As a Mexican soap star and pop singer, Eduardo Verastegui thought he'd have to start from the bottom to crossover to Hollywood success. Fortunately, this 28-year-old is blessed with sex appeal that makes women, men and casting agents swoon upon impact! The offers were pouring in — including one for his current movie, Chasing Papi — before he'd even learned our language.
"When I moved to Miami, I had never studied English before," Verastegui recalls. "One day, I was flying from Miami to L.A. to promote my album that I recorded. On the plane, I met Christian Kaplan, the VP of casting for 20th Century Fox. He came and asked me if I was an actor. I said, 'Sí, yo soy actor de Mexico, muy talentoso.' Thank God he spoke a little Spanish!"
A few weeks later, he auditioned for the role of Papi's three-timing lothario, Tomás. The only English he knew was lines he'd memorized from the script. "I rehearsed them every day for three weeks with a teacher," he says. "So after I finished the audition, the director, Linda Mendoza, started giving me directions like, 'Okay, dadadada. Can you please dadadadadadada?' And I was just smiling, 'Okay, sure...'"
Not to knock his acting skills, but really, Verastegui could "just smile" his way into anything. Like he did two years ago, when the late Herb Ritts cast him as that smoldering flamenco dancer in Jennifer Lopez's "Ain't It Funny" video. Laughs the looker: "I didn't know how to dance flamenco!"
Before Papi began filming, Verastegui had three months of intensive language tutoring. Even after that, there were teachers on the set to help him with pronunciation. Was it worth all the hard work? "Aristotle said, 'If you can't sacrifice your stability for happiness, you don't deserve either,'" he thoughtfully replies. Um, where can we take that language course?