MIAMI – Andres Parra, who played drug trafficker Pablo Escobar in “Escobar, el Patron del Mal,” is back on Amazon Prime Video with a new series about a FIFA scam that tells a story about the dirty business of sports.
The actor became an international phenomenon with the portrayal of the character of the chief of the powerful and organized Colombian drug cartel in the city of Medellin.
He later surprised with “El Comandante,” playing Hugo Chavez, and now comes back with “El Presidente” about the 2015 corruption scandal that rocked the sports-world with an explosive revelation of corruption in the sport’s governing body, FIFA.
Parra plays Sergio Jadue, the lead for “El Presidente,” that seemed “fascinating” to him along with the story of the series, which premiered on Friday on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.
“Playing characters based on real people is what I like the most. Complex people, which can be built and their experiences in exceptional situations can be explored,” Parra told EFE in a video call from his home in Bogota, where he has been confined for weeks along with his family.
“(Jadue’s) story of being a mediocre executive in a second division soccer club in Chile to becoming vice president of the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) and the corruption that surrounded his time is incredible,” Parra said.
He, however, said none of it caught his attention initially.
“El Presidente” is an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Argentine Armando Bo, who won the Oscar in 2014 with filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu for writing the “Birdman” feature film.
“He has exceptional intelligence,” Parra said about Bo, also the head screenwriter.
The Colombian actor also spoke about the work of his co-stars in the series, including Mexican actresses Paulina Gaitan, who plays Jadue’s wife, and Karla Souza, playing the FBI agent who uncovered the bribery worth $150 million in 2015.
“It was a very satisfying experience from the moment I knew I got the character. From studying the case, working with the accent coach to get the Chilean accent, to the shootings,” said Parra, who spent several months in Chile, Argentina, and other places during the production of “El Presidente.”
Parra, 42, is experiencing a great personal and professional phase.
He has two children, the elder one, Sebastian, is from his previous relationship and one-year-old Samuel with his wife Diana Caliz.
He confessed that he is “obsessed with being an involved and committed father, with a healthy life.”
His other passion is cycling, which helped him lose more than 40 kilograms and control his food addiction.
Parra has his disappointments too, caused by an unfulfilled desire of portraying Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. “I did not get the role,” he quipped.
He currently does not have any other project, although his dream is to continue portraying historical figures.
“Playing a role that is one hundred percent fiction gives me a horrible panic. I hate them. I don’t know where to begin, how to get hold of them, I find it very difficult,” he said.
“When someone is from real life, I already have a system. I look for the books, I find out everything, even his zodiac sign. But when it comes to someone created, I can spend hours on Facebook without gaining anything.”
The performance of “El Presidente” does not worry him, as “it is a great product, which not only reflects the ridiculous aspect of what happened, but it’s also done with our perspective, mocking us slightly while celebrating Latin American.”