Ator did a retrospective and talked about projects from Televisa, HBO Max, “The Flash”, in addition to his musical career in Portuguese, English, Spanish and Polish
Actor and singer Rodrigo Massa is one of the names that has been gaining prominence in the artistic world. In music and acting, the multi-faceted artist is hitting big stages, including Hollywood.
Born in São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Rodrigo left Brazil at the age of 20 and lived in Mexico for 13, where he stood out in commercials, programs, Mexican soap operas on Televisa and series, such as “La Piloto” and “El Dragón”, Netflix worldwide hits. By signing a contract with agencies in other countries, the artist took off towards other major productions, participating in “The Flash”, “Resident Alien” and recently, he gained prominence in the series “Urban Legend” by Eli Roth for Discovery Plus. For 2023, the actor is already preparing to be part of new releases such as “Cheat” and “The Spencer Sisters”, on the CTV channel, which will be released on February 10th.
In December last year, the artist reached his first role as a protagonist. Lifetime’s ‘Merry Textmas’ is a fun romantic comedy between Gaby Diaz (Ariana Ron Pedrique), an app developer and the only single young woman from a traditional family, and Alex (played by Rodrigo Massa), a graphic designer who accidentally he is added to the Diaz family group and invited to spend Christmas in Oaxaca, Mexico. With that, Alex remembers his Mexican roots and a certain atmosphere begins to roll between him and Gaby. Directed by Alba Gil, the film features a 100% Latino cast and production, in addition to being the channel’s first bilingual film: 70% English and 30% Spanish, a milestone in the history of the channel’s productions. But it doesn’t stop there: The film’s theme song, titled “How Could I Have Known” is also sung by Massa, alongside Andra, a singer from Europe, and the partnership won over the public.
And speaking of his musical career, Rodrigo already has 2 albums, with songs in Portuguese, Spanish, English and Polish, all composed by him. Currently, the singer has been betting on a more dancing facet and on feats with different artists around the world. “Poczuj Bicie Serca”, “Chamuco”, “La Fiesta Remix”, are some of his latest releases alongside artists such as Polish pop star Małgorzata Główka, known as CamaSutra, Filipe Gonçalves from Portugal and Mariusz Wawrzynczyk with DJ Mau Hernandez , from Poland and Costa Rica. And much more to come, with partnerships with artists from Bolivia and Ecuador, among others.
After his biggest hit “Acabo de Soñar Contigo”, which reached more than 550,000 views on YouTube and generated controversy in the critics, Rodrigo returns to the romantic scene with “Cómo Le Explico a Mi Corazón”, a new single that will be released on the 27/ 01 on all digital platforms, where the artist reports that he once again wrote the song with an open heart. Undoubtedly, it will be another success in this great career conquered by him.
With a portfolio that already brings together countless characters, his work is increasingly spread around the world, and here in Brazil, you came to live for 20 years. We know that in each country, cultural diversity is quite large, and this involves the film industry. What were the main differences you noticed when starting to work with international projects?
In the beginning, the most evident difference was the attitude of casting producers, directors, managers and agencies, who, in my opinion, are more willing to bet on new talent and develop careers from scratch.
Currently, the most visible difference is the great international impact of each project. See my characters dubbed in Russian, Polish, Italian, etc. I’ve spent weeks appearing on television shows in Europe to publicize the premiere of a new series. I receive messages from people who are following my work in Belgium, Qatar, Finland, and many other countries that even 15 years ago I never imagined that one day they would be watching me on TV.
And it is also very attractive for us actors the wide variety of productions that take place every year. The Christmas movie I shot with Lifetime, for example, was one of 26 that the channel produced last year, just for the November/December schedule. And we’re only talking about one channel. It is an extremely strong film industry, which generates hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Among his main projects, Televisa and Netflix were present in several of them while he lived in Mexico, highlighting some like “La Piloto” and “El Dragón”, which soon became worldwide hits for the streaming platform. When it comes to these big projects, in addition to the natural challenges that each character can provide, what are the main aspects that change in an actor’s career along with the repercussion that the titles provide?
Pressure builds for sure. Both the public and the team around me expect to be surprised with ever better projects and characters. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to move to Canada. To have access to American productions that are recorded there.
But of course, it also has the advantage that these big projects make a huge difference in an actor’s resume, therefore opening more and more important doors. My first starring role in Hollywood didn’t come out of nowhere. In addition to having a good test, it is important to have a constantly rising trajectory. Producers pay a lot of attention to these things before anyone is hired.
Another series that, in addition to being a classic for DC Comics fans, is the series “The Flash”, where he played the character Waiter in the episode “Love Is a Battlefield” of the 6th season. What was it like to go through that experience and how were the filming sets and the series’ crew?
That was my first experience in the world of Hollywood. It doesn’t take long for people to realize they’re playing in the big leagues. The structure around a series like this is impressive, and even a little intimidating. It’s imposing to act alongside stars like Grant Gustin, who the whole world knows. I felt butterflies in my stomach that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I was also impressed by certain rituals that I had never seen in Mexican productions. For example, the first thing the entire crew does as soon as they arrive on set in the morning is a safety meeting, to identify all the possible risks of the scenes that will be shot that day. Everyone has to stop whatever they’re doing and pay attention. Participation is mandatory. I thought that was wonderful. Because I have already witnessed certain situations during the time I worked on Mexican television in which, clearly, there was a risk for the actors. But we were always afraid to say something because of the constant rush that exists during filming and to avoid labels like “divo”, “boring”, “annoying”, etc., which can lead to difficulties in getting future jobs.
Originally produced for the Syfy channel, the series “Resident Alien”, based on the work of Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, was a science fiction mixed with drama and mystery. What was it like working with Alan Tudyk, Corey Reynolds and Sara Tomko?
Everyone was super sweet and attentive. The production schedules a few scenes per day, in order to be able to do the work calmly and with great attention to every detail. It really adds to the vibe on set. And it gave me the opportunity to talk quietly with my teammates and get to know them better before starting to record.
I also enjoyed seeing celebrities with millions of followers on social media doing their job with great discipline and humility. I see that many Hollywood stars are simpler than certain artists I lived with and worked with at Televisa.
One of his most recent career highlights was the “Urban Legend” series, now on HBO Max, which tells of a wave of gruesome murders at a university. What did this project represent in your career?
Urban Legend satisfied the desire I’ve always had to work on a horror series or film. It’s a genre I’ve always been a fan of. I remember the day I shot a scene where I was sleeping in the living room and there was a noise in the kitchen. I had to get up very slowly, grab a bottle of beer in case I had to defend myself, and slowly approach the kitchen. That kind of suspense scene that I had seen a thousand times and always wanted to do. And at that moment, teenage Rodrigo, a fan of films like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Final Destination, was jumping with joy inside me!
Already for this year, 2023, you already have some premieres scheduled, such as “Cheat” and “The Spencer Sisters”, from the CTV channel, which will be released on February 10th. Could you talk a little about these productions and how are your expectations for them to reach the public?
Cheat is a wonderful thriller and also comes with scenes that represented a great challenge for me, as I had never done anything like it before. My character is called Adam, and he is the protagonist’s lover.
Spencer Sisters is a CTV series. It is an extremely special production for me, as it is the first time that I have been hired as part of the main cast of an American series. I play Antônio Pereira, owner of a Brazilian restaurant, married to Zane, a policeman from the city of Alder Bluffs, who is the best friend of the protagonist, Darby. There are still a few months to go before Cheat premieres, but a preview of the first episode of Spencer Sisters has already been broadcast, and the official premiere is set for February 10th.
Despite all your extensive resume, it was in December of last year that you played your first lead role in the Lifetime movie “Merry Textmas”, where you played a romantic couple with Ariana Ron Pedrique. How was the construction and the experience of living Alex?
The construction was a very interesting process, because despite speaking Spanish fluently, I was preparing to play a character who travels to Mexico and only manages in English, scratching only a few words in Spanish. I had several coaching sessions with Johnny Emmet Tracy, actor from series like Yellowstone and Batwoman, to look together for the most interesting intentions for my character. On set, we were directed by Alba Gil, who has just directed the Triada series, with Maite Perroni. She is a sweetheart, super patient and always willing to listen to proposals and suggestions.
The whole project was a dream come true for me. Simply perfect. Having the opportunity to star in a Lifetime movie and sing the lead song on the soundtrack on top of that! So far it hasn’t dawned on me that this actually happened.
A curiosity about this last film is that it became the first production to be made bilingually in its original version, being ugly in English and Spanish. Did this novelty bring any new challenges to the production of the film?
Yes definitely. This was a big gamble and even a risk for the channel, considering that the vast majority of viewers do not speak Spanish. Nobody really knew how our bilingual proposal would be accepted.
None of this was originally planned. During the recordings, the director and some actors defended that certain scenes should be recorded in Spanish, because they were a conversation between two or more Mexican characters. At first, the producers were a bit apprehensive. The number of scenes in Spanish had to be meticulously negotiated. It was a whole process, but in the end everyone came to an agreement. The decision drew a lot of attention and was applauded by several critics who defend diversity in television.
Your musical career is also in evidence, as in addition to having sung in four different languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish and Polish), you also composed songs. What is it like to live this international career in music and in your creation process, are the songs already thought of in a certain language? What’s the hardest to work with?
This international career in music has brought me many surprises. Singing on giant stages in Poland, doing a New Year’s Eve show in Portugal, recording a duet with Romania’s biggest pop star… It hasn’t been easy to organize so many engagements in different countries, but I’ve reaped great rewards.
Yes, each song is born in a language. I can’t explain why. Certain melodies take me a little more to the Spanish side. Or an idea comes up that is easier to express in Portuguese. A beat that goes perfectly with words in English… I let the inspiration come, I observe my intuition and the random words that I hum while composing and the language is defined naturally. Definitely, the language that presents the most challenges at the moment is Polish. Why am I still not 100% fluent. So I write the lyrics, but then I need a lot of help from someone who really masters the language to make the necessary corrections.
With its release this past January 27th, “Cómo Le Explico a Mi Corazón” is marking her return to romantic music. What made you choose to return to the genre and how did you arrive at this song?
I decided to go back to the romantic genre because I feel that my audience connects much more with this side of me than with Rodrigo party boy. I also accumulated many love stories that I’ve been putting together over the last three years and that I really want to share with the public. So get ready because there will be more songs like this!
Cómo Le Explico Mi Corazón was born after the end of my last relationship. The song talks about the difficulties of ending a relationship when there is still a very strong reciprocal love, but for some reason, either the relationship or the marriage is no longer sustainable.
Originally, the song only had the first two parts, in which it seems that everything is lost and I will never get over the end of this story. But someone very special ended up appearing in my life and I decided to add a happy ending, to demonstrate that after the storm the sun always shines again. What we illustrate during the clip with a gradual change in which the colors are replacing the black and white scenes.
Follow Rodrigo Massa on Instagram