‘Sense8’ actor Miguel Angel Silvestre on working with the iconic Wachowskis and celebrating gay Pride in Brazil … in (or out?) of character
Netflix’s soapy sci-fi series from Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Sense8, revolves around a telepathically-connected group of strangers called Sensates. Located all over the world, these diverse individuals can see and even teleport via their fellow Sensates’ minds to help each other, especially when avoiding the dangerous enemy Whispers, who is determined to track the Sensates down.
Handsome Spanish actor Miguel Angel Silvestre plays one of the Sensates — Lito, a gay actor in Mexico City who went from hiding his relationship with boyfriend Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) during the first season to being publicly outed in December’s Sense8 Christmas special. May 5 welcomes the global debut (and, surely, binge-watching session) of Sense8 Season 2.
Silvestre, who previously co-starred in Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited, discussed the upcoming season, which will see the Sensates — including Nomi, a San Francisco-based lesbian transgender blogger/hacker played by Jamie Clayton, as well as native North Texas Brian J. Smith — come together for plenty of action, thrills, and perhaps even another one of those famous polysexual orgies.
— Lawrence Ferber
Dallas Voice: How do you connect most with Lito as a character?
Silvestre: When I first started working as an actor, I did a role, and the character was very cool. It was my breakthrough in Spain, and when I was doing interviews, I was scared to not be as interesting as the character was. Now I’m becoming comfortable with who I am, and the result in the end is better. So I can understand Lito in that sense — to be perceived onscreen as the perfect man, masculine, heterosexual. That’s why his performances were all very false. Lito’s facing a new era of his life, and he’s accepting his darkness, his light, and it will make him more real and have more meaningful relationships and performances as an actor.
Lito’s career seemed to be in jeopardy by end of the Christmas special since he refuses to pretend to be straight anymore. How will that play out?
Lana wanted to be very real about what would happen to someone like Lito, so we’ll see he’s being more authentic with himself and live great moments, and at the same time a lot of things in his life will go to hell. The best of Lito and worst of Lito.
And how will things go with Hernando now that they don’t have to hide their relationship?
With the relationship, beautiful things will happen, but at the same time when you face Lito not having work, that makes a huge change in how you behave when your dream goes away. There will be many surprises.
Episode 6 this season will feature a highlight when Lito and Hernando go to gay Pride in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photos and videos leaked of the entire Sense8 cast there, actually, with lots of making out and you kissing Brian J. Smith as well! Can you talk about shooting that?
Lana wanted to mix reality with fiction, and the show is very famous in Brazil. So she hid some cameras in public in the actual LGBT parade, and she made me do a speech. Some people didn’t know whether it was Lito or Miguel saying the speech, but it was so beautiful the way they reacted. Everything was happening like written in the script. I’ll always remember it. Brazilian people are very generous and passionate. It was impossible to keep cool!
During production of Season 1, Lilly Wachowski was still male-identified and went by the name Andy. Were you surprised when she came out as transgender last March?
I was surprised, if surprise would be that I didn’t know. I always have a lot of admiration for people who follow what they really believe and feel, regardless of the system. I see it as a very positive thing when somebody can connect their hearts and desires with their minds. There’s no contradiction. You get the most authentic, loving person when somebody is not in conflict. For me, [Lilly’s announcement] was something to celebrate, it was a beautiful thing, but I didn’t know anything when we were shooting Season 1.
On this season, Lilly took a break, leaving Lana in charge. How were things different with just one of the Wachowski siblings in control?
We missed Lilly a lot. It was so beautiful to see how two geniuses work together. They say that Lana is the balloon that wants to fly high and Lilly was the person holding the balloon so it wouldn’t get lost. Lana is very creative, and had a lot of support from many people, for instance David Mitchell [who wrote the Cloud
Atlas novel] writing the show with her. Lana did a great job. I have excitement to see what came out — if there are any differences. Definitely we missed Lilly’s energy, but I don’t know how that will be reflected in the show.
Have you ever felt as connected to someone as the Sensates do to each other?
Well, I guess the closest I have been connected to has been my mom. Sometimes out of telepathy I think about her and she calls me right away without knowing!
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 28, 2017.