When a producer or director wants a friendly, familiar face for their project that can also give them a great performance, Alfred Molina’s name usually comes up.
Beginning with his brief but iconic role in the opening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the London native has built a long film career with small, critically acclaimed films and crowd pleasing blockbusters. From “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” to “Spider-Man 2” and “The Da Vinci Code,” it’s clear that Molina appreciates his serious roles but also enjoys having fun at work. It’s hard to imagine who couldn’t have fun playing a role like “Dr. Octopus.”
It’s this mindset that led him to accept a major role in “Matador,” one of the centerpiece programs of Robert Rodriguez‘s Austin-based El Rey network. Molina plays the role of a soccer team owner in Los Angeles whose star player also happens to be a covert government agent.
“One of the nice things about working on a show like this is the chance to work with young actors,” Molina told Austin.com. “When you get to be my age, working with younger actors like that can be quite refreshing and keeps you on your toes.” The cast of “Matador” ranges from veterans like Molina to newcomer Gabriel Luna, an Austin native, and former “Gilmore Girls” star Tanc Sade, along with former WWE personality Eve Torres.
It’s not just the cast, Molina said, that makes “Matador” such a fun experience: It’s everyone from the showrunners to the network executives, all of whom are fairly young. After all, the experimental network itself didn’t come into existence until just this year year.
“What drew me to [El Rey] was their attitude where they were saying, ‘this is the kind of programming we love, and we’d love for you to come and see it,'” Molina said. “Under the surface they have an audience they’re aiming for but, above that, they want to make shows that anyone can enjoy. It feels like a fresh new way of doing television, producing the kind of content they themselves want to see as opposed to satisfying the needs of the advertisers.”
While widely known for his work in movies, Molina is no stranger to the small screen. He’s had small roles in shows such as “Harry’s Law,” “Monday Mornings” and, of course, a classic episode of Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.” He also took the role of Deputy District Attorney-turned-police detective Ricardo Morales in NBC’s “Law & Order: LA,” but the show only lasted one season despite the good reviews.
“Matador” is a different story. El Rey announced last month that the show is getting picked up for a second season, giving Molina the opportunity to really develop his character over a longer period. At just half-way through the first season, Molina said he and the cast are really just starting to have fun with it. “It’s a great time,” he said. “I look forward to going to work every day.”
“Matador” airs exclusively on the El Rey network. Click here for a schedule of air times, and watch the trailer below:
Featured photo: Courtesy, El Rey network.