011 10:47 AM (BvTwT)

36 Class is not something you can emit by merely wearing expensive clothes.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at August 31, 2011 03:46 PM (9hSKh)

What about expensive clothes and a good style guru?

Ok, ok maybe a diet too.

Posted by: MetaThought at August 31, 2011 10:50 AM (qNGz5)

37 What is that thing?

Posted by: t-bird at August 31, 2011 03:45 PM (FcR7P)


If I recall, it's a silenced Uzi.

Posted by: eastvalleyphx at August 31, 2011 10:50 AM (qiOph)

38 See are you really just a mere interviewer and writer, or are you also an interior decorator...I ask because I just walked into what I'm used to being this shabby dump of a place called AOSHQ, and it seems to have gotten much more beautiful.

Posted by: MostlyRight at August 31, 2011 10:50 AM (ZG8Ti)

39 If I recall, it's a silenced Uzi.

Looks like a suppressed MAC-10.

Posted by: EC at August 31, 2011 10:51 AM (GQ8sn)

40 I've never seen Scarface (got that out of the way).. but this article was very well done Thanks!

Posted by: The Great Satan's Ghost at August 31, 2011 10:51 AM (UrPTC)

41 Mac-10 with silencer.

Posted by: Tony Montana on Dating at August 31, 2011 10:52 AM (4t9J5)

42

Zee:  Nice juggs.

Posted by: Pam Geller at August 31, 2011 10:52 AM (eytER)

43 Mac-10 with silencer.

Posted by: Tony Montana on Dating at August 31, 2011 03:52 PM (4t9J5)


And EC

  Yup, think you're right.  I'd need to actually watch the scene, which I'm way too lazy to do.

Posted by: eastvalleyphx at August 31, 2011 10:53 AM (qiOph)

44 Nice interview, Zee.  I'm Pepefied!

Posted by: Fritz at August 31, 2011 10:54 AM (/ZZCn)

45 I just forgot the other 25 letters of the alphabet.

Posted by: The Mega Independent at August 31, 2011 10:54 AM (WSvza)

46 Wait, what's all this talk about silencer.  There's no need to silence her.  Let her scream with joy.  What a minute......I think I'm in the wrong thread.  nevermind, back to the pron thread now. 

Posted by: ugknown at August 31, 2011 10:56 AM (fOPv7)

47 If you click through the rest of dri's pics on Photobucket, you'll find many, many nice pics of his good friend (you bastard!!!) Candace Kita in and out of clothes.

Posted by: EC at August 31, 2011 10:59 AM (GQ8sn)

48 I'll be in my bunk.

Posted by: Rachel_Maddow at August 31, 2011 11:01 AM (dhz9q)

49 41 Mac-10 with silencer.   Stop it, you're giving me wood.

Posted by: Janet Nepolitano at August 31, 2011 11:02 AM (BvTwT)

50 Obama is a stuttering clusterfuck of a miserable failure.

Posted by: steevy at August 31, 2011 11:15 AM (1Nzoh)

51
wait, was he colonel bella?




He was Aardvark's Dad.

Colonel Bella was played by the dude that played Superfly.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at August 31, 2011 11:16 AM (3AuGS)

52 *Aardvark's Dad* moment of silence for him and Harry Dean Stanton.

Posted by: joeindc44 at August 31, 2011 11:21 AM (QxSug)

53 Zee does freelance entertainment reporting and is a colleague of AoSHQ blogger dri

Aw, man. I want a colleague.

Posted by: slug at August 31, 2011 11:26 AM (3tnjC)

54 Is Zee taking the picture with the phone or showing us the naked ring finger?

Posted by: Jimbo at August 31, 2011 11:35 AM (m1kS7)

55 Also, Scarface is probably one of the most over-rated films of all time.

The film as a whole doesn't rise to greatness, but the death scene does.

Posted by: Ace's liver at August 31, 2011 11:36 AM (1+XRG)

56 oh yeah, almost forgot, "dammmmn, Zee"

Posted by: joeindc44 at August 31, 2011 11:41 AM (QxSug)

57 First hour of SF was epic, after they shot me, ...............

Posted by: Frank at August 31, 2011 11:49 AM (Z2Ha5)

58 Wait, there was a guy in that interview? Nice work, this is a smart PolArtMilFilmBlog!

Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith at August 31, 2011 11:53 AM (bxiXv)

59 Zee is hot.

Posted by: logprof at August 31, 2011 12:40 PM (lh7Yc)

60

Frankly, I've never been able to watch Scarface...BECAUSE of the chainsaw scene.

No.can.do, but a great interview by a pretty young lass.

I can't believe he's been in 100 films! I love his smooth threads.

Posted by: jmflynny at August 31, 2011 12:45 PM (LyOUH)

61
Less Ewok, and more Zee.

Please?

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at August 31, 2011 12:50 PM (1hM1d)

62 Looking forward to getting my copy of the blu-ray. Only downside I've read thus far: the remaster upped the color contrast to the point that edges are *so* sharp, the movie (released 1983) now has a kind of video-game look to it.

Here's where I got the info from. (Beware however: Jeff Wells is literally a Stalinist lefty.)

Posted by: qdpsteve at August 31, 2011 01:06 PM (JOM6t)

63 Quite a story from Mr. Serna. He also played Reno Nevada in Buckaroo Banzai. Seems like that would be a popular flick around here.

Posted by: Ken at August 31, 2011 01:24 PM (7yb9x)

64 Yowza, that's all I'm gonna say.  YOWZA

Posted by: seguin at August 31, 2011 02:55 PM (y0Y96)

65 You really make it seem so uderstandable with your presentation but I find this topic before really hard to understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me.

Posted by: The Ice Limit AudioBook at August 31, 2011 06:20 PM (qhonK)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
97kb generated in CPU 0.08, elapsed 1.0561 seconds.
62 queries taking 1.0008 seconds, 301 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.