Sebastian Chacon Is About to Rule Your TV Screen
The actor opens up to People CHICA about his in Showtime's new series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.
Sebastian Chacon is shining on the small screen. The actor plays Fly Rico in Showtime's new series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, a spinoff of the original Penny Dreadful. "A lot of my tattoos are referenced in the show," says Chacon. "Fly Rico wears his big zoot suits. He has a very aggressive outward presentation that I definitely connect to. For [inspiration], I listen to this poem called 'El Luis' by José Montaya about a pachuco type who burns bright and sort of disappears. In the poem, he is a folk hero and everyone loves him."
Chacon is thrilled to represent pachuco culture without negative stereotypes. "As a Latino actor, a lot of the parts that I've played are the typical drug dealer, parts that don't have any humanity," he says. "It was great to see that this is a period piece that takes place in the '30s, and it's about how Latinos are such a big part of the history of the United States, especially in L.A. ... There are still people today that still deeply identify with pachuco culture. It's such an important thing, and to carry that and be the representative of that culture in the show was an honor. Rico isn't a petty criminal, he is not aggressive — he is a thinking man, he has a very regal presence, and that's what attracted me to the character."
He also plays fun-loving drummer Warren Rhodes in Amazon's upcoming musical drama Daisy Jones & the Six, based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Although filming of the series — based on the rise and fall of a '70s rock band — got pushed back due to the pandemic, Chacon is happy to have more time to prepare for the role. "I play a drummer so I've been really diving into the practice, I've being doing a lot of research," he says. "The whole cast has done a band camp. For me it's not an option to pretend that I'm a good musician. I have to really get there, and it takes a lot of practice and dedication to really be comfortable with the instrument and be able to communicate with it as second nature. It's like learning a new language."
Chacon — who also has credits in Tales of the City, Chicago Fire, and Narcos — says he enjoys being tricultural. "My father is Colombian and my mother is Ecuadorian, and I was born in New York City. More than anything, I've identified with being a neoyorquino. My parents met learning English in Times Square," he says. "I'm a mix of my parents' culture and New York, which gives you this consciousness of other cultures outside of your own."
The lover of photography, art, music, and dance is spending his time in quarantine in Los Angeles and looks forward to visiting his family in Brooklyn once travel starts to normalize. "It's been difficult not to be able to surround myself and constantly consume various art forms and to be in that art community that I miss in New York. When I'm not in New York a part of me is missing — I feel like I lose my power," he jokes.
He fell in love with acting as a child. "When I was a kid I would read a lot. I wasn't socially comfortable and I was obsessed with storytelling. That brought me to film and theater," says the graduate of NYU's acting program, who is thrilled about the recent boom of Latinx-centered shows. "In my first gigs it was really one-dimensional roles. You would see a lot of petty criminals or lovable stoner types and it's amazing how far we've come. You see shows that are embracing the complexity of the Latino community. Now I'm not just 'the Latin guy' anymore. It's such an exciting time."