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.
“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.”
We got the entire interview for you right here on LATV’s The Zoo: