If you don’t know about Carlito Olivaro, here’s a quick primer:
▪ The brash coffee shop worker who appeared on the FOX television music reality show ‘The X Factor USA’ and proclaimed “Just watch, I’ll be the Latino Chris Brown one day.”
▪ The Chicago native who was selected for the 2007 remake of the Latin pop group Menudo, then bristled at attempts to reign in his individualism.
▪ The singer who pitched his songs to Hollywood producer Mario Van Peebles, then talked his way into a main role in one of his films despite a very limited acting résumé.
Welcome to Carlito’s way.
Believe it or not, the 28-year-old Olivero almost missed out on a key role in ‘Bad Samaritan,’ the Dean Devlin-directed thriller that opened May 4.
Having moved to Los Ángeles via New York, Olivero went in for a casting of ‘Bad Samaritan,’ one of about six castings he juggled that week.
“It was just like any other normal casting,” Olivero said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I went in. I felt like I did a good job.”
Then, he got the callback. The movie’s director, writer and producers were there.
“I did my part. I knew that I killed it,” said Olivero, who is half Mexican and half Puerto Rican. “So, when I left, I had a feeling that I would get the job.”
Less than a day later, his manager called.
These kids are basically the sh*ttiest burglars in the world. It’s not like they walk away with thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff. Most of the time when they do rob a house, they barely get away.
“Dude! You did an amazing number! They loved you,” the manager said. “Unfortunately, they gave the part to someone else.”
Olivero was shocked.
“Wait, wait, wait! So, why was I at the audition?”
The manager explained that the actor who got the part might not take it because of scheduling conflicts.
“Yo! I’m gonna play a thief for all this sh*t? I’m the second choice,” Olivero responded. “Why would this guy they initially give it to not do it?”
Olivero forgot about the role ... until he got a call offering him the role of Derek Sandoval.
“I fell in love with the script. I fell in love with the character,” said Olivero.
‘Bad Samaritan’ looks at two petty thieves – Derek (Olivero) and Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) – who uncover more than they bargained for after breaking into the home of a killer who has abducted a girl.
“What excites me the most is that whenever there is any type of heist or robber-type of things, most of the time they are doing like huge jobs,” said Olivero about ‘Bad Samaritan.’ “Like ‘Ocean’s 11’ where they are trying to take down a casino, or they’re trying to take down a drug dealer.”
There’s no casino being heisted in ‘Bad Samaritan.’ But, there’s plenty of criminal activity where the tables get turned on the young thieves.
“These kids are basically the sh*ttiest burglars in the world,” said Olivero. “It’s not like they walk away with thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff. Most of the time when they do rob a house, they barely get away.”
Mostly, the thieves get a few hundred-dollars’ “worth of valuables that you won’t even notice missing,” he added.
Playing a thief almost comes naturally for Olivero, who grew up in the urban, hood streets of Chicago.
“This to me was me reverting back to my 15- or 16-year-old self,” said Olivero. “I had already prepared for this role growing up through high school. It was cool to bring that back.”
Olivero got a kick out of filming in Oregon with an Irish character (Falco) and a “Puerto Rican-Mexican, Chicago kid.”
“That right there in itself never happens,” said Olivero. “It was the right click.”
Back to the initial rejection. Olivero developed a bond with Devlin, the director. Olivero constantly made fun of the fact that he was the second choice.
When filming ended, Devlin pulled him aside and said, “I know you’re not going to believe this but, dude, the movie wouldn’t have been the same without you. You were completely different than the original guy, and I’m so glad that it worked out this way.”
Olivero believes what happened “was a blessing.”
His look has opened many doors.
Music has always been his No. 1 love. He recorded while in high school. After Menudo disbanded, he moved to New York City to help an ex-girlfriend who was an actress.
“I used to help her read her lines all the time, and I’d read scripts all the time,” he said. “She would tell me, ‘You should start acting.’”
One day, he accompanied her to her agent’s office to pick up a check.
“Her agent saw me. ‘Hey man, you’ve got an interesting look. Do you act?’”
“Yeah, of course.”
He was sent to audition for a Starbucks commercial.
Months later, he was in Van Peebles’ living room trying to get some of his songs accepted for the filmmaker’s movies.
“He looks at me. ‘You’ve got a good look. Do you act?’”
“I coincidentally have a Starbucks commercial on the air.”
Van Peebles asked him to wait for a couple of minutes, then asked him to read a script. Olivero got his first role in a feature movie (‘We The Party’ in 2012).
“That’s when I decided I would go into movies,” said Olivero, who has appeared in the Hulu series ‘East Los High’ and other productions.
Music, however, still remains a priority for Olivero, who released his second album, ‘Dreams Don’t Become Reality While Sleeping Volume 2,’ last year.
“If you can do more than one thing and be great at it, why not?” he said. “I want to show people that this is the year of the hybrids.
“If Justine Timberlake can do it, I can do it. If Chris Brown can do it, I can do it,” said Olivero.
So, what was it like working with Rubio in ‘The X Factor USA?’
“Bro, it’s never a dull moment where she’s always telling a joke, even at a very serious time,” said Olivero, who finished in the final three. He credits the Mexican singer for getting him through to the finals.
“The best advice she gave me was that there was no such thing as over performing, as long as it’s natural,” he said.
So far, so good.
Director/producer: Dean Devlin
Cast: David Tennant (Cale Erendreich), Robert Sheehan (Sean Falco), Carlito Olivero (Derek Sandoval), Kerry Condon (Katie).
Rated: R, for violence, language, some drug use, brief nudity.
Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes