‘I haven’t had to do it before’

Aimee Garcia and Freddie Prinze Jr. star in the Netflix holiday movie, Christmas with you. (Photo: Netflix)

Freddie Prinze Jr. one of the most prominent Latino actors in Hollywood since the days of the movie in the 90s. But during his quarter-century career, the son of the late comedian and sitcom star, Freddie Prinze, rarely had the chance to show his culture on screen.

“I’ve gotten nothing but love from Latino taxi drivers to business owners talking about being motivated to see a Latino who isn’t running from the police or dealing drugs,” he tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But within the industry, I always met a ton of resistance by directors trying to check my Latin heritage.”

That’s why Prinze loves her new Netflix holiday movie, Christmas with you, as a gift that keeps on giving. Directed by the Argentinian filmmaker, Gabriela Tagliavini, the film that cast the She is all that stars as Miguel – a public school music teacher and single dad who makes an unexpected Christmas love connection with big-time pop star Angelina, played by Aimee Garcia. Believe it or not, Prinze says this is the first time he’s been hired specifically to play a Latino character. “I couldn’t do it before if I didn’t write the damn thing,” he notes. “So when Gabriela brought this to me, I just wanted the chance to earn her respect.”

“Every Latino you saw me playing was always something after the fact,” continues Prinze. (The actor has previously portrayed Latino characters in Peacock’s Punky Brewster revival and eighth season of Fox’s hit action series, 24.) “They want the role to be named ‘Mike Smith’ and they want to say, ‘Oh, we hired Freddie, so we can show people how different we are.’ And suddenly his name is ‘Miguel Ramirez.’ And that’s not the same as a man! no count. This was very important to me, and this was a big reason why I signed on for this film.”

Watch a scene from Christmas With You below:

Not for nothing, but Christmas with you It is also one of the first few Christmas films featuring a Latino family and center. In recent years, networks and streamers like Hallmark, Hulu, Lifetime and Netflix have tried to diversify their holiday fare with stories that prominently feature LGBTQ and Black characters, but that shift has been slow to extend to other groups. “Aimee mentioned to me that she can’t think of another Latin American Christmas movie,” says Prinze. “I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure it was.’ But I can’t think of anything! That’s what makes this movie so cool.”

“I’ve heard from white people before that they don’t like forced diversity,” he says. “And I get that, I really do. Creatively, you should never feel like something is being forced on you and there’s a lot of things written on the agenda. But this movie is just a family celebrating Christmas. It’s about a father who lost his wife and his daughter lost their mother and he’s trying to play both roles I know a lot of people, regardless of race, who grew up with a single parent – i happen to be one of them. with a story that everyone can relate to The only thing that makes us different is the foods we eat, the way we dance and the music we like as soon as you have tacos, you’re in with me, man. you hate tacos, that’s okay too. I hate mayonnaise!”

Aimee Garcia as Angelina and Freddie Prinze Jr as Miguel in Christmas With You.  (Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/Netflix)

Garcia as Angelina and Prinze as Miguel i Christmas with you. (Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/Netflix)

Food was a big part of Prinze’s childhood Christmases in New Mexico, where he lived with his mother after his father died just before his first birthday. “Everything is different there,” he remembers. “We started it lights Halloween instead of lights, and we’d do them for Christmas too, sometimes. You would have to find ways to keep them from melting into the snow! Native American culture and Mexican culture came together beautifully in that state and determined the types of food we would eat and the drinks we would drink. we would have sopipili with honey and Indian fry bread. All of those would be a staple at every Christmas dinner, and I took them out to California when I moved back here.”

Prinze continues to serve those New Mexico staples at the holiday dinners he hosts with his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and their two children. “I could not find good Mexican food in Southern California before the food truck revolution, so I would literally send out green chili and red chili from New Mexico,” he says, laughing. “I served a green chili chicken stew at Christmas, and everyone goes bananas for it. I’ve been lucky enough to see cultures embrace each other, and usually it’s food provided by common ground. I know how to cook because of that. “

While Prinze would be part of another Latino-centric Christmas movie in a heartbeat, don’t expect him to return to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away for any holiday specials in the future. The real world Star wars fans voiced Jedi survivor Kanan Jarrus on four seasons of the fan-favorite cartoon series, Rebel star warswhich ended its run in 2018. Since then, however, the Rebels the ship made a cameo (along with Prinze’s voice) in the Skywalker Saga-capping blockbuster, Rise of Skywalker, and other animated characters – including Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan – jumped into the realm of live action. But Prinze insists that Kanan will not join them.

“I’m done playing in Star wars,” he says, adding that if Kanan shows up The Mandalorian or another Disney+ series, he won’t be the one to wave the Jedi’s blue torch. “I felt like I did a great job with that character, which I love. He had a beautiful story, but it ended and even though my attachment to him has not gone, I have nothing left to give him. forced, and I don’t like that. I didn’t even want to make a sound Rise of Skywalkerbut [Rebels co-creator] Dave Filoni convinced me! I said that the first time they asked, and he had to make the call. He believed in me for that role i Rebels when Disney didn’t, and for that, I always have his back.”

Christmas with you currently streaming on Netflix

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