Actor Jon Seda talks to People CHICA about his unforgettable roles in the films I Like It Like That and Selena, and dishes on working with fierce women like Jennifer Lopez and Rita Moreno.

By Lena Hansen
October 29, 2019 05:46 PM

It's been 25 years since the release of the comedy I Like It Like That, the beloved story of a Latinx family living in the Bronx. Jon Seda, who played one of its main characters, talked to People CHICA about the 1994 film, also starring Lauren Velez, Rita Moreno and salsa crooner Jerry Rivera. "I play Chino, the fun-loving, loco husband to Lisette. He's a guy from the Bronx, a real Nuyorican. He loves his family and he's trying to be the best father and husband that he can be but he is still dealing with a lot of stuff from his past, with machismo. He's having a tough time but deep down he really is someone who cares about his family and loves his wife."

Seda, also born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, says he has debunked the myth of the machista Latinx man, who walks around with "that sense of, ‘I'm the man of the house' so I need to be worshipped." "I was never like that," he says. "I wasn't raised like that. My father was very loving. He found the right balance." Like his character, the actor is a family man. "I love my family to death and I try every day to be the best father and husband that I can be. I'm no chef, but I cook every now and then," he says. "I can make some rice and beans, some pasta. I take care of the kids."

One special treat about I Like It Like That was working with Rita Moreno. "That was amazing. I learned so much from Rita. She is so graceful, so humble. She is a legend and she treats everyone with kindness and openness. I'll put my dad on the spot!" he adds with a laugh. "Growing up he had a rather seductive poster of her in his room. When I told him I was working with her, he completely lost it."

Seda also enjoyed playing musician Chris Perez, Selena Quintanilla's widower in the iconic film Selena, which starred Jennifer Lopez as the late Queen of Tex-Mex. "That was such an experience. It was my first time portraying someone real, that I actually got to hang out with," he says of Perez, who he is still friends with. "I thought, ‘This is a great opportunity as an actor.' I wanted to portray the love he and Selena shared together. I had to work backwards because when I met Chris he was at his worst. I had to play it back to see what was taken away from him that caused him to be this way. I quickly realized, ‘This is bigger than a great acting job.' It's been a part of my life and my heart forever. Chris is an amazing person and talent and Selena knew that. It's unfortunate that a movie had to be made about her because she was no longer here. Her legacy continues to grow and I'm so fortunate to have been a part of it."

Would he like to work with J.Lo again? "Absolutely! I'm surprised we haven't worked together since," he says. "I love Jennifer. I think she is amazing. She did an amazing job in the movie Selena. We had a really good time working on that. She has been so incredible. So of course if an opportunity came I would love to work with her again."

Seda is grateful that new doors are opening for Latinx actors. "Things have gotten better, there are more opportunities with the streaming services. It's not just cable, film and theater," he reflects. "There are so many different opportunities to showcase talent that the door has become more open. More producers are looking to create different content, but it still needs to be open so much more. Latinos are so mixed and diverse that Hollywood needs to take off the blinders and look deeper and wider. That is starting to happen."

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