Hey, friends. The Black Demon, starring Josh Lucas, Fernanda Urrejola, and Julio Cesar Cedillo, is currently showing exclusively in theaters. The movie merges the evils of corporate greed with the Mexican legend of a demon (or god, depending on your perspective) in the form of a massive black shark cursing those living around the Baja peninsula.
I donned my cool Sharknado-styled earrings to hop on a quick zoom chat with Josh Lucas. Check it out!
When did you first hear about the black demon legend, and what do you think about that?
“Well, I actually spent a little bit of time down in Baja. I love that part of the world. One of the most amazing trips I ever took was a sea-kayaking trip with my family, where we went all the way down Baja, and we would pull the boats over and camp. I had one of the most beautiful experiences in nature. My brother and I were out in a double kayak, and all of a sudden, the water around us, it felt like it started to explode. What was happening was these giant sea rays were shooting out of the water like dolphins, but there were like thousands of them; they were almost as big as the kayaks. I mean, they were huge, eight, ten feet wide. So, I knew that part of the world, and I’d seen a Shark Week thing about how there was this legend of the black demon, so I was struck by it. The idea of taking that true legend that has haunted the fisherman down in Baja for so many years and then adding, in a way, the American corporate bad guy and the American oil industry destroying nature, I thought it was a very cool way to tell a shark movie.”
Speaking of your character, I recently read Trevor Noah’s book, “Born a Crime,” which is a great book. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend, but he talks about language being one of the ways, more than anything else, that connects people to each other. He talks about the power of talking to people in their native language. It struck me with Paul, your character. He is married to a woman who speaks Spanish, and his kids are learning Spanish, and I feel like on one hand he knows some Spanish, but he doesn’t seem to want to try at all to speak Spanish to anybody locally in Baja. Was that part of the character development? It came across as condescending to me that he didn’t even try to make an effort.
“I think that’s absolutely part of the message of the character. This guy, he’s come down to take advantage. His company has come down to take advantage, and he himself whether through laziness or whatever it is, has decided to go along with this destruction of nature. The unfortunate fact is that there are a lot of those companies, and there’s a lot of those true experiences. I’ve traveled a lot in Mexico, and I don’t speak Spanish well, but I sure as hell try to, you know what I mean? I’m struck how often Americans, when I travel all over the world with them, they won’t even try. It’s like English is the only language that they think should exist in every country, and I find that a very disrespectful, but a very unfortunately common thing I see in American travelers. You know it’s weird. Interestingly enough, my ex-wife is Colombian, and her family does not ever speak Spanish when they’re in America, because they wanted to learn English. They were so adamant about not speaking Spanish in America, and I was like “What?! Speak Spanish so my son can learn Spanish.” It’s a really interesting cultural thing that happens.”
Do you think that Paul thinks he’s a bad guy or a good guy?
“I think, what I liked about the character is I don’t think he thinks about it until it hits him. When it hits him, I think he’s so horrified by what he’s done and the guilt of putting your family in that kind of jeopardy or danger. But then on a bigger level, I think he realizes that he has put that whole community in jeopardy. I think that he’s a guy who, like a lot of people when they’re in a corporate world, they just do what they’re told because they’ve got to make a living and pay the bills. I think it’s a very common thing that we as human beings do to justify our job. As a man, I think it’s easy to dismiss that responsibility [until] it hits you, and I do think in life it’s gonna hit you. That’s the thing about life; life has karma, and that’s why this whole story happens.”
If you want to see some cinematic karma, The Black Demon is now in theaters. Check out the trailer!