CHANGING FACES: Gabriel Porras is cast as bad ass El Gato Fierros in Telemundos new telenovela, The Queen of the South.

Mexican-born actor Gabriel Porras is still getting his head around |how his relationship with co-star Kate Del Castillo, the protagonist in Telemundo’s The Queen of the South, has shifted from them being lovers in the movie Under the Same Moon, to him being cast as her rapist in the telenovela, writes Debashine Thangevelo.


WHEN you are akin to a ping-pong ball in the thriving telenovela industry, versatility is crucial. Gabriel Porras under-stands this fundamentality in his cutthroat profession.

It also explains his ever-expanding resumé, with a firm foothold in the movie sector too.

This time, the spotlight is on his role as El Gato Fierros in The Queen of the South.

Tonight got to chat to Porras last week, to find out more about his character, who is yet to appear on our screens (he appears several episodes into the telenovela, which started this month).

He says, “We (referring to Castillo) made a movie, Under the Same Moon, in 2006. It was a very successful movie. It won a Special Achievement Award at the American Latino Media Arts Award.

“It was a very good experience. In the movie, I was in love with her. In this telenovela, I have to rape her. It is a very tough story and it was difficult doing the scene because it is very delicate. I used a knife to slit her underwear – it is very risqué.”

Porras continues, “My character is a thug. He is an assassin, who is paid to kill Teresa Mendoza Chavez. But before he kills her, he thinks she is very beautiful and so he decides to have a bit of fun first.”

But Teresa is no porcelain doll. She is one tough cookie who climbed the cartel ranks due to circumstance. Her influence and knowledge then puts her in grave danger.

In The Queen of the South, she manages to flee from the violent clutches of El.

The 46-year-old actor recalls their cat-and-mouse chase. “She shot me in the face and escaped. I had to chase her around the world with a bullet (lodged) in my face.”

Impressed with the location shoots in Columbia, Mexico and Spain, he admits, “To have the opportunity to do something that you never did, is great. I have never been to Spain.

“I enjoyed meeting the international cast and learning from them. They are so talented.”

Touching on the cartel story-line mirroring the reality of his home country, he comments, “There is a war in my country.

“These kinds of stories help some people understand the problem.

“But, in other cases, people get confused and start praising the bad guys. We had to be very careful when telling these kinds of stories.”

On what his fans will make of his character, he laughs, “They love the fact that I can perform different roles.

“Before this, I played a rich and very good guy. This is one of the important things for me – to be able to change myself to someone who isn’t easily recognisable. It is a huge compliment for me when I do.”

After The Queen of the South, Porras redeemed himself in The Lord of the Skies.

“It is also about a drug dealer. I play the good guy – the cop. It was good to be on the right side of the law this time,” he smiles.

And so the role hopping continues for a multitalented Porras!


• The Queen of the South airs on Telemundo (DStv channel 118) on weekdays at 9.20pm.