A scene from the film "Filly Brown"
If you didn't get to attend the San Diego Latino Film Festival, you missed out on getting your sneak peak of Jenni Rivera's debut (and last film role) in Filly Brown. You also missed out on meeting the stars, directors and music producers of the film. Filly Brown has a knockout breakout performance from Gina Rodriguez alongside Latin film legends Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba) and Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver). Phillips jokingly noted at their San Diego screener that actors need to watch out for Chingo Bling because “he steals everything, including scenes.” And it's no lie.
The Houston rapper, now living in L.A., has proved himself to be a fine actor, using some of his signature comedic chops and his caballero black hat, no less. Intrigued by the film and the rapper-turned-actor, I had to talk with him about his debut playing the hustling music producer in Filly Brown. Talking with Chingo Bling is similar to when Dave Chappelle hung out with Lil Jon for the first time -- inside my head I was thinking: This guy is way smarter and more humble than his rap persona portrays.
Dita Quiñones: Is that Chingo Bling up there on the screen or are you drawing from your experiences as a rapper?
Chingo Bling: In this business you run into all types of people. Of course, I used a few as inspiration -- I won't tell any names. In order for me to pull something off that's believable, I'd need to have lived it or experienced it.
DQ: So, what's your experience been like in the rap music industry?
CB: It's a rough business. If I sat around waiting for a record label to come knocking on my door to hand me keys to a car or to pay my child support, guess what? I'd have to go get a job that I hate and I can't do that.
DQ: It's easy to memorize your own lyrics, but how was it memorizing script lines?
CB: I'd say 80 percent of my lines were pretty much ad-libbed but staying within the storyline. I actually did a lot more in the film -- a lot of stuff got edited out.
DQ: How did you get selected for the role?
CB: The directors didn't know who the heck I was. Dub and Khool-Aid [the film's music producers] have everything to do with getting me casted. They told the directors, "We know a guy who's kooky and crazy, but he can pull this part off." I did the Skype audition and nailed it. I took off to L.A. Thankfully, E-Dub and Khool-Aid had space in their garage. Every once in awhile, they'd open the door and throw me some loafs of bread and Mott's sauce [laughs].
DQ: There's role reversals going on in this film. Gina plays a rapper, you're a rapper-turned-actor. How do you think she did as a rapper?
CB: Gina had swag and funk. Her performance was believable.
DQ: It's the first time we see a Latina rapper on the major screen like this. What do you think?
CB: The film is reality. There's a ton of Latina rappers out there who need to be seen. Filly Brown is rooted in a real scene that many people have sacrificed for many, many years. The film is a great vehicle to open people's eyes to the Latina rapper.
DQ: Now that you got you're feet wet, are you going to pursue more acting?
CB: Whether I'm doing music or acting, a comedian is what I am. In terms of acting, I'm going to pursue comedic roles where I can improvise, like I did in Filly Brown. My chops for dramatic aren't there yet. Jamie Foxx and Will Smith wouldn't have gotten to where they got to without their comedy. At this point, I really want to make some noise -- make a name for myself. I love music and everything, but acting is my next thing.
Filly Brown opens nationwide on April 19.
Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter.