Luis Da Silva Jr – (Fast Five – 2011).

I recently got the chance to talk to Luis Da Silva Jr about his role as Diogo in ‘Fast Five’. Here, he talks about what fans of the series can expect from this installment, and also about his life and career in the basketball world….

Hey Luis – thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. We‘ve got you here to talk about “Fast Five’, which is out in UK cinemas on the 21st April 2011. What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?

“Fast Five” picks up where “Fast and Furious” left off – Brian and Mia helped Dom escape from authorities and are now on the run. They end up in Rio de Janero and have to band together with their former alliances to outsmart the authorities chasing them and figure out a way to get out of the game for good.

Tell us a bit about your character and his role within the film…

My character is Diogo, an elite Brazilian racer who challenges Dom and Brian to a winner-takes-all race. My character’s function in the movie is to give the viewer some background on the underground race scene in Brazil, and its similarities to the American scene.

Had you seen the other “Fast And Furious” films before you signed on?

Because I travel so much, it’s sometimes a challenge to go to the movie theatre and watch movies when they are released. But I have an affinity for anything having to do with fast cars, so I was drawn to the first movie. After seeing and enjoying it, I made sure to always make it a point of seeing the others.

Why do you think the franchise is so popular?

These movies are so great because you always find yourself, well, kind of rooting for the bad guys. Dom is an ex-con – and street racing, in most places, is illegal – but these movies make them both exciting to watch. And like most guys, I enjoy anything that includes fast cars and beautiful women, which all the movies, especially “Fast Five”, do a great job of at combining. It attracts a very diverse type of audience from kids to teenagers, even to adults that are 40+ in age.

You’ve been on-set with some of the major players behind the franchise, like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster – what was it like working with them?

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker were very professional on set and their performances are amazing. I got a chance to talk to them both in-between takes and they are really great guys.

Ludacris both plays a role in the film and has produced a single for it – did you get to hang out with him? What’s he like?

I didn’t have any scenes with Ludacris, so I never got to meet him. But, I do admire his successful transition from the music industry into film.

Let’s talk about you, Luis. You’re not just an actor, but an exceptional basketball player too – in your mind, what does basketball offer teenagers and adults that say, football and rugby – don’t?

In the US, basketball is a sport that is really accessible to most kids, especially those in the inner city. It’s also a sport that you can play alone, (just shooting around), or with a team professionally. All you need is a basketball and a court, no grass, no goals, no protective gear. It does have similarities to rugby and football in that, practice, discipline and dedication are required if you are going to excel at the sport. But basketball is a lot more about finesse, observation and endurance.

What has been the highlight of your basketball career? I imagine there’s so many to choose from….

I would say signing to Nike was the biggest highlight until recently when I was asked to produce and direct my own instructional trick basketball DVD called, “Freestyle 101”. It is a compilation of all my favourite trick basketball moves, but broken down for anyone to learn. It is a 45 minute DVD that is available on Amazon.com, and is also available as a phone app on Apple iTunes. I was inspired to share my trick basketball knowledge with a new generation and what better way to do it than to include the newest technology and make it accessible to all. I also feel like it is a great way to inspire kids to get out of the house, off the couch and onto their local basketball courts to practice and show off their newly learned trick moves.

What caused you to go into acting from that point in your life?

Acting has always been an interest of mine and was a natural progression after my Nike commercials. The opportunity presented itself to audition for “The Brave One” featuring Academy Award winner Jodie Foster and I managed to book the role and get a part. Since then, I have been trying to create my own niche in the acting industry like I have done in the basketball world.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in basketball or acting?

Stay dedicated, have determination and always remain focused on doing your best by practicing and getting better at your craft. You must remain patient and always have faith in yourself and God.

Something that piqued my interest as I was doing my research on you – is your recurring involvement in “America’s Most Wanted”, playing angry ex-boyfriends, prisoners and drug dealers – do you like playing ‘real life’ criminals in re-enactments of crimes?

Because of my image, I play the bad guy a lot so I’m used to it. Doing a “America’s Most Wanted” re-enactment is a little scary though because I’m always nervous someone will see the show, see me, and think I was REALLY the criminal the cops were looking for! Other than that I think it’s great to be a part of it, as my involvement could possibly help solve a crime.

What’s coming up for you in 2011?

Next year is going to be very busy, I have just finished the pilot of a new series for TBS called, “Hound Dogs” about a minor league baseball team. I have a few independent movies coming out soon and I am currently filming the re-make of “21 Jump Street” featuring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, which will be released in 2012.

Thanks for the interview!

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