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Looking up: Actor fulfills dream by landing role on Netflix comedy ‘Space Force’

From left, Hector Duran as Julio Diaz, Tawny Newsome as Angela Ali and Owen Daniels as Obie in an episode of “Space Force.” (Aaron Epstein/Netflix)

Hector Duran tends to always dream big.

When he was a child, he dreamed of becoming an actor.

It wasn’t just so he could see himself on screen, but he wanted to inspire other young Latinos to reach for the stars.

“There were actors that I looked up to,” he says. “Being able to do what I love for a living is the greatest thing.”

Duran can be seen on the Netflix series “Space Force.”

The series follows the journey of four-star general Mark R. Naird, played by Steve Carell, who is thrown for a loop when he finds himself tapped to lead the newly formed sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces – Space Force.

The workplace comedy series follows his journey as he is tasked to find new recruits, train them and prepare them for their ultimate goal to get “boots on the moon” per the orders of the president.

Carell and Greg Daniels created the series.

Duran stars as Julio Diaz, who has dreams of becoming an astronaut.

Since its debut on May 29, “Space Force” has been ranked among Netflix’s 10 most-watched shows.

“It feels great,” Duran says. “The critics weren’t too fond of the show in the beginning. The audience, though, has really embraced the show. I think a lot of fans of ‘The Office’ are moving over to ‘Space Force.’ ”

Playing Diaz provided a perfect opportunity to work on a comedy series, as well as play a character who overcomes obstacles.

“Julio always dreamed of being an astronaut, but there was a language barrier,” Duran says. “He’s more of an underdog character. I also have a major interest in aeronautics and space. If I wasn’t an actor, I’d want to be a pilot, which is why I’m beginning on getting my pilot’s license.”

Duran also dreamed of being on a sitcom, which nearly came true in 2012, when he filmed a pilot with Roseanne Barr and John Goodman called “Downwardly Mobile.” The series was never picked up.

As a fan of “The Office,” he jumped at the chance to work with Carell and Daniels.

“I felt like working with these comical legends would give me a masterful amount of information,” Duran says. “It’s like a master class that I’m getting paid to do. Being able to watch minor adjustments from the actors, who had some freedom for input.”

Duran was also one of the youngest and least experienced in the cast, which was on obstacle on his first few days on set.

“Those days were intimidating,” he says. (Then) John Malkovich started telling stories about living in France and his love for theater and wine. That laid the groundwork for production.”

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

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