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Leo Benítez: “I like to put my stamp on everything I do”

Admiration for his brother led him to venture into athletics, but since Leonardo Benítez first took the stage with the Olga Alonso theater company, he felt that his life would be linked to acting.

Since he began his career in the acting world, he has broken barriers with his talent. She has been part of well-known spaces on Cuban television, such as the police on the trail and patrol 444the Serie riddle of a summer and soap operas You and shared beats.

Armed with an overwhelming personality, the actor has also had an extensive career in the cinema. His versatility has made him one of the best-known faces in our media.

Some critics consider you a risky actor. Are you by decision or by obligation?

I like challenges, I enjoy interpreting and giving life to human beings with personalities different from mine. I am passionate about discovering and looking for resources to put together the characters proposed to me by the directors with whom I have worked. I always get involved in the conceptualization of the work. This allows me to gather good tools to interpret. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself; I look for a way to distinguish a job from the previous one. I like to put my stamp on everything I do.

You are a versatile actor: cinema, theater, television. What provokes you in particular in each of these media?

Each medium has its characteristics. I have traveled through all of them and I have enjoyed them. Interacting and nourishing myself with the directors who have guided me has shaped me and brought out the best in me.

Theater is a school that actors must go through at some point in their lives. The beginnings of my career were in the company of maestro Humberto Rodríguez. Then I had the happiness of belonging to the Teatro Estudio group of the great Raquel Revuelta. This is a sacrificial environment that offers you the necessary tools of the trade and brings you a lot, both as a human being and in the professional field.

Television gives you a lot of visibility; but if I had to choose, I would opt for cinema, because I feel comfortable and it is the medium that I have worked the most with.

Leo Benitez. Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee.

What depends on whether you accept a project?

The proposal has to catch me. I like to feel that I am part of a work of great artistic value, of something that will transcend and last over time.

In our country, not so many dramatizations are produced in the year and that they take you into account means that they value your work.

But if I don’t feel that the proposal is worth it, I prefer to dedicate myself to other things and wait for an opportunity for professional growth to come my way.

Leo Benítez acts together with Annia Bu. Photo: Cuban television.

Is there any aptitude or quality that is essential to dedicate yourself to acting?

I think the most important thing is to be honest. It is a profession that works with emotions, in which we are always exposed to criticism. If you are not well prepared mentally, some things can affect you.

From my experience, being natural, doing things from the heart and going head-on are aspects that will always say a lot about a person, whatever the field in which they move.

interpret to Maykel Junior in the soap opera shared beats made you a nationally recognized actor. Did your popularity consolidate with this leading man?

Although before shared beats I had done other things, Maykel Junior was the character that connected me with the general public. Initially it generated controversy; but later he achieved the acceptance of the audience.

The significance of this dramatization is surprising. They still stop me on the street to tell me about the character I played and I have learned that many parents have named their children Maykel Junior because of the soap opera.

Many compared you to the Brazilian actor Lázaro Ramos after the premiere of beatsWhat do you think about that?

In our country, most of the leading roles in dramas are played by white actors. Playing Maykel Junior was a complicated process, because it was initially conceived for a white actor.

Leo Benitez. Photo: taken from the interviewee’s profile on Facebook.

The trust and firmness of director Felo Ruiz allowed me to finally be given the opportunity, in which I demonstrated that I was capable of defending the leading role.

The comparison with Lázaro Ramos, who is also a black actor with media success in Brazil, comes from there.

How do you deal with the long days of recording soap operas and audiovisuals in a general sense?

Shootings are extensive processes that last practically the whole year. When you are recording, you have to be available all the time. If you record today, when you get home you have to prepare for the next day.

I am demanding with the projects I work on and when I decide to accept a proposal I get involved in every way. I focus on what I am doing and dedicate myself to the maximum so that the work is of the highest possible quality.

If you had to recommend a dramatization that you have worked on to someone, what would it be and why?

Many people would think that Shared beats; but in reality the work that I have been most pleased with is saving the general (2013), where I was able to play Tomás, a character involved in a historical event.

Is being a singer a dream come true?

Music is something that has been present at different times in my life. I ventured into rap accompanied by a great friend; later, in the lyrical song. Although I don’t do it professionally, it’s something that I enjoy and that in some way has contributed to my work as an actor.

I recently had the opportunity to resume singing when the director Lester Hamlet invited me to play Tomás in the soap opera You.

Leo Benitez. Photo: Profile of the interviewee on Facebook.

We have seen you conducting spaces for participation. How was the experience in the Dancing in Cuba contest?

When the proposal to be part of the first season of Bailando en Cuba came to me, I was going through a delicate family situation. I didn’t see myself in a show, but my family motivated me to face the new challenge and I did it with the support of my colleagues Camila Arteche and Carlos Solar.

What suggestion would you give to actors who are starting out?

That they do not stop trying and that they prepare themselves; That way, when the opportunity comes, they’ll be ready to take it.

In this job you have to be focused, be constant, have discipline and always give your best in everything you do.

Sometimes one gets desperate and wants things the first time; but everything has its moment and if things are done well the rest is a matter of time.

Are you clear about the path you want to follow in your career?

It is clear to me that I want to continue to be linked to this profession that excites me. I would like to remain connected with the public, who always support me and show me affection. I want them to have the chance to see me in different facets. There are projects in development that should be completed soon, so you will see me defending other characters, with the same affection and dedication as always.

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