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He may not yet be a household name here in the United States, but it’s just a matter of time before this Argentinian ass-kicker establishes his place among today’s top action stars. With a huge Latin America following already in place, Hector Echavarria has taken his talents to Hollywood to showcase his martial arts and acting skills to the rest of the world.
Echavarria’s plan to capture the U.S. and world markets began with a series of well received action films, which included Death Warrior, Unrivaled, and Confessions of a Pit Fighter. And with his just released, multi-city rollout, Chavez: Cage of Glory, the multi-talented, (onscreen) tough guy will be making his biggest showbiz splash to date. In this highly anticipated film, Echavarria not only shines on camera, but behind it too as writer, director and executive producer.
We got in a few minutes between rounds of Echavarria’s busy schedule to get a little more info on the man who is up for any challenge.
M&F: Clearly martial arts has been influential to your overall success. What got you started with the sport?
Hector Echavarria’s: I was very sick as a young child with severe asthma, so my family tried to find a way for me to improve my respiratory capacity. Turns out the doctor treating me was a Kung Fu Master who introduced me to martial arts’ exercises that helped with my breathing. It was a great way for me to escape the pain and discomfort. By the time I was 14 I used my skills in street fights for money. A cop told me that I can keep doing what I’m doing and end up in jail or I can try this sport called kickboxing. I was hooked, and started competing all over the world – eventually becoming a martial arts champion.
M&F: How did you make the transformation from the ring to the screen?
HE: When I was fighting in Miami many years ago the director of Miami Vice at the time noticed me and wrote a part for me in the show’s first episode. The recognition from that program led to some big commercials, including one in Argentina where I am from. I ended up staying there doing a few movies along with the number one TV show for 7 years called Brigada Cola, based on the three-film series Los Exterminators. It was an action/comedy that was so popular I had my own action figure and comic book. Then by the year 2000 I decided to come back and work in the states.
M&F: Many are calling you the Tyler Perry of the Latino Action Market. What’s that all about?
HE: I went through many parts of having to be the drug dealer or pimp, because those were the roles offered to Latino actors. I wanted to put Latinos in a more positive light, so I decided to take it upon myself and produce my own films where Latinos have the opportunity to portray more positive, good guy roles. So far I’ve done about 8 features.
M&F: Your newest movie Chavez: Cage of Glory is getting a lot of good buzz. Tell us a little about it.
HE: It’s the story of an MMA fighter that lives in Los Angeles, whose family is going through financial hardship. When the father finds out his son needs a heart operation, there’s only one way for him to get enough money – get in the cage and fight for the MMA championship. While there’s plenty of fighting action, the message I want people to take away from this film is to never quit no matter how tough things get. if you never give up you will achieve your goals. Life is just hard work and dedication.
M&F: As someone whose motor is always running, we’re guessing you already have something in the works. What is it?
HE: My next project is a horror/action movie called Hell’s Dead.
M&F: Aside from the pure pleasure of kicking bad guy and zombie ass, what is it you ultimately want to accomplish with your films?
HE: I really want to infuse a great message in each of my films that inspires people to do their best. If I can inspire others to follow their dream, do their best, and never give up then I’ll be the happiest human in the world.