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‘Three-dimensional characters’: Indy actor’s latest film showcases ‘determination and drive’ of Latino chef

Jesse Borrego, left, and James Le Gros in a scene from the film “Phoenix, Oregon,” which will screen at the Guild Cinema. (Courtesy of Joma Films)

Jesse Borrego is traveling through Texas on his way to Los Angeles.

During the drive, as he often does, the actor reflects on his career and what it’s like for Latinos in film.

The quick answer.

“It isn’t easy,” he says. “But there’s hope that with every step, there is change happening.”

Borrego has been at the forefront of making those changes for decades.

He’s starred in projects such as “Fame” and “Blood In Blood Out” and his latest role in “Phoenix, Oregon” was one that he sought.

The film is available to screen at home by visiting, where tickets for an online code can be purchased.

The film was made available online after theaters began closing due to COVID-19 precautions.

“Phoenix, Oregon” follows two friends – a graphic novelist and a chef, played by Borrego – as they seize an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives, quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.”

The film takes a comedic look at the existential crisis many face when trying to find meaning and relevancy at midlife. Despite controlling bosses, dead-end jobs and broken relationships, the two leads must awaken hibernating courage and resilience to take new risks and keep dreams alive.

“Many people who reach a midlife crisis say there’s always that one thing that you always wanted to do and you’ve never achieved,” says Borrego, who stars as Carlos. “It’s just that idea that something’s messing with you that you are not in control of your life, especially when you get to the point in your life when there’s nothing left.”

Borrego says he chooses to work in the independent film world these days.

“I’m always looking for characters that showcase what I can do as an actor,” Borrego says. “There are so few opportunities for Latino actors. It’s great to be able to look for these three-dimensional characters.”

Borrego says playing the role of Carlos was important to him because the character is an accomplished chef.

“This is a man who has worked hard to rise up and create something for himself and his family,” Borrego says. “There are a lot of culinary masters that are Latino. Being able to showcase the determination and drive of Carlos was an amazing opportunity.”


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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