Former “Sesame Street“ Actor Ismael Cruz Córdova on Life After the Show
Ismael Cruz Córdova: Technically, puppets. Actors rely on eye contact to connect with their scene partners. On Sesame Street, all I had to look at were Googly—eyed monsters! Then again, humans are so emotionally complex. Puppets never have bad days.
O: So performing on Sesame Street was sometimes tougher than the gritty work you've done on Ray Donovan?
ICC: Definitely! I'm naturally a more subdued person. Casting directors have even called me Benicio Del Toro Jr. because I gravitate toward darker characters. With Mando, I really had to practice his bright—eyed persona. And then he hung on to me! The first job I auditioned for after Sesame Street was to play this damaged guy, and the folks asked me to "unbubble" myself.
O: And now you're in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a war movie that's about as far from big yellow birds and alphabet songs as you can get. What was it like working with Oscar-winning director Ang Lee?
ICC: A dream come true. He's a man of few words, but there's a lot of trust. I mean, Ang Lee is a genius!
O: So has your life done a total one-eighty since Sesame Street?
ICC: I definitely feel like I've grown up. And I do get approached on the street a lot more—but my mother is still my number one fan.