A second generation Cuban-American from Bowling Green, Ohio, Anthony De La Torre is an actor and the frontman of self-titled rock band DE LA TORRE. His breakout role came in the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” installment where he plays young Jack Sparrow. Following up his critically-acclaimed, pirate performance, De La Torre will also be starring in the title role of Johnny Gruesome later this year.
— — —
Sean Ritchie: Coming from Bowling Green, Ohio talk about that city, as well as the states as a whole, a little bit. What would you suggest a first-time visitor see or do in the area?
Anthony De La Torre: Bowling Green is a great little town that’s divided into two halves. You have the Bowling Green State University campus, which has grown a lot, and everything else. It’s actually why my parents moved to Ohio, because my dad wanted to study psychology. They have a lot of great courses there and a great music department. It’s my favorite place to go, because my family still lives there. I just love it; it’s quiet.
Anyone that’s coming has to go to Cedar Point, in Sandusky, OH. It’s where it’s at! We would go there every summer. It has the second highest roller coaster in the United States, the Top Thrill Dragster. It’s crazy, and only a 12-second ride — straight up like 500 feet and straight down. It’s awesome. You’ve got Cleveland and Cincinnati too, but I would definitely say Cedar Point. Anybody that’s coming to Ohio I always tell them to go there.
SR: I’m all about roller coasters too, so that sounds sick. So, to bring it back, how did you first get exposed to both acting and music? How did you decide that you wanted to pursue both as a career?
ADLT: I grew up in a very musical family. My grandfather would always sing at all of our parties. His father was an opera singer that traveled through Europe. My uncle was a singer and my bother is a way better singer than I am — he’s amazing. I just grew up with music always. The acting portion too. My grandfather also loved acting and his father was also in plays. The idea of being an entertainer was always surrounding me. I became completely obsessed with Jim Carey in the fourth grade in the most unhealthy way. I would watch “Ace Venture” every, single night before I’d go to bed. I’d watch Johnny Depp repeatedly, as well. Those were my two idols growing up. Both of them made me want to get into acting.
SR: That ties into my next question. I’m going to come back to your music in a second, but you were just in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”. Talk about the experience of getting the role and playing alongside Depp, your idol.
ADLT: Oh man! It was so interesting, it came at such a wonderful time in my life, because I was pretty down and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure what my next step should be in life or really had a direction. Then, I got this audition and it was just like a light switch inside of me. The moment I set foot in the audition I immediately knew that I had to get this. I was ready to do whatever I had to do to get this role.
I watched all four movies [to that point] three times before I went into the audition, not that I needed to, because I had already seen them enough growing up. It was just a really interesting opportunity, and a really cool catalyst in my life to push me forward to do things that I actually wanted to do. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. The possibility of playing the young Jack Sparrow was insane to me.
Then, when I got it and got to go to Vancouver, which by the way is beautiful and they have all these bridges there that are gorgeous, to work on it with Johnny it was just so cool. People say, “Oh you never want to meet your idols, because then you’re disappointed.” But, he was not disappointing in the slightest. He’s so funny, just a really, really cool guy. It was a really positive experience.
SR: That’s awesome to hear. To follow up on that, what was it like playing a younger version of a role that’s been established for over a decade by such a talented actor? Was it a challenge to play that part and to get his mannerisms down? Also, did Depp help you and give you tips or direction on set?
ADLT: I would say that it was really nerve-racking. It’s this amazing, beloved character and obviously it’s Johnny Depp, so it’s genius. I didn’t want to screw it up. I didn’t want him to be like, “Who is this joker? He sucks.” I wanted him to be happy with my performance. It was scary, but it was great. It went as well as it could have possibly gone. I’m super grateful for that.
It was an interesting experience, because we both were dressed up the exact same. I would watch him do a bit and then we would switch places, imitating everything that he did. He would watch me, which was even scarier. Having Johnny Depp watch you play Jack Sparrow is an interesting experience. I was terrified, but really having the time of my life. He really gave me such great feedback. He was so cool about it.
SR: That’s absolutely unreal. It’s great to hear though that he’s a genuinely nice guy. I want to hear more about your experience in Vancouver. How long were you there for, and how was it up there?
ADLT: Super chill! I was up there for about six weeks. What’s cool is that it was my first acting gig, and that was where Johnny shot 21 Jump Street, so it was a really cool connection, because that was really his first big thing. He lived there for like three years shooting that. He really loves that city.
The thing that I really loved was driving over the Lions Gate Bridge every, single day. It was just beautiful. We shot in the shipyard that was just massive. They built these incredible sets that they had spent months and months on. We would shoot on them for one day and they’d tear them down. I’m standing there like, “No! Put it in a museum or something.” They really were just gorgeous sets.
SR: That’s crazy. Now, to switch gears to your music, talk about what’s going on with your band De La Torre. I had chance to listen to your music and I’m really digging it.
ADLT: Thank you! I really appreciate that. We’re going to try and hop on a tour at the beginning of next year. That’s what we’re aiming for. We have a whole record done right now, we’re just doing the final touches on it. It’s been an incredible process. We started making this record like three years ago, so it’s been quite the journey. I’m just working with immensely talented people and it’s awesome. It’s been a really cool learning experience. I’m just so excited for everyone to hear it.
We just released a song called “Paradise” with a music video of live footage from our performance opening for Bon Jovi in San Diego at the Viejas Arena back in March. That was incredible. Jon Bon Jovi was really, really nice. He made us all feel really comfortable. We just rocked out. It was our first time performing in an arena. The energy from a huge crowd like that is unreal. There’s really nothing like that.
SR: That’s insane to star alongside Depp and open up for Bon Jovi! Those are two-huge-life checkmarks.
ADLT: I know right! It’s like, “What the heck!” I’m just a small-town dude. It just comes down to showing up. Things happen when you show up.
SR: Really amazing to hear! On a broader travel level, when you do have some downtime and are looking for a vacation, are you searching for a beach somewhere, up in the mountains or in a city? What are your preferences?
ADLT: I love hiking and being near water. A lot of my family lives in Miami, Florida, and we’d go every, single summer to spend time with them. My uncle and aunt have a boat, so we’d always go boating and be out on the water. It’s something that I’ve always loved. I try to go to beaches as much as I can.
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, everyone has a list of places they haven’t been to, but still want to hit. What are three on your list?
ADLT: I think Australia, because I think Australians are so cool and it’s just a beautiful place. I’m really down to see some kangaroos in action. Growing up I always wanted to go to Cuba, for some reason I felt like I would never get the chance to, but I ended up going when I was 18. It was just so beautiful. It was just absolutely gorgeous. It’s a beautiful country and island. That was on the bucket list and I got to go, so I’m really happy about that. The third place I’d love to go to is France. I took French in high school and I learned a bit the country. I just think it’s just a sexy, beautiful place with so much history. It’s a place that I’m really interested in going to.