'Matador' Co-Creator Roberto Orci on the Complexity of Immigration Reform
Mexican-American renegade filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, known for films such as "Spy Kids," "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "Machete," knows how to reel in a young male audience and gain a cult-like following, but he also knows how to throw one hell of a party in support of the Democratic National Committee's midterm election efforts.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez drew an A-list crowd to his home in Austin, Texas, including several prominent Latino players in the entertainment industry like writer and producer Roberto Orci ("Mission Impossible 3," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and "Star Trek"), Voto Latino's Rosario Dawson, actress Jessica Alba, singer Demi Lovato and actor Danny Trejo, as well as President Barack Obama, who had a jam-packed day that included fundraisers in Denver and Dallas.
At the fancy affair, attendees gathered poolside in a tent lit by three ornate crystal chandeliers. The tickets were steep: "Those who had paid $5,000 to attend were allowed to get their picture taken with the president, according to a copy of the invite obtained by [The Hollywood Reporter]. Guests who donated $32,400 to the DNC were allowed to attend a special VIP reception with the president at Rodriguez's manse."
"Mainly, I am there ... I will be honest, to just get my picture with the president ... a selfie," Orci joked during an exclusive Q&A with Latin Post for the New York premiere of "Matador," the second scripted TV series on Rodriguez's new English-language network, El Rey. "Matador," which was just picked up for a second season, stars Gabriel Luna as a soccer player by day and a spy by night. It makes its debut on Tuesday, July 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
While Orci tapped into his sense of humor about meeting the president, he said he recognizes the complexity and the gravity of the situation faced by Latino immigrants, a topic that hits home for the talented sci-fi guru who was born to a Cuban mother and a Mexican father in Mexico City and came to the U.S. when he was 10 years old.
"There is obviously a lot going on on the border, and there is a lot going on in terms of immigration reform. My uncle and my father and my aunt and my mother were one of the agencies that were hired to do the initial INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] reform back in the '80s — they advertised on behalf of the government at that time, so this is not a new issue for me to see the Latin community dealing with," Orci said.
"I can't stand here and tell you that I know what the answer is to what's going on, and I can't stand here and tell you that I think even the president knows. I think being someone who is multicultural as our president is, he understands that the issue of immigration is more complicated than it is possible to say in a 20-second sound bite," Orci continued.
"So, I am happy to support and attend a function which pays attention to that conversation. It just has to be a conversation, but I can't pretend to tell you — and I don't think he would pretend to tell you — what happens next," Orci added. "But there are human beings coming into this country, there are human beings in this country who have a genuine opposition to a difficult situation. And I think it's our job to just listen and see and think about what's right for us. But I am not prepared here to say I stand for this or I stand for that. I think we just need to have a conversation and just listen to each other — that is why I support the event [on Wednesday, July 9]."
During Rodriguez's fundraiser Obama began his speech by congratulating him for "all the great work that he is doing on the new network [El Rey] and shows and the way that he is broadening I think everybody's imaginations about what America is about and what it looks like, what it sounds like," THR reported.
President Obama also met with local leaders, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, to discuss the humanitarian response to the massive influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America across the Texas-Mexico border. While the increasingly concerning issue was addressed, the president received some criticism for attending celebrity fundraisers but not visiting the troubled area.
During Rodriguez's fundraiser, Obama commended notable Republican accomplishments, naming Lincoln as his favorite president, but he also argued that Republicans should support the emergency funding he's seeking to strengthen efforts at the border, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to CNN, "The emergency money sought by the president would hire more border patrol officers, judges and others to deal with the unprecedented influx from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador while providing more detention facilities and other resources — all designed to speed up the processing of the child immigrants."
Next week, the Hollywood DNC fundraising efforts will continue when President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit Los Angeles. The celebrity hosts will reportedly include HBO's Michael Lombardo and his partner, architect Sonny Ward, "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes along with co-host actress Kerry Washington and Live Nation's Michael Rapino and wife Jolene Rapino.