Celebrity Spotlight: Sangre Negra’s Ricardo Herranz and Antonio McKay
Tell me a bit about yourself and career.
Ricardo Herranz: My Mother is from Madrid, Spain and my Father was from Caracas, Venezuela. I have been able to travel quite a bit and have lived in many countries. This has enabled me to see and experience life from many different perspectives which in turn becomes very useful for an actor.
I started my acting career in Venezuela working for the main TV network which was, at that time, RCTV. Following that, I began to work on all the TV networks in Venezuela. Next, I worked in Europe (Spain and Italy) and then I decided to go for the biggest Spanish Network in the world (which is the 2nd largest TV network in the world) Televisa- located in Mexico. My next step was to go to an even bigger market, in fact the most important market in the world…USA! Even though I have worked bi-coastally, my home base has been Los Angeles. Once here, I’ve been blessed to work in the crossover markets (English and Spanish) on the networks such as NBC, Warner Bros, Netflix, Direct TV, Univision and Telemundo, among others here in the U.S.
Antonio McKay: I was born in Chicago, Illinois to Jamaican and Hispanic parents. I attended high school in Jamaica and then graduated College with honors from Columbia with a BA in Theatre Arts. I then moved to Los Angeles and, as a very young actor, I began booking guest star roles in such prime time staples as “The A-Team”, “Trapper John, M.D.”, and “Clueless”. In the early 90s, I booked the leading romantic role in a feature film called “The Perfect Model”. After that, I moved to Toronto, Canada where I guest starred in many of their popular series like “Top Cops”, “Counterstrike” and” Catwalk”, to name a few. I also starred in a lavish theatrical production of” Dracula playing the title role. I returned to the U.S. in 2000 and decided to take control of my career by writing, producing and starring in my own projects.
How would you describe Sangre Negra?
Ricardo Herranz: “Sangre Negra” is a solely independently financed production which has enabled us to not only completely control the narrative and development of the plot, but also to apply one of the most successful formulas in the entertainment industry- that being the one used in the “Fast and Furious” productions. The secret of this formula lies in having many protagonists representing multiple ethnicities and all of them equally important to the plot. In “Sangre Negra”, we apply a very similar technique adapted to the TV series format, in which the importance of the plot is distributed between a brilliant, multi-ethnic cast giving representation and importance to all demographics.
I would say that “Sangre Negra” combines the interpersonal family drama of “Dallas” and its battles between good (Bobby) and evil (JR) with the organized crime and mafia connections of “The Sopranos”. Now, add to this explosive mix the Latin flavor Telenovela style and the result becomes quite interesting!
Antonio McKay: “Sangre Negra” is the cross-generational saga of the wealthy Santos Family specifically focused on the Patriarch, Guillermo Santos portrayed by Erik Estrada, and his three adult sons. Guillermo Jr. is a slick, criminal defense attorney portrayed by Ricardo Herranz; the youngest brother, Christian Santos, played by Danny Arroyo, is a decorated police detective; and the illegitimate son, Ricky Santos AKA “Pretty Ricky”, is my role. Ricky is a rising star in the criminal underworld. His gangster involvement infuriates his famously “law and order” family and these conflicts are basically the backbone of the show.
What attracted you to the role?
Ricardo Herranz: As an actor, it is very interesting to portray a character that lives within a very peculiar existential parameter. In the case of the role of Guillermo Santos Jr., I found it intriguing to represent a character that, based on his family background and profession, must always keep the balance between good and evil, the two forces present in his family and work.
Antonio McKay: This is the type of role I’ve always been drawn too-playing the rascal and cad who is so charming that the audience likes him even though he does despicable things and gets away with them. Ricky uses his brain and his charisma to get what he wants; he rarely reverts to violence but he will if he has too.
In what ways do you relate to your character?
Ricardo Herranz: Guillermo Santos Jr. is very analytical, determined and passionate about work, family and life. In many ways I share those qualities with the character I represent.
Antonio McKay: I love his confidence in himself and “Joie de Vivre” about life. Ricky comes out of every situation with his sense of humor intact.
What was it like working with such a great cast?
Ricardo Herranz: The experience of working with such a great cast is always connected to the level of chemistry and professionalism.
It was a very pleasant experience to work with such well known and experienced actors such as Eric Estrada and Eric Roberts as well as the great actors (Antonio McKay and Danny Arroyo) who portray my brothers.
Antonio McKay: The cast was- and is- great to work with. There is tremendous chemistry between the three brothers as well as with the leading lady, played by Arriana Gomez. They are all excellent actors as well as great people which made filming scenes with them a pleasure
What were some challenges of playing the role?
Ricardo Herranz: One of the main challenges, was to play a role whose morality was frequently neutral and often gray trying to maintain integrity and a healthy state of balance.
The other important challenge was to develop the perfect timing of interaction between the characters to create the perfect chemistry among the threebrothers…..that is the secret sauce of the “Hot Mix”!
Antonio McKay: The biggest challenge of this role to me was pulling off some of Ricky’s dastardly deeds with enough charm, grace and humor to keep the audience on my side.
What are some of your favorite memories from working on set?
Ricardo Herranz: One of my favorite memories is the incredible “at ease sensation” that I got working with people that I know very well personally and professionally.
A memory that I will always treasure, is the fact that my real daughter Francesca worked in Sangre Negra when she was only 5 years old.
Antonio McKay: My favorite memory is working with one of my early TV idols, Erik Estrada, and having him actually portray my Dad. Now that is memorable!
What else are you working on?
Ricardo Herranz: I just finished working on a movie called “Burn Rider”. The movie was shot in gorgeous Kanab, Utah and focuses on the social injustice permanently surrounding Native American Tribes. The story in this film all happens in one day in the life of a Mexican/Native American girl and a very unexpected travel companion.
Antonio McKay: I am currently working on writing the scripts for Season 2 of “Sangre Negra” as well as revising the script for a film that was started but never completed years ago called “4bidden”. I’m also writing and developing a script called “The Privateer” a good, old-fashioned pirate swashbuckler and “The Count of Capistrano” which is an update on the “Zorro” legend. I am also collaborating on a script called “Quest for the Eye of Ra”- a story in the vein of “Romancing the Stone” and, finally, I am also working on an urban script called “The Platinum Queen”.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
Ricardo Herranz: Believe it or not, even though I was born in Venezuela exactly 20 minutes away from the Caribbean, I absolutely love and prefer winter, including lots of snow and extremely cold weather. I would describe myself as an Eskimo reincarnated in a tropical body; incredible dichotomy.
Antonio McKay: I’m a huge James Bond fan-both the books as well as the films!
What are you watching on TV these days?
Ricardo Herranz: Of course after watching all four current episodes of “Sangre Negra”, I’ve been also watching “Invisible City” (great Brazilian Production) and “Tribes of Europa” (great European/German Production). Because I have such an international background in my own career, I love projects from overseas.
Antonio McKay: Along with our series on Tubi, of course, I am a big fan of “Bridgerton” on Netflix.
Anything else you want to share?
Ricardo Herranz: Only to express my gratitude to Sammi Turano for making possible the most incredible connection between her followers and this brief introduction to my professional world!!
Antonio McKay: Keep watching” Sangre Negra…Black Blood” on TUBI! More episodes will be released soon as well as information on additional platforms where the show can be seen. Also, much gratitude to Sammi for helping get the word out about us and our unique series.