The multi-talented Cristián de la Fuente was born in Santiago, Chile. He served in the Chilean Air Force reserve prior to attending the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he pursued a degree in civil engineering. As an actor early in his career, de la Fuente appeared in several telenovelas including ECLIPSE EL AMOR ESTA DE MODA and ECLIPSE DE LA LUNA. He also had a job hosting Chile’s top-rated variety series, VENGA CONMIGO. Later, he appeared in primetime U.S. soaps UGLY BETTY, PRIVATE PRACTICE and BROTHERS & SISTERS.
The actor and host, who finished third as a contestant on DANCING WITH THE STARS in 2008, is currently starring in Televisa's AMOR BRAVIO as Daniel Diaz. The show airs weeknights at 10 p.m. ET on Univision. We Love Soaps recently caught up with de la Fuente to discuss his career and latest role in AMOR BRAVIO.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When did you get started in the acting business?
Cristián de la Fuente: I started when I was 18 in Chile. I had my first TV show there. After working in Chile for five years, I decided to go to the States and start working there and in Mexico.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Over the years you've done a number of different things, such as DANCING WITH THE STARS. What was it like going back to work on a telenovela playing a lead character? How was the pace of doing an episode a day memorizing so many lines?
Cristián de la Fuente: I started in soaps so my mind and body is trained to work long hours every day and to memorize all those scenes. For me, working in Spanish and working here in Mexico is very important. Everything that is produced her by Televisa is watched all over the world, and in the States through Univsion. Every day the Spanish market is bigger. The objective in my career is to always strive to combine both markets, to be able to work in English and Spanish at the same time. If I speak two languages, why not work in two markets?
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Very smart! How would you describe the character of Daniel in AMOR BRAVIO?
Cristián de la Fuente: Daniel, thank God, is from Chile so I don't have to worry about my accent. He's a guy whose life was almost completely happy but there was one ingredient missing. His finances weren't good with his wife in Chile. Then he gets this phone call that he's going to inherit this big farm where they raise bulls in Mexico. That day his life changed. He thought it was going to change for the better, but it changed for the worst. They tried to kill him then they sent him to jail. He needs to start a journey in order to redeem himself, to find everyone that wants to harm him. What's suppose to be a blessing became a curse.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: That's a great soap opera story.
Cristián de la Fuente: But you know what, as I read the newspapers I realize that reality is going to be more dramatic than fiction. Things we see everyday on the news and in the newspapers are nothing compared to things that happen here on the soap. Soaps are always going to be less than reality. Sometimes people think, "Oh my God, that story that came from the soap...," but life sometimes is even harder.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: There's a website, News of the Weird, that posts these crazy stories from real life.
Cristián de la Fuente: Mark Twain said, "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible." That's it.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Our readers always like to know how a show is shot behind the scenes. Do you film one episode per day? And how far in advance do you shoot before an episode airs?
Cristián de la Fuente: It depends on if we are shooting on location or the set. The set is always going to be faster than on location. We shoot almost one episode a day. There's some days that we shoot less and some days we shoot more. We would like to be three weeks or a month away from the air, but we're about two weeks away from air so there's no time to call in sick or miss work.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You've worked on novelas in different countries. Is there any difference in shooting in Chile versus Mexico or Miami?
Cristián de la Fuente: Mexico is the king of the soaps. Televisa is the network that produces the most soaps worldwide and they know how to do it. I worked in Spanish and English in both Chile and Miami, but in Mexico they know what they are doing. They have been the kings of this business for many years. It's a pleasure for me to learn from them.
This is my third time working for Televisa. I came here four or five years ago to do a special appearance in a soap for a month (FUEGO EN LA SANGRE). Then I did a soap three years ago (CORAZON SALVAJE). Almost every two years I'm here.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You've acted in novelas and hosted TV shows, do you enjoy one better than the other?
Cristián de la Fuente: I don't like to limit myself. I like to do everything I can when it's possible. Every format that I've worked in is different. You can take time to do a movie, and put in a lot of effort and dedication. You shoot a move in a month or three months, depending on if it's a studio or independent, but people have to go to the movies to see you. When you do a series, they watch you once a week for 22 episodes When you do a soap, you're in everybody's living room or bedroom every day. The closeness you achieve when you do a soap is unique especially here in Mexico.
I've seen it with the reaction of the people when they call you on the street and say your character name and they know your life. They live the story while you're living it. It's completely different when you do it in this format. That proximity you have with people, when you're with them nine months every day, only happens in a soap.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You've produced some things as well. Do you want to do more behind the scenes work?
Cristián de la Fuente: I've produced movies, TV shows and a soap. Every place I go I try to learn because everything I do as a actor, and see as an actor, I can use as a producer. The beauty about this business is that it's a never-ending learning experience. You can always do a scene again and again and make it better. Or different at least.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How is the character of Daniel on AMOR BRAVIO different from some of the characters you've played in the past?
Cristián de la Fuente: The things that happen to Daniel have never happened to any other character I've done. He's going to move his family, be betrayed, be sent to jail, and move to another country. His journey and everything that happens to him is very extreme. Besides the love story that is behind every soap, there's a lot of drama, affection and intrigue, and many ingredients that make this show very attractive. That makes my character also very multi-dimensional. He's not flat, he's not boring or a guy who is just nice or the leading guy. He's a guy that goes through a lot of things.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: If you go back to when you were 18 years old just starting out in the business and give yourself a piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself?
Cristián de la Fuente: I would tell myself to be more patient. Sometimes I would run out of patience. As an actor you want things to happen your way and at your time. But many times they happen when they need to happen, when the network or producer want them to happen. Patience is the key to being able to work in the business.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.