The Peruvian actor who refused to play villains, came to Netflix and now seeks to make a career in Mexico

When the roles he played ceased to excite him, turned to other scenes. He said no to villainous characters and found in theater and film what television denied him.

READ ALSO: Apreci chooses “Song without a name” as the best Peruvian film of 2021

The protagonist of “Song without a name” began studying acting when he was 13 years old, thanks to the invitation of a neighbor of his. Since then he has always been linked to art.

My neighbor invited me to her class with Ramón García at MALI. After that day, she never went back, and I never stopped studying. Then I took a course with Aristóteles Picho, may he rest in peace; and then a workshop with Roberto Ángeles. I had to lie to Roberto that he was 19 because it was a workshop for adults. After passing the three levels, I confessed to him that he was 17, he told me that he already knew, but he didn’t take me out because he had decided to bet on me. Then he suggested that I study acting at the university”, narrates the national artist.

In 2007, Párraga was summoned to join the cast of “Perú champion”, a youth miniseries inspired by national football that aired on Channel 4 as a replacement in the schedule for the tuned-in fiction by Efraín Aguilar, “ Así es la vida”.

Eduardo Adrianzén called me for that project, it was the first time I acted on television. I played the younger brother of one of the crack soccer players in the miniseries, he wasn’t good at soccer, but when you’re a kid, and you’re excited about your first project, you work hard, you get stubborn and you practice more. Then I acted in “Indomitable love”, playing Fidel, he was the villain”, emphasizes the artist.

That was the first of a series of antagonistic roles that Tommy Párraga played on the small screen. One of the most remembered was the one that gave life to “Calle en llamas”, a weekly miniseries on Channel 2 directed by Jorge Carmona in 2008. In that one, the opportunity actor embodied a heartless gang member.

That production had four chapters, I was only in the initial installment. He was the last villain I agreed to play.”, clarifies Parraga.

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Why the refusal to play villains?

Because it made me lazy, you have to do bad things all day, it’s exhausting in a way. You demand your mind to order your body to feel negative emotions that do not correspond, that are not happening. It’s not nice to draw on that dark energy all the time, especially when you’re playing one villain role after another, for long periods of time. Not feeling comfortable with what I was doing I decided to explore more in theater and film.

At some point did you feel afraid that you would not be summoned, of not acting again?

All the time, however, I was confident that not being on TV, they would call me for something else. And that happened. I started doing theater, I worked with cool people, whom I admired a lot at that time. I acted in “The Boy in the Last Row”, “Chronicles of a Death Foretold”, “The City and the Dogs’; important works with which we toured countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia. Then I made movies.

Tommy Párraga took on challenging roles on the big screen.  (Photo: Hugo Pérez Torrejón)
Tommy Párraga took on challenging roles on the big screen. (Photo: Hugo Pérez Torrejón)

On the big screen, Tommy Párraga experiences important changes in his artistic career that excite him. The first film he made was Jorge Tamayo’s “La Vigilia”, starring Stephanie Orúe and Gianfranco Brero. He then was part of the cast of actors of “The gospel of the flesh.” However, it was in “The Final Hour” where he lands one of the “most satisfying” roles he has ever played. In “Canción sin nombre”, director Melina León’s debut feature, he was chosen as Best Leading Actor by the Peruvian Association of Cinematographic Press (Apreci) for his role as journalist Pedro Campos.

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Did you find the roles you were looking for in the cinema?

When the cinema appears (in my life), everything changes. The character I played in “The Final Hour” was very cool, tough, extensive, difficult. It was a big job, of enormous preparation, of approximately a year and a half. I played Fidel, a terrorist, I had to read books about terrorist children and parents. It was a great challenge. Everything starts with this movie. After that, “Canción sin nombre” appears, then I record “La passion de Javier”, as Héctor Bejar. It was crazy.

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At this point in your career, would you agree to return to television?

I did a casting for Michelle Alexander, for “Luz de Luna”. I was waiting for the call, but since they didn’t call me, I went to Mexico to apply for my visa. And when I’m in Cancun, getting to know the Caribbean for the first time, they call me. I told them no because, besides, I had made an appointment at the consulate, paid the lawyer, it was a lot of money.

What character were you going to play in “Luz de Luna”?

I don’t know what it was because as soon as they asked me about availability, I told them I couldn’t. I am delighted to return to television, which is where I started.

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So be it to play a villain?

It doesn’t matter because if I hadn’t made that decision that I made when I was 24 or 25: to explore other skills, I wouldn’t know everything I know now. I already lived what I had to live, I also ventured into teaching, I teach acting classes at the university and I do workshops. In ‘realities’ such as “La Voz” and “Yo soy”, I teach artistic expression and acting to the participants.

Do you have pending projects for this year?

I shot a short film for a film by Michelle Alexander, I think it’s her debut feature. It’s called “Zulen and me.” The protagonist is Norma Martínez and I play Zulen. It was a very nice experience, Michelle did a neat job. I’m also auditioning for Mexico, don’t worry, I don’t need to be traveling continuously because they already gave me Mexican residency. My main goal is to make a career there.

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The Peruvian actor who refused to play villains, came to Netflix and now seeks to make a career in Mexico