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‘Challenging balance’: Actor explores ‘sensitive side’ of ‘Queen of the South’ character

Hemky Madera is always up for a challenge.

Hemky Madera stars in “Queen of the South,” which airs Thursdays on USA Network. (Courtesy of JP San Pedro)

His latest challenge is the ever-changing Pote Galvez on USA Network’s “Queen of the South.” The series airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Pote Galvez is Teresa Mendoza’s hit man in the crime series.

He stars opposite Alice Braga, Veronica Falcón and Peter Gadiot.

The series is based on the best-selling book “La Reina del Sur” by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

It tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza, played by Braga – a woman who is forced to run from a Mexican cartel and seek refuge in the United States.

Madera calls the role of Pote “career-changing.”

“Pote went from being this very quiet person,” he says. “Now he has a lot of colors with it. This year, he is going to be homebound and you will see the more sensitive side. He’s still the same killer.”

Madera finds some humor in the juxtaposition of his character compared with his life.

“My wife always jokes around that Pote is so opposite of me,” he says. “I’m a clown when I’m on set. I’m a prankster. I joke around, and I’m the clown of the class. Playing the bad guy is really fun, because every human being has a dark side.”

Madera didn’t want Galvez to be a one-sided character.

“Nobody in real life is like that,” he says. “We all have different colors. He’s so human, and the only way I can play a character like that is by pushing him forward. There also has to be a balance. This is a cartel show, and not all Latinos are like that. It’s a challenging balance.”

In addition to “Queen of the South,” Madera is reprising his role as Mr. Delmar in the film “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which opens on July 2.

Madera was born in Queens, N.Y., and was raised with his family in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where he began his acting career in the Dominican Republic television production “Grandes Series Domincanas” After college, Madera moved to New York City to pursue acting and began booking prominent roles in feature films, including “Dreaming of Julia,” with Harvey Keitel and Gael García Bernal, “The Lost City,” opposite Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray.

He is best-known for his role as Mexican drug cartel criminal Ignacio on Showtime’s hit dark comedy “Weeds.”

He also spent about half a year in New Mexico working on the 2013 film adaptation of “Bless Me, Ultima.”

“I haven’t been back because I’ve been so busy with other projects,” he says. “I miss my green chile. When I was filming in Santa Fe, my wife was pregnant with our first son. It’s such a magical and inspiring place. I’ve been looking to get back there with a production, and that may happen in the near future.”


SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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