While the Tax Collector is garnering plenty of hype and controversy, the breakout star of the David Ayer directed film is undoubtedly Bobby Soto. Discovered by director Ayer in a mixed martial arts gym, Soto has officially been catapulted into stardom. His portrayal of a rising gangland underboss (whose right-hand man is Shia’s Creeper character) is the one thing critics across the spectrum have hailed about this movie. His performance has helped legitimize the diversity strategy at Netflix proving when you actually use actors from within the Latino community, audiences will be more supportive.
“The real star of The Tax Collector — the gangland “tax collector” of the film’s title — is relative newcomer Bobby Soto. Picture a youthful Che Guevara with a tidy beard, and you’ll understand what Ayer saw in the actor, who could easily go on to become a marquee name.” – Variety
On the other hand, Shia’s performance has gotten mixed reactions. Surprisingly though, many in the Latinx community welcome the actor playing a cholo – while it comes off as unclear in the film whether he is Latino or a white boy who grew up around Chicano culture and adopted its mannerisms…which is not uncommon.
According to the film’s costar Cynthia Carmona, Shia is playing a white boy who takes on a cholo disposition because of where he was raised. While Bobby puts it more bluntly: “There are people that don’t understand this lifestyle, don’t understand this Chicano community, or even this cholo energy. Cholo doesn’t necessarily mean you are brown. Anybody could be a cholo…it’s a lifestyle, it’s an energy, it’s the way you carry yourself…Shia is a great human being. A great artist…I feel like it’s a made up controversy.” Bobby isn’t the only breakout star from the series, Conejo from The Tax Collector is also getting noticed and he might have a little more in common with the characters from the movie. We’re loving that Netflix is showcasing Latino talent on their shows. If you liked the Tax Collector check out Queen’s Gambit starring a Latina and get ready for The Last of Us on HBO.
We got the entire interview for you right here on LATV’s The Zoo: