Iglesias focuses on music, not role--or mole
source: Chicago Sun-Times
Iglesias focuses on music, not role--or mole
September 12, 2003
BY CINDY PEARLMAN
Ben Affleck should have called to thank him. Maybe he should have even sent a gift basket.
For a couple of days in August, the heat was off Affleck's strip club incident because of another global event so startling, so newsworthy and so pressing that it made headlines around the world.
Enrique Iglesias had his mole removed.
"It's funny because I haven't been doing interviews in a long time," Iglesias says. "I've been locked away doing my new album, and all of a sudden I'm in every newspaper and on every TV station because of my mole and not my music."
It's a good thing he's one of the Sexiest People Alive and not a candidate for "Extreme Makeover."
Iglesias is an extreme kind of guy. He has that new multimillion-dollar Pepsi deal, a hot new album due out in November and a role in the new Robert Rodriguez film, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," opening today at local theaters.
Iglesias never planned on becoming an actor. "Two years ago [director] Robert Rodriguez called me and said, 'Do you want to get your feet wet in my new movie?' To tell you the truth, I was a little bit afraid," Iglesias admits. "But Robert kept saying, 'Trust me. You will have fun.'
"I'm a huge Robert Rodriguez fan, so that's why I took the risk. It's a small part, and the script is great. I didn't even have a lot of dialogue, which was fine with me. Plus, I was surrounded by great actors like Johnny Depp who made it fun for me. What did I have to lose?"
He laughs warmly and admits that his optimism hit the skids when he arrived on the set.
"The first day was a little nerve wracking. I was the guy from the music world who was suddenly standing there with people from the movie world," he says. "For a few minutes, I felt like an outsider."
"Watching Antonio do the role that made him famous was even more nerve-racking because he was so good. I was sure that I could never be that good," Iglesias says.
Banderas took the young pop star under his care. "He was great. Easygoing. A teacher. He just watched over me and everyone else on the set. He gave me good advice, which was to just watch and learn." Iglesias insists, "At the end of the day, it was like I had just done the longest music video of my life."
He says that so far as acting is concerned, slow is the way to go.
"I was happy to do a small role in 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico,'" he says. "I didn't want to feel the pressure of carrying an entire movie. I wanted something that would show I could act, but it wasn't a make-it-or-break-it career thing.
"For me, acting is really just a hobby. Don't get me wrong. I love films. I love going to the movies. I love anything that involves the making of a film. Now I feel confident that I could do a bigger role."
On the music front, Iglesias is a big star whose 1996 debut album sold 6 million copies and earned him a Grammy. His fourth album, "Enrique," out in 1999, went platinum and launched his English language singing career. "Escape" (2001) sold 9 million copies and turned "Hero" into a hit single.
Now, he's revving up for his next album, due out in November, which will also be an English language project.
"I've spent a really long time creating this album," Iglesias says. "I took my time, stopped, really listened to the songs and then changed them."
Ask him about the genre of music and he protests. "I hate having to say what style it is musically," he begs. "I can tell you that it's the most honest album I've done so far. I've really focused on the content and the words of the songs.
"Most of all, I want to sing songs now that I won't feel stupid singing 10 years from now. That means I had to really concentrate on the lyrical content. The bottom line is if it's a pop song, it better be a good one."
As for his past hits, he is the last one to sing his own praises.
"I got lucky," he says. "I worked hard and it went well. But even when I was on top of the charts, I knew that I was only as good as my last hit. Keeping on having hits is what matters, so that did put a lot of pressure on me when it came to this new album."
He doesn't want to put too much out there about his personal life and his girlfriend, model Anna Kournikova. Contrary to rumors, he says that they are not married, but just enjoying spending time with each other. He says the media glare doesn't help.
"It shuts me down when I pick up a paper and read about my private life," he gripes.
Still, he has a confession to make.
"I read the tabloids and believe the stuff about everyone else, but not about me!" he jokes. "Trust me, the stuff about me is not true!"
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