Leaving a light in our hearts

Latin superstar Eduardo Verastegui is a man of many talents and after finding success in the music industry and later as a soap opera heartthrob, he broke into Hollywood alongside Sofia Vergara in the feature film Chasing Papi.

Since those early days he has continued to evolve as a creative entrepreneur and as a co-founder of his own production company Metanoia Films, which has produced movies such as the 2006 Sundance favorite and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival Bella. In 2007 The Smithsonian Museum honored Eduardo with the Legacy Award, for the film Bella in recognition of his positive contributions toward the Latin community within the United States.

More recently Eduardo produced and starred in the WWII drama Little Boy, which Eduardo describes as a love letter that captures the heart and soul of America. He can also be see in the upcoming film from Sony Pictures Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 out in April 2015.

When he is not on screen or behind the camera, Eduardo alongside his non-profit organization, Let’s Be Heroes, works globally to provide food, shelter and medical supplies to those in need. He also works with his second non-profit Manto de Guadalupe, which works to provide quality medical care to pregnant women around the world who are unable to take care of themselves.

RAINE: How did you decide to make the leap from actor to establishing your own production company?

VERASTEGUI: I didn’t plan it. At the time I was 28 years old and I met someone on a plane that invited me to audition for a film with many Latinos. I did the audition and got the part. During that time, I met my English teacher. She asked me “are you part of the problem or part of the solution”—are you involved in projects that are designed to elevate Latinos or not? Right there I made a promise that I wouldn’t do anything that would offend my family, faith or my people. For four years I had to turn down every project until I lost everything. It was a great cleansing time period for me. I realized that by creating a production company, I had the power to create the stories. We started this company with one goal—to create projects that leave people inspired, and in 2004, we released Bella and won the People’s Choice Awards.

RAINE: The film, Little Boy is an inspirational story about both faith and the enduring love between parent and child. What message would you like for creative entrepreneurs to take away from this movie?

VERASTEGUI: This is the thing - even though you may write the movie with a particular theme - for example, this movie is about “love” between father and son and how they will be divided —however I don’t like to say what the movie is about because what the audience will take away from it could be different. I do not want to put a label on it because there is so much that you can take from it. For someone, it’s about love - for someone else it’s about spending “time” with my children.

RAINE: What has been the one piece of advice that has served you best in your career?

VERASTEGUI: Stay close to your roots and to recognize that I am not called to be successful but I am called to be committed to my principals and my values and then if success come after that, then it’s a blessing. I realized it’s not the same when you compromise, especially in this career because it is very easy to be lost — at one point when I thought I had everything I had nothing. The integrity of the person is what’s most important. Your faith and integrity comes first. Do NOT compromise.

RAINE: Your production company, Metanoi is Greek for “repentance,” what significance does Metanoia have for you?

VERASTEGUI: It is turning to God—when you turn to him, you can see. How beautiful would it be that when you leave the theater that you will leave with light in your hearts? Hopefully the light will leave a kindling.