“There is more Portuguese influence in this film than anything that has been done in the modern history of blockbusters”, said the actor in an interview with Lusa.
The Universal Pictures mega-production features Daniela Melchior, Joaquim de Almeida (in 'flashback') and Luis Da Silva Jr. in the cast, and was also partially filmed in Portugal.
“The fact that this ‘Fast and Furious’ has so much Portuguese influence is important for our heritage, for our culture. It will broaden the horizons”, said the actor.
“People associate Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, but there are many other things going on. I am very excited,” he said.
In the new film directed by Louis Leterrier, Luis Da Silva Jr. returns to play the character Diogo, who the public met in “Velocidade Furiosa 5”.
His character Diogo is Brazilian and the action of “Fast and Furious X” takes place in Rio de Janeiro, which led many to associate him with Brazil. “I like Brazilians, but I am Portuguese and I insist on saying so”, he said.
The actor is the son of an emigrant from the village of Parada de Gonta, in Tondela, in the district of Viseu, and was born into the Portuguese community of Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is fluent in Portuguese and says he is a “strong supporter” of Sporting Clube de Portugal.
In his twenty-year career, the actor has played roles of different nationalities, but he has never played a Portuguese person. “I would love to make a film in Portugal and play a Portuguese character. It would be challenging and interesting,” he said.
Luis Da Silva Jr. explained that involvement in the Portuguese community and cultural heritage had an influence on his career, which unfolded between basketball and cinema.
“I grew up among Portuguese-Americans, who came to this country looking for a better life,” he described. “It's a blue-collar community that hangs its head, does the best it can and is ambitious for success. Nothing was given to us for free.”
Da Silva became one of the best 'dribblers' of his generation, which earned him the nickname “Trikz”, and not only was he chosen by Nike for the “Freestyle” ad in 2001, he also played for the Harlem Wizards and was invited to the Harlem Globetrotters.
Planning a holiday in Portugal for June or July, Da Silva said he was interested in buying a house in the country, where he plans to live sometime in the future.
“Seeing the culture evolve is good,” he said. “Portugal is now being seen in a different light”.