In The CW’s “The Flash“, Carlos Valdes plays the geek extraordinaire of S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco Ramon. Often offering comic relief and moments of genius to the otherwise intense episodes of the DC Comics TV series, the mechanical engineering whiz kid never fails to dish it out when it matters most – puns, mind-blowing inventions, pop culture references, nicknames, quick fixes, etc.
On top of that, Cisco recently became a full-blown meta-human (Vibe) in the latest season of “The Flash”. As Vibe, he emits powerful vibratory shock waves and sees future events as well as the present time.
Now, coupled with Cisco’s technical role in S.T.A.R. Labs, needless to say, the character has quickly become a fan favourite (sorry, Barry Allen!).
Thanks to our friends from Warner TV, we managed to get hold of an interview with Carlos Valdes, where he discusses Cisco dealing with his powers moving forward, playing a Latino superhero, just playing Cisco in general, his lesser-known music career, and..well, read on to find out more:
How would you like to see your character challenged in the future?
I think Cisco has a perpetual struggle with maturity. I think that it is his main struggle is learning how to hold himself accountable and how to be responsible for the things that he does and the mistakes that he makes. I think that season, for the most part, was about him making mistakes and learning that it’s not easy to be on a team dedicated to save the world. Season 2 is more about him being endowed with gifts, understanding the value of those gifts and how to apply them. So it’s yes, I can definitely see that Cisco is going to have to struggle with how to deal with his powers and how to use them for good.
Is it as awesome as it seems to be to play a character that is so loved by people in such a short time?
It’s awesome. I love my job. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love playing this character. I love seeing families come together to watch the show. I love seeing Latinos, people from Latin America, feel overjoyed to be represented in television like that. I feel privileged to be playing arguably the first Latino superhero on TV. I am over the moon that I get to be on television. I’ve never done this before and I am blessed to work with the most amazing, generous, wonderful, smart, talented, passionate cast.
You mentioned, being one of the first Latino superhero on TV, and I think one of the criticisms with the original DC Comics of the 80s was that Vibe embodies a bunch of stereotypes, like Latino stereotypes. Was it important to you that, this character is the complete opposite in that regard?
Absolutely. I do feel at times that I have to make sure that I’m aware that the script stays truthful to who I think this character is. I think Cisco is a product of so many different cultures. I feel that I come from a generation and a place where I was an amalgam of all the diversity and cultures that have influenced me in my life. And that is who I am which helps me bring a lot of that to Cisco. Cisco is not somebody who, is saying dios mio all the time. He’s an amalgam of cultures and he’s a complex representation of a millennial. I think nobody knows that better than me.
When we talk about diversity, many times we stay focused on the African American culture. How do you see the Latino presence in general in films and TV?
This is an interesting question. This is a very important time as it is when diversity is selling so well. And, you know, even on our social media and internet, awareness around diversity is what is hot and what people are fighting for right now. That is where we stake our claim, where we make our mark, and where we say what we think. So I foresee that we can’t go anywhere but up. I’m just happy that I get to represent a character that is an honest representation of the people that I’ve met in my life, who are very and are defined by their cultures but also by the Americanisation of those cultures.
Do you feel like sometimes you have to be like a spokesperson?
I try not to see myself as a spokesperson. I’m just an actor, trying to play a character and tell a story. But I like it when people say you’re such an excellent spokesperson for the Latino community. Well, thank you, I appreciate that. So I don’t hate it.
Cisco has a lot of..makes a lot of pop culture references, and there’s that meta stuff. Was that already on the script or did you have a part in including that?
Yes and no. The spirit of it is always in the script. And I always honour the script. I do a take as scripted, and then, I’ll do other takes where I’ll just change their references or I’ll slip in a new reference and 95% of the time what I ad-lib, they will put that in the final cut.
Last but not least, what are you doing about your music career right now?
I recently released a music video and it’s doing really well. A lot better than I thought it would. And I’m working on a record. I’ve been working really hard on it because I do a lot on the show. Obviously, like, in season 2 Cisco does a lot. And so all the time that I have when I’m not doing the show I devote to this album, and it’s just like my life is work.
Thanks for the chat, Carlos Valdes!
We’ll leave you now with the official music video for Carlos Valdes’ cover of Bobby Caldwell’s 1981 classic, “Open Your Eyes”. Bet you didn’t know that he could sing, huh? ;) Enjoy:
Don’t forget to catch “The Flash” first and exclusively in Malaysia via Warner TV HD (HyppTV Ch613) every Sunday at 7:20pm.