GS Exclusive: Q & A with X-Men: First Class Star Alex Gonzalez Aka Riptide

Spanish star of TV and film, Alex Gonzalez marks his Hollywood feature debut in a major role with X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Giving his first interview in English on the film’s set, Gonzalez shares the tale of his experience as the latest star of the X-MEN franchise.

How exciting is it to be a part of this big X-MEN world?

It’s very exciting. For every actor who is starting his career, it’s very different to get a film like this one, but for Spanish actors, it’s a bit more difficult, especially for Spanish actors with my level of English!

But I’m very excited, because I’m an X-MEN fanatic and I’m very happy to be here. Today, I was watching the rehearsal, and sometimes I feel that I’m outside of it. It’s wonderful. I have to say, “Come on, I’m here, I’m working. I’m not the audience. I’m inside, not outside.” It’s really nice.

How did you know the X-MEN?

I have to be honest, I haven’t read a lot of the comics, but of course I watched all the movies a few times. I’m a very big X-MEN fan.

Tell us about your character.

My character is Riptide. Riptide is not very popular as a villain, but in the beginning he started working with Mr. Sinister. In the movie he doesn’t have any relationship with Mr. Sinister, so it’s not like in the comic book.

He’s working with Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon. Basically, he can control the wind – he can throw gusts with his hand. But when he’s very angry, he can create a tornado around him.

It’s fun, but it’s a little bit difficult to create in real life. I have to put myself on a spinning trailer, which spins very fast. So the first fifteen minutes it’s funny, but after that it’s a bit dangerous for other people. They need to carry umbrellas, because I feel like I’m about to throw up at any second! It’s very easy to get sick.

Where is the character from?

He’s Mexican. His name is Janos Quested. Fortunately, at whatever moment when he was creating the character, that X-MEN writer decided he was Mexican. Fortunate for me, because I’m here!

Is your character angry often?

Yes, he’s very dangerous. But, you know, he comes across very respectably and he’s very polite. For me, he’s just like a tornado. When you see a tornado from afar, it’s calm. The only thing that you can see is a kind of tube. But inside, up close, it’s very dangerous.

Inside of Riptide everything is very fast and very angry. He looks like he’s under control, but in the moment that Mr. Shaw gives me the sign, I just blow it, because I’m looking forward to doing that and to showing everybody. He’s a bit egocentric and in the moment when he’s a tornado, he’s enjoying it all the time.

We all feel a little bit of pain for our gift. These guys, right now they feel a little bit embarrassed to be mutants. But I really think everyone can recognise something in this movie, because at some point in all of our lives we’ve felt a little bit estranged. Then you discover yourself, and it’s nice.

Is it nice being a villain?

Yes, because in Spain all the characters I’ve had a chance to play have been good – maybe for my face, because people tell me my face looks like a good boy’s. I’m not so sure, but directors seem to think that! It’s really nice to play a bad guy and it’s a challenge to me. It’s a great chance to be something different.

It’s a big cast, have you been enjoying working with them?

Absolutely, not only for the fact I’m doing the X-MEN, which is very rich as an experience for me, but because I’m living in London and improving my English. Even though in Spain I did several films, I have the feeling like I’m doing my first film again. And my first interview right now.

I have the feeling that everything is starting again as an actor for me, because everything is different. There are 500 people in the crew. Everything is very different, everything’s very big. Everything’s in English, which is a big detail for me! I feel very fortunate to be here.

Everyone in Spain told me, “Wow, you’re doing X-MEN, your career is going to change,” but I don’t think like that. I hope so, but I don’t want to think about the result. I just want to think about the process, because the process is very fun. And maybe the story of me doing this movie is the story I’m going to tell my grandsons, and I’m going say, “Your grandfather, 50 years ago he was in X-MEN in Hollywood,” or maybe not. But I don’t want to think about it. All I want to do is live the moment – here, now. It’s really nice.

How did you get the part?

I was in England, learning English. I had been there the first two weeks in August. My manager called and told me that I had to go to London to audition for X-MEN. It was my first audition in English and I didn’t quite believe it. But I said, “OK,” so I was here, I did the audition, and ten days later I’d forgotten completely about it, and actually I was doing a picture for a magazine in Spain and I found out I had to go straight to the airport to meet with Matthew, the director.

I said, “Who’s Matthew?” She told me, “The X-MEN director.” Two hours later I was at Pinewood, talking with Matthew. And a few months ago, my English was even more terrible than it is now. It was impossible for me to say anything. He was patient with me, and we talked for about fifteen minutes.

The casting director said, “Go home, and maybe we’ll see you next Friday.” I said, “Yes, that’d be great!” And she said, “No, you don’t understand me – you have to get your luggage and come here next Friday because you’re going to be here for four months and you’re going to play Riptide.” I couldn’t believe it!

In a couple of days I had to round up my luggage and come here. Actually, today, I was thinking about my motorcycle, my car and my home back in Spain, because I thought, “Oh, I left my motorcycle outside!” Probably I’ll go back and someone will have stolen it!

Are you going off to Georgia to do the last scene?

Yes, we go next Friday. It’s going to be funny, because every one of us is going to have our own little bit on the beach. It’s 15 pages of the script, so it’s a big scene, but it’s going to be fun.

GS Reporter: Nuge

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  1. XmenFan /

    Looking forward to see Riptide in Xmen First Class!!

  2. Darknight Still #1 /

    This guy was nothing more than eye candy for women. But he did have a cool look about him. Shaw’s henchmen went around posing and looking cool.

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