Exclusive: Dominic Flores Talks ‘Our Brand is Crisis’ and Sandra Bullock

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“Our Brand is Crisis” actor Dominic Flores discusses his personal connection to the film.

“Our Brand Is Crisis” is gaining a lot of Oscar buzz given its subject matter and high profile cast. While cast members had their own form of preparation, one actor had a more personal connection to the film through his own family history. We had the chance to speak with Dominic Flores about his role in the film and how it had affected his career, his future, and his personal life.

Film Fad (Ryan):

Hi Dominic how are you?

Dominic Flores:

Good, how are you?

Film Fad (Ryan):

So you’ve got a new film coming out where you have a role alongside Sandra Bullock titled “Our Brand is Crisis?”

Dominic Flores:

Yeah so I’m one of the leads in Sandra Bullock’s new film, “Our Brand is Crisis.” I play Hugo Barco. The movie is based on the documentary of the same name. It’s actually about political strategists that go to South America to help get a candidate elected in the country of Bolivia. In the documentary, it’s James Carvell. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him…

Film Fad (Ryan):

Oh yeah!

Dominic Flores:

Our-Brand-is-Crisis-Dominic-Flores

Sandra Bullock is now the James Carvell character and I play Hugo Barco, the campaign manager for the Bolivian president.

…the “Ragin Cajun” that helped Clinton get elected right? He took his team down to Bolivia and their candidate was 30 points behind but he was kind of had progressive, democratic ideals that were the same as America. You can hire these guys for millions of dollars to get your candidate elected and he was behind 30 points but with Carvell’s help he was able to be elected but because the people didn’t want him, there were riots in the street and the filmmaker caught that and it ended up being a cautionary tale about when Americans go into third-world countries and whether we really understand the politics and should be there.

So…Sandra Bullock is now the James Carvell character and I play Hugo Barco, the campaign manager for the Bolivian president. In the new film.

Film Fad (Ryan):

So currently this film is gaining some major Oscar buzz. Do you think it’s the subject matter or the performances?

Dominic Flores:

I saw the film in Toronto for its world premiere and I thought it’s definitely a contender. I felt like it has everything that I love about films I see during the awards season. It has a lot of comedy in it. It’s more of a political satire. It’s a drama but it has a lot of comedy, so that it one thing that sometimes is confusing. And David Gordon Green is the director and, if you’re familiar with his work, he has such a diverse array of films from “Pineapple Express” to “Joe,” that one he did with Nicolas Cage, that it’s kind of hard to put a finger on him so I know that confuses people sometimes. But, yeah I really loved it. I think it’s really poignant once you realize what happens with the film and what happens with the country. Yeah it has Warner Bros and George Clooney and Grant Heslov behind it and I think it could be a good one.

Film Fad (Ryan):

So how would you relate this role to other roles you’ve played in the past? Are there any similarities that maybe stand out with some past roles?

Dominic Flores:

It’s interesting. I do a lot of comedy and I do a lot of improv and when I had a director session with David, he loves improv so as soon as he knows you’ve got the script, he just has you go off the page and really do whatever you wanted to do so I was kind of prepared to go in filming with that kind of idea that it’s David Gordon Green and encouraged improv and it’s comedy but my character doesn’t actually have much comedy. I’m like the serious guy in it. So that’ different for me to play a role where I…I’m kind of the grump. I’m kind of the guy that asks for her help, Sandra Bullock’s character Jane Bodine, I really want her there to help with my candidate because I can’t really get the job done. But then I’m jealous once she’s firing at all pistons and has all of these great ideas and I tend to be the one to get in her way and second guess all of her plans. So that was interesting to play a character all the way through who is kind of at odds. So I have a lot of those grumpy faces I think as I’ve noticed in the trailers. But then also, this is my first big lead in a studio film so adjusting to that and the three different locations, this whole thing was a really unique experience for me and I absolutely loved it.

Film Fad (Ryan):

So given the film’s setting in South America, I read that your father was a trumpet player from Bolivia. Is that correct?

Billy-Bob-Thorton-Our-Brand-Crisis

There’s actually a shout out to my Bolivian uncle from Billy Bob Thorton

Dominic Flores:

Yeah, so the whole movie takes place in Bolivia and my father passed away 20 years ago but he was a big Latin trumpet player in Bolivia. And my uncle still lives there in Cochabamba and he’s Bolivia’s biggest Elvis impersonator. So my father and he used to have some really good times going all over South America to all different countries playing for politicians and maybe less than dubious characters too (laughs). In Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, but they definitely had a lot of stories. In America my dad was just a gardener mowing lawns. I grew up in Dana Point, California, a nice little beach town and he had his own gardening service. He came here and supported the family but in Bolivia and South America, yeah he was a rock star. It’s pretty cool, there’s actually a shout out to my Bolivian uncle from Billy Bob [Thorton]. He claimed to see the Bolivian Elvis at a local bar.

Film Fad (Ryan):

Oh wow!

Dominic Flores:

Yeah, it’s pretty great! Half my family still lives in Bolivia and they’re beyond excited for all this. And for me, Bolivia…I grew up with it. It’s never really had its moment. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was like the claim to fame for me growing up with my dad. You know Butch Cassidy and Sundance, they died in Bolivia at the end of the movie…that’s where they died. Then maybe Raquel Welch. Before that, Bolivia had only been known for cocaine and drug cartels.

Film Fad (Ryan):

I know you said this was your first big studio film, was there any veterans on set that gave you some pointers or things like that to help you out with the role?

Sandra-Bullock-Our-Brand-Crisis

Sandra Bullock is the first one you realize that makes you feel so safe.

Dominic Flores:

You know it’s interesting because I’ve been a lead in films, independent films, and I’ve been an actor for a number of years but that first day on set was different. This is a whole different phenomenon. So I actually just tended to look towards everybody. And it’s interesting because Sandra Bullock is the first one you realize that makes you feel so safe because before anything even starts, she’s mapping out the scene, she’s walking through it, she’s talking to the director, she’s making sure that we know what we’re trying to get to or that we have some sort of road map, she’s clarifying, and it was just really interesting to see. I’ve never really engaged that much in the process. Normally I just come prepared and offer whatever I’m going to do and then I wait for feedback. So it was nice to see that there’s a whole dynamic and a relationship you can have when you’re filming something. It creates possibilities I didn’t know were there. Sandra was amazing for that. And I didn’t have any scenes with Billy Bob [Thorton], well the scenes I had, I didn’t really engage with Billy Bob [Thorton], but off set he was just one of the most charismatic people as a human being. Just talking to him about life and how he approaches acting and just the organic nature of who he is. That was really mind blowing too. So those two in particular really had an impact. And then it’s full of so many other amazing stars. For me, Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, Zoe Kazan who are also other people I’ve always wanted to work with in film. Just watching their ways and approach too. All of it can be described as natural. There’s not a whole lot put on with them. I hope it’s the same for me but I definitely felt like it was the master class in acting. I felt pretty safe and challenged at the same time. It was great.

Film Fad (Ryan):

Given the high profile nature and buzz surrounding this film, do you see this as being a launching point for your career with other opportunities?

Dominic Flores:

There’s another actor in the film right now, Reynaldo Pacheco, him and I are kind of the newcomers and we’re both Bolivian and we’re both leads in the film. So it was fun being able to have someone else there on the set where we were always kind of pinching ourselves and going, “Oh my God, can you believe we’re in this film?” And then you do realize that this is a career changer. You think that, “Wow, this maybe could give me opportunities that up until now weren’t options.” So yeah I hope this creates some doors for me to maybe read for some more amazing scripts and film directors.

Film Fad (Ryan):

Well I will say that if the buzz continues, I can just see things moving forward for you. And speaking of that, what do you have that you’re looking forward to in the future? I know you had a few things on your slate.

Dominic Flores:

Yeah I do. This year I did a film called “The Meddler” with Director Lorene Scafaria. She did a movie called “Seeking a Friend at the End of the World.” This is a new one with Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons and Rose Byrne, and it also had its world premiere at Toronto and it comes out in 2016. It’s a fun comedy, mother-daughter premise that I think will go over really well and I have one scene in that along with a lot of other cool comedians who have cameos so I’m looking forward to “The Meddler” and then I have another film called “First Girl I Loved.” That is from an independent filmmaker named Kerem Sanga. I love working with independent filmmakers. So those few I felt really great to have been able to film this year and to have something coming up for next year.

The-Meddler

This year I did a film called “The Meddler” with Director Lorene Scafaria.

Film Fad (Ryan):

Well Dominic it’s been a pleasure. And touch base with us in a couple months once the Oscar nominations start coming out.

Dominic Flores:

Yeah, let’s see how it does. Let’s see if I come back on with some good news for the movie, that’d be awesome.


“Our Brand is Crisis” is currently in theaters. You can check out Dominic’s list of other projects coming out

Dominic-Flores

Dominic Flores

Ryan

Author: Ryan

Ryan has been fascinated with film and pop culture since childhood. Throughout college he "played it safe" taking the more lucrative route of being a computer programmer while squeezing in film related courses where he could...but even during his post college career, he could never escape his true passion. After following one of his favorite blogs for a long time, he approached the site's Editor about writing and they reluctantly gave him a shot. He later became their Senior Writer which led to a variety of other projects, radio show appearances, features, and high profile celebrity interviews. Despite his success with blogging, he still wanted more so in order to expand his creative addiction, he merged his IT skills and blogging know-how to create FilmFad.com which has continued to grow into a creative Mecca of pop-culture fun and integrity.[email protected]   Film Fad

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