Exclusive: Bernardo Badillo Features in ‘Emily the Criminal’ & ‘This Fool’ Releasing on August 12th [Interview]

Photo Credit: Veronica Hernandez

Bernardo Badillo is featuring in two new upcoming projects, the film Emily the Criminal and the show This Fool, which will premiere on Hulu.

Emily the Criminal premiered at this year’s 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January. The film follows the character Emily played by Aubrey Plaza, whose life is at a financial impasse as she struggles to find a job due to her criminal history and the burden of student debt. The movie also stars Theo Rossi, who plays Youcef and acts as a mentor to Emily as they both attempt to bring their shady business to new levels. Badillo’s character, Javier, is Emily’s partner in a catering company and the catalyst for her downward spiral into the world of credit card scam.

This Fool is a comedy that focuses on Julio, played by Chris Estrada, a 30-year-old man who still lives at home. He works at Hugs Not Thugs, a nonprofit that offers rehabilitation for gang members. His family soon takes in his older cousin Luis, an ex-gang member who has just been released from prison. Badillo will play Uncle Johnny, who will appear in episode eight of the show. 

Emily the Criminal and This Fool are set to premiere on August 12th. The Knockturnal spoke with Badillo about his upcoming projects and his preparation for both roles. He also discusses how his upbringing influenced his passion for workers’ rights and the union’s protective services. 

 Badillo’s work can be followed on Instagram @actorbernardobadillo

Bernardo Badillo: Well, I was doing plays in high school and really started falling in love with the craft of acting then, but my earliest memories of acting were doing the Christmas show/pageant in 5th grade. At that point I was just part of the ensemble, however I was always doing the most.  By 8th grade I wrote a play and starred in it alongside three of my classmates.  Let’s just say it was a big hit and the rest is history!!!

My first professional role though was a one liner in the HBO film “Walkout.”  It made me SAG (union) and featured a predominantly Latinx cast including Michael Pena and Edward James Olmos. To this day I’m proud to be part of the history of that film.

The Knockturnal: In the month of August you have two projects releasing on the same day, what are you excited for fans and viewers to see from both?

Bernardo Badillo: The two projects, “Emily the Criminal” and “This Fool,” are completely different from each other so I’m excited for people to see my ability to work in various styles and genres.  As a character actor I pride myself in seamlessly entering any world regardless of tone.  Emily the Criminal allows me to showcase my grounded and dramatic side, while This Fool offers me an opportunity to be silly and make everyone laugh.

The Knockturnal: What was it like working alongside Aubrey Plaza and Theo Rossi in the film “Emily the Criminal”?

Bernardo Badillo: Working with Aubrey was a dream! She couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming. She created such a safe space that I always felt comfortable sharing ideas about my character as well as improvising throughout the shoot! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to share scenes with Theo, but hopefully we will someday.

 The Knockturnal: You embodied two different characters in both the film Emily The Criminal and the Hulu tv show This Fool, what was your preparation like for each role? Was it similar or different in any way? 

Bernardo Badillo: In my preparation for “Emily the Criminal,” I really tried to stay out of my own way.  As actors we tend to overthink and sometimes over-prepare for the role that by the time you get on set you forget what got you the role in the first place.  I knew this particular character was an extension of myself so I didn’t have to layer all these unnecessary things onto it.  I just had to stay focused and present!

For “This Fool” I had to be more technical and specific about my delivery because it is a comedy.  The jokes are built into the script so you have to find the best possible version of delivering the joke, while still making it feel organic and effortless.  Comedy is a lot harder than drama, but when you’re working with incredibly funny comedians like I did on “This Fool” it takes the pressure off.

The Knockturnal: You’ve played in numerous movies and tv shows such as Snowfall, Queen of the South. Animal Kingdom, Dexter, Weeds,  Dead To Me, Insecure, Sully, and you have two projects releasing on August 12th. Which types of roles do you like performing most when presented with the opportunity?

Bernardo Badillo: I prefer doing comedy because I love a good challenge!

The Knockturnal: You’re passionate about workers’ rights and union’s protective services, why are these issues important to you? What changes do you hope to see? 

Bernardo Badillo: My family immigrated here from Mexico and they had to start their lives anew.  Many of them worked back breaking jobs and did what they could to survive.  Back then they didn’t have as many protections as there are now to ensure they received fair wages, got proper meal breaks, health insurance, etc. so it was definitely a challenge. Coming from a family of blue collar workers I understand the toll harsh work environments can take on a person’s body and spirit. 

I think making every workplace unionized should be mandatory! Unionizing to create a better, healthier work environment is so important not just for the people working but for their families, especially as it pertains to healthcare.  Everyone should be eligible to receive proper and affordable healthcare.  If we don’t protect our workers how can we expect the next generation to thrive and have a better life in this country.

The Knockturnal: Who do you consider to be your acting role model? Why?

Bernardo Badillo: My acting role model is Edward Norton. He’s been able to straddle being a leading man as well as a strong character actor. I feel like I’ve been a character actor for so long but I hope to be doing leading roles in the near future. Of course, I never want to forget my roots and still be able to do character parts that excite me and allow me to transform.  I want the best of both worlds!!

The Knockturnal: Where do you hope to be in your career in the next 5 years?

Bernardo Badillo: I do believe that speaking something into existence will make it true.  So here goes: In the next 5 years I want to be a series regular on an Emmy nominated show, be starring in multiple feature films as a leading man and win an Oscar.

The Knockturnal: Anything else you’d like to share?

Bernardo Badillo: I have a few other projects in the pipeline so keep an eye out for me in 2023! 


Related posts

On The Scene: Himbrimi Gin Launch

Film Review: “Wendell and Wild”

Exclusive: Will Klipstine Talks Directing, Producing, Writing & Starring in ‘The Harbinger’ [Interview]