When Erik Gonzales was a freshman in college, he failed his public speaking course.
“I didn’t like getting in front of people,” he says. “(At the time), my son’s mom was into improv and she told me to take a class to get over my fears.”
The Albuquerque native enrolled in a class at Albuquerque Little Theatre and his life changed.
“I made a fool of myself and it felt good,” he says of the class. “Then I started doing improv at The Box in Downtown.”
Flash forward to now and Gonzales finds himself immersed in the New Mexico film industry as an actor.
“I decided to get into film,” he says. “I was an extra for ‘Lemonade Mouth’ and then the projects kept coming.”
Gonzales also kept working with acting coaches – specifically Leanne Powers.
“When I took classes with her, she immediately told me that I needed an agent,” he says. “It was funny at the time because I was the only person in the class that didn’t have an agent.”
Gonzales is now represented by Carissa Mitchell at Mitchell and Associates.
He’s been in films such as “Spare Parts,” “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” and “Furthest Witness,” as well as the TV series, “The Night Shift.”
“It’s a tough industry to be in,” he says. “But the art of it drives me and keeps me going. Being part of the industry is extremely personals because you have to put part of yourself into the character. I find that acting is like painting with your entire body.”
Gonzales knows that because of his look, he often gets cast as a military member or as a thug.
“I also look young and get cast as a teenager,” says the 31-year-old actor. “I’ve grown out my facial hair now to attract the older roles.”
Gonzales’ biggest challenge in the film industry often pulling off the roles he’s cast in.
“During one project, I had to play a 17 year old,” he says. “I was happy with the role, but I was acting alongside two actual teenagers and I was supposed to bully them. Getting the fact that I was way older than them was difficult to get out of my head.”
1. “Sterling K. Brown once told me I was like an elephant because I needed to be guided around on set. It was during ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ and we had gotten done with lunch. I was just wandering around and it happened to be while they were getting ready to film.”
2. “I’ve done the cinnamon challenge and almost died.”
3. “I have a three-man slingshot.”
4. “I have a podcast.”
5. “I light fireworks in my hand.”