Meet Daniel Zovatto, the Rising Costa Rican Film Star

Daniel Zovatto BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of VANDAL/ 1091 Pictures

Latino talent is no longer a malleable exotic in Hollywood. It seems that finally, the movie machine has realized the chameleon-like talent of Latino actors and has given them the place they deserve, in front of and behind the cameras.

For Daniel Zovatto, this has been a golden opportunity.

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Zovatto always knew he wanted to be an actor. His penchant was born with films like Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” from which he would get his nickname “Danny.”

Once he moved to New York, his adventure would begin.

Daniel has been part of unique productions such as “Beneath” (2013), “It Follows” (2014), and “Don’t Breathe” (2016). Now, Zovatto is looking forward to the release of his new film “Vandal,” where he plays Nick Cruz (aka Damage), which will hit theaters on November 16.

BELatina had the opportunity to talk with Daniel Zovatto about his career and his new projects. 

Daniel Zovatto still BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of VANDAL/ Still featuring Daniel Zovatto

This is what he had to say:

What impacted you the most about “Vandal”?

Getting to know and live for a couple of weeks amongst graffiti artists from all around the country. Learning how to master a spray can, the thrill of going at night and hitting up illegal walls. All in all, I submerge myself into this world that I’ve always been fascinated by. “Vandal” was like being inside a documentary many times. It was great to step into this world and get to know a lot of great artists.  

Do you feel that a film like “Vandal” is a voice for both Latinos in the US as well as those from Latin American countries? 

It’s definitely the project I’ve been involved with, the most Latinos from behind the camera to the cast! It was a great pleasure to be in this cast and work amongst these talented actors. It was also a great experience to spend all the time in Miami and dive deep into this culture that never gets to be seen on screen. JD created a very personal story for him, being from Miami and growing up as a graffiti artist. It was great to be surrounded by all our Latino brothers and sisters in Miami.  

Is there a scene that resonated with you the most? 

Damage’s whole journey from top to bottom resonated with me. It was truly a great experience. I can’t choose one moment! 

Why do you think it was important that this film took place in Miami?  

Miami has been growing a lot in the last couple of years — especially with the addition of the Wynwood walls and how that’s changed the “view of what graffiti and street art” means.  It’s also a very personal story for our director JD. Miami is usually shown in a different light — Miami Beach, the cars, the women, and the lifestyle presented in most films. However, this is a new take, a new Miami; a Miami we don’t really see but definitely exists. So I’m happy we can show that side of Miami.  

Any words of advice for emerging Latinx trying to get into the film industry?

Believe in yourself. Have goals in mind. But more than anything, if this is what you want to do, you have to dedicate yourself entirely to this. There are no shortcuts. Love every second of it. It’s a long journey and that’s the fun part!