The “kids” from That 70s Show are an incredible success story. Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderrama were introduced on the Fox TV series in 1998. Some were so new to showbiz they gushed about being on the set and not having to pay for the food served at the craft service table. Now they command tremendous respect in the business and have become the creative forces and talent with a variety of productions.
A great young man, then and now, is Wilmer Valderrama. He was just 18 when this reporter first interviewed him. He expressed tremendous ambition, enthusiasm, and maturity about wanting to start his own production company. He did it, producing live action and animated projects (Handy Mandy). But he still likes to be in front of the cameras and this fall he has two series on the air. Wilmer stars in Minority Report for Fox TV, and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series for filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.
From Dusk Till Dawn (a horror thriller with vampires) is into its second season. Wilmer is barely recognizable as Carlos Madrigal, a crazy kick-butt character, but he said it helps his growth as a performer. “It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Valderrama explained about working with Robert Rodriguez. “He empowers an actor to do things that audiences have never seen them do. He empowers actors to dream as big as possible because in his universe there are no rules.”
Valderrama revealed that he also wants to produce for the El Rey Network. “Robert Rodriguez is officially my mentor whether he likes it or not. I learn a lot from him, and El Rey is such an exciting, new platform. We are in conversations to produce a couple of things starting with the digital platform and I’m excited to be involved with that,” Wilmer said.
There’s more excitement for Wilmer starring in Minority Report, which just launched September 21 on Fox. It is a visually stunning new drama series based on the Steven Spielberg blockbuster film. It’s an action-packed futuristic show, and Valderrama said, “This could be something that television has never seen before. I wanted to be part of it, especially now that we have the technology to really pay tribute to the narrative of this world and this universe that Steven Spielberg created with the movie.”
It’s about a man haunted by the future, and a cop, Det. Vega haunted by her past. They form a partnership to stop the future’s worst crimes before they happen. Valderrama plays a lieutenant at the precinct and is Det. Vega’s boss who has a history with her.
“I’m really blessed. The show is nothing short of epic and I play such a cool character who happens to be Latino, which is fun,” Valderrama said with pride. #