Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



REELING FILM FESTIVAL Nelson Rodriguez tackles immigration, love in 'En Algun Lugar'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In the movie En Algun Lugar—which will be shown at the Reeling Film Festival on Sept. 22-23—Nelson Rodriguez and Andrew L. Saenz play a Chicago couple ( Abel and Diego, respectively ) who face a complication when it turns out that one of them is an undocumented immigrant.

Rodriguez—a local actor and recent Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree who won't see the completed film for the first time until Reeling ( a promise he made )—talked about the movie's plot, filming in Chicago and Mexico, and the concept of straight actors who play gay.

Windy City Times: Tell me how the title of the movie relates to the plot.

Nelson Rodirguez: From my understanding from [writer/director] Tadeo Garcia, a loose translation of the title is "A Place to Be," while the direct translation is "Someplace." I think the movie holds on to the idea that things are better somewhere, in some other place. Eventually, we'll get to the place where you can be somebody—that's how it ties to the movie, specifically Diego's journey to become an American citizen. Then there's an issue with his mom [who's in Mexico], and decisions have to be made.

WCT: Chicago is practically another character in the movie. You filmed in Boystown and a couple other spots. I didn't recognize the bridge you two crossed, though.

NR: Oh, that's the 95th Street bridge. We were all over Chicago, from the South Side to the North Side. We were up in Rogers Park in The Armadillo's Pillow bookstore for one scene, and were in Boystown for the nightclub scene. We were at a concert hall as well. It was really important that Chicago be represented, and that it felt authentic to where these characters would live.

WCT: And you filmed in Mexico as well?

NR: Yes—we were there for eight days. I couldn't believe it was happening. We were in small-town Mexico, southwest of Mexico City—specifically, Jalpa, Zacatecas. Actually, Tadeo's family has land there; he has memories of going there as a kid. It's very important to him that, in the story, [this area] was represented as part of his own journey. He also knew certain things, like the time of the year when the fair [in the film] takes place. The cinematographer, Charlie, did a beautiful job.

WCT: You looked different in the film [in terms of weight] than you do now.

NR: Yes—I happened to gain weight before starting the film. It wasn't specifically for the role; I was taking medicine and it made me a bit heavy.

WCT: Because there's a scene in which your roommate mentions your weight, I thought you had gained weight for the role.

NR: Actually, we didn't improv that; that was already in the script. Also, the roommate was already a fit guy, and I've never been an athletic guy. So even if I had been thinner in the movie, it would've made sense for him to tell me to hit the gym.

WCT: I get various answers to this question, but what is it like filming the love scenes?

NR: At first, they're as awkward and uncomfortable as you'd imagine them to be. The sex scene in Mexico was our first day of filming, so we giggled a lot and tried to get into the moment. Once we felt we got the vibe of what was happening, it was just a matter of doing it. I was very lucky that the crew made things as comfortable as possible—and Andrew's a total pro.

WCT: Andrew is actually straight in real life. There's a school of thought that only gay actors ( who are underrepresented ) should act in gay roles. How do you feel about that?

NR: I go back and forth about that, honestly. It's important to me that gay actors get the opportunities to tell their stories, so I totally hear that point of view—but I also want to play straight characters, as a gay man. I don't want to be limited that way, so it would be hypocritical of me to say, "You can't play the gay role, but I can play the straight role."

I often prefer, in my own work, to cast queer actors in queer roles, but I never make it an [iron-clad] rule; allies are a part of our community, and there's artistry behind what they can bring to the roles as well.

Andrew's such a great guy; it never felt like he was putting on a "queer persona." He was living truthfully as [a character] who happened to be gay.

WCT: Obviously, this movie is very timely...

NR: It got very timely very fast.

WCT: I don't want to reveal too much about the movie, but there's a point in the film where a quote from then-candidate Donald Trump is used.

NR: And he hasn't stopped saying inflammatory things.

WCT: Indeed. What was the most difficult scene for you to film?

NR: It wasn't necessarily the most difficult—but I wonder if I made the right choice right after I find out that Diego's mom is actually in Mexico, and that he's undocumented. It's a very important scene, but I wonder if I balanced that correctly in the moment as [Abel]. It's such a hard situation and I knew what I had to get to, in terms of leaving [Chicago]. I don't know if I was too harsh or if it made Abel more sympathetic.

WCT: What do you want people to take away from the movie?

NR: Even without seeing it yet, I want people to see this glimpse of what being undocumented is like—to see the pressures and situations undocumented people face. People are in those situations every day, and some people get the wrong idea about the undocumented and have these stereotypes.

WCT: For example, Diego speaks perfect English.

NR: Exactly. So I want people to learn that this is a real community, with people of different backgrounds, different levels of education; it's a very diverse community and it's not just what the media pushes at us. Hopefully, people will sympathize with that struggle and take action, like donating a few dollars to the ACLU.

WCT: Let's wrap up with a general question: Who are a few actors you'd love to work with?

NR: Oh, my gosh. My favorite actor is Jake Gyllenhaal, and he's always been my favorite actor—back to when I saw October Sky in middle school; I decided then and there that he was my favorite actor.

There are also local actors I work with whose work I really admire. I really like Henry Godinez; I really like his work and his energy is really positive. And there's Sandra Marquez; she directed me two years ago [in the play Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown] and I loved working wit her. I'd kill to be on stage with her, and I one tight little scene with her in this movie. [Godinez and Marquez] have the credentials and resumes someone like me would love to have in 20 years.

For more information, visit and

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

DuVernay's film company acquires disco documentary 2018-03-20 - Array Releasing—which counts filmmaker Ava DuVernay as its founder—announced the film collective's 18th feature film acquisition, Jewel's Catch One. Marking the second ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2018-03-20 - "Fuck off Caitlyn—you had your chance."—Kathy Griffin responds to Caitlyn Jenner's sudden realization that "As far as trans issues, this administration has been ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Harry Styles, Wanda Sykes, Anderson Cooper, 'Gotham' co-star 2018-03-20 - During a live performance, Harry Styles debuted an unreleased song called "Medicine," and one set of lyrics in particular has his fans in ...

Gay News

New film explores legacy of oldest Black-owned disco club, LGBTQ safe space 2018-03-15 - LOS ANGELES, CA ( March 5, 2018 ) - Today ARRAY Releasing announces the film collective's eighteenth feature film acquisition, JEWEL'S CATCH ONE. ...

Gay News

FILM REVIEW Black Panther 2018-03-15 - "Dance the blues. See how she dances. To bring us the news. See how she dances. Ashes and news. See ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: MOVIES Greg Berlanti shows the 'Love' in newest film 2018-03-14 - There's a new gay coming-of-age drama called Love, Simon that has the potential to cross over to straight audiences. Simon Spier has ...

Gay News

Xfinity, Tom Lenk part of Center's 'A Night with Oscar' 2018-03-14 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor and Instagram star Tom Lenk as the perfect choice to critique the looks at the 90th Academy Awards. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Glee' reunion, Charlie Carver, Michael B. Jordan, Whitney Houston 2018-03-13 - The cast of Ryan Murphy's musical series Glee reunited in Los Angeles a little over a month after their disgraced former cast mate ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Sisters in the Life' spotlights Black lesbian filmmakers 2018-03-13 - Anyone who has seen Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman might remember it as a charming, unusual film, a faux documentary set in Philadelphia ...

Gay News

Siskel to show Black Harvest fest 2018-03-13 - The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago announced increased funding for The Best of Black Harvest ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.