Edward James Olmos on His Old Man, 3-D Movies, and More

Veteran actor Edward James Olmos, whose new movie The Green Hornet hits theaters today, spoke to New York Magazine about everything from his old man, to 3-D movies, and his dream project. Here are the best parts of the interview.

On his father:  “My dad was a mailman. He worked in the post office for 25 years; before that he had been a welder for 20 years. He was pretty much a very down-to-earth and calm kind of personality … He was a very happy, upward kind of guy.”

On Green Hornet director, Michel Gondry: “That guy is just funny. He has this tremendous sense of humor, but it’s really kinda dry. The funniest moment was when I was trying to do the Rubik’s Cube, and he said, 'You should see the way I do it.' I went on YouTube, and saw he does it with his feet. [Laughs.] You should see that one! It drove me crazy. I started laughing and couldn’t take it.”

On 3-d Movies: “I like 3-D because you can’t pirate it. It’s a real way of protecting a film. And guess what? About two and a half months ago, a guy walked into my office who was from China, and he showed me an Apple computer that was three-dimensional but without glasses. It’s unbelievable. It blows your mind. I watched it for twenty minutes. I think they have to put a covering over the top of the screen, and that creates the effect. And the material you’re looking at has to be treated. It was well worth the experience — that’s what televisions are going to be like in people’s homes. 

On his need to be passionate about a project: “I don’t let possessions own me. I think the only payment I have is my house. I don’t have car payments or credit cards. I’m not a rich guy — I could have been very rich or much more famous had I done all the work I was offered. I just couldn’t do it. I’m not that gifted to be able to do stuff I don’t have passion for."

On his dream project: “I’d like to do something with Latin heroes. We’ve never had one in the history of the industry. We have stories now that we’re trying to get done, but it’s been difficult to get backing. People still don’t see the need to create those heroes. The Latino community is about 18 percent of the population and they hold less than 2 percent of the images on film and TV. There’s a big disproportion right now.”