While we may all know Erik Estrada for his role in CHiPs, I also remember him from a novela I used to watch with my Abuela (who has since passed away), Dos Mujeres Un Camino. While he has also had some other roles, now you’ll find Erik Estrada as the voice of Nick “Loop’n” Lopez in Disney’s newest animation, Planes: Fire and Rescue.
As soon as he walked into the interview room, he was energetic and ready to share his life with us. He didn’t hold much back and really opened up to us sharing various stories of how he became who he is today. His laughter is infectious…It was a really fun interview!
Here’s what Erik Estrada had to say about his role, life, his start in acting…
Thoughts on doing the role of Nick “Loop’n” Lopez
It was cool. It was a lot of fun.
Thoughts on the movie
I loved the finished product. The movie is very exciting. It’s got color. I remember one distinct scene where I remember saying “awe”…it reached me. It’s fun, a lot of fun. I’m glad to be in it, it’s really cool.
Thoughts on seeing his character come to life on screen
When that came on, I was blown away…it was like a flash back and it suddenly hit me, the impact that the show had.
Have you ever worked on an animation role before?
I’ve done animation before. I did Family Guy and Maya and Miguel for PBS and then I had an adult series for 3 years…The nice things about animation is that you don’t have to shave or shower (LOL).
How he got his start in acting
I was going to be a cop all my life…but there was pretty girl at the age of 17 or 18 and I wanted to meet her and she never came out of school at 3:00, so I said “I’m going to follow her”…so I followed her after 8th period and she was going to drama club…so I said, “I grew up in Harlem, I can act”…so I auditioned and I got it and then I got bit by the acting bug. So I left that idea of becoming a cop and that freaked my mother out.
Why did that freak out your mom?
The plan was for me to become a cop, get her out of the projects and she’d become my roommate. So I made a deal with her, I told her “Let me chase this thing until I am 30 and if I can’t have you living the way I want you to live, like a reina (queen), then I’ll come back and do it”.
The first thing I did was move my mother to a Jewish neighborhood…I don’t know why, I just thought it was a good idea. She hasn’t worked in 33 years.
About his desire to be a cop
… my mother divorced my father when I was 4 and she started dating a cop later on and that’s where my love for being a cop came from.
My mom dated this cop who worked for CSI New York…I’d look through his papers and pictures (of the victims) and I thought “man, I want to catch the guy who did this”.
*When he got his role as a cop in CHiPs, it was the best of both.
On learning Spanish as an adult
I was born in Harlem Hospital and raised in Spanish Harlem. At the age of 5 I was on the street. My first job, I was selling Piraguas, then I shined shoes and because of that era (50’s & 60’s), I had to deal in English all the time…
Then the producer of Dos Mujeres Un Camino came to me and told me he wanted me for the role…a few weeks later I get the script and I couldn’t read it, it was entirely in Spanish…so I worked with a woman (who mentioned was beautiful…surprise, surprise) for 7 days straight for 3 weeks.
* For not having grown up speaking Spanish, he now uses it easily within conversation.
Advice to Kids about taking the time to learn Spanish
Get in touch with your background, it’s the key to your future. If you know where you came from and where your parents came from, you’ll have some kind of strength.
Thoughts on Internet Safety for Children
I’m actually a cop today, an investigator in Virginia. I do internet crimes against children and my goal is to have internet safety put in to every school in this country. I want to get it mandated…I’ve already got 19 schools that are going to implement our net smart program. I’m also the spokesperson for Safe Surfer Foundation.
Planes: Fire and Rescue is in theaters starting Friday, 7/18.