John Leguizamo Takes ‘Critical Thinking’ Into His Own Hands

Posted in Interviews, Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - September 05, 2020
John Leguizamo Takes ‘Critical Thinking’ Into His Own Hands

John Leguizamo steps behind and in front of the camera for his new inspiring film, Critical Thinking.

Emmy award winning actor John Leguizamo made his directorial debut seventeen years ago with the HBO original movie Undefeated. And now he’s back behind the camera for his first turn as a feature film director with Critical Thinking. It tells the true-life story of a group of Black and Latino high school children in the late 1990s. Specifically, it shows how they had their lives transformed by competitive chess.

In the film, Leguizamo plays Mario Martinez. He’s a high school teacher who supports and nurtures his students who dream of becoming chess champions. Martinez never gave up hope on his students and believed that he should invest on them and praise them. That’s especially true when pretty much everyone around them had failed them in one way or another.

The film takes us back to 1998. The film chronicles the tragedy and triumphs of the members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team. Members of that team include Sedrick Roundtree (Corwin C. Tuggles), Ito Paniagua (Jorge Leneborg Jr.), Rodelay Medina (Angel Bismark Curiel), Gil Luna (Will Hochman) and Marcel Martinez (Jeffry Batista). They defy the odds in their bid to become first inner-city chess team to ever win the U.S. National Chess Championship.

For more than thirty years in the business, Leguizamo has brought so many memorable characters to life. He did this on the big, small screen and on the live stage. His unique blend of comedy and drama has entertained us all at the most unexpected times. Leguizamo says his priorities have shifted over the last few years learning he could help affect more change in Hollywood. (Or as he calls it, Holly-wouldn’t). He does this by using his power and influence to showcase the talents of Black and brown actors in Hollywood. Projects like Critical Thinking help accomplish that goal.

Critical Thinking was to have had its world premiere at South by Southwest in March 2020. However, the festival cancelled many of its premieres this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now available on Video on Demand and is a must see!

Bonnie Laufer spoke with John about working on this film. She asks him about the teachers and directors who have inspired him. They also talk about why this movie coming out at a critical time.

This post was written by
Bonnie is a 25-year broadcast entertainment reporter currently on CH Morning Live and on her YouTube channel. She's heard weekly on Sirius XM as on the Ward & Al Show. She's interviewed more than 20,000 celebs, including Angelina Jolie, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey,
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