Hector Duran From Hit Netflix Series “Space Force”

DA MAN talked with Hector Duran about his role in “Space Force” as well as real estate and more.

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Hector Duran is currently appearing on Steve Carell’s Netflix comedy series “Space Force,” alongside John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Jimmy O. Yang, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome and the mighty Steve Carell himself. Prior to that, his work included quite a few notable series, series, including Showtime’s “Shameless,” Netflix’s “Maron,” and also in the 2015 Disney Biopic “McFarland, USA” with Kevin Costner. Recently, amid the unfortunately ongoing semi-quarantine, DA MAN had the opportunity to chat a bit with Duran.

DA MAN: Hi, Hector! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. With the world still in semi-quarantine, how are you doing these days?
Hector Duran: I’m actually having a fun time in quarantine. I’m able to spend more quality time with my family. I would say that this quarantine has allowed me to take a break from my busy life to enjoy the small things.

DA: Your latest project, Netflix’s hit series “Space Force,” is currently airing. How excited are you right now?
HD: I’m ecstatic that people are finally able to watch the show and at the same time I’m so happy it’s on Netflix, because I’m able to binge watch all of the episodes! I finished the entire season in one night!

DA: Can we start next with how you got involved in “Space Force”? How did you end up being cast for this one?
HD: My agent sent me this audition with little context. So, when I went in for the audition, I didn’t know much about what I was auditioning for. I just knew that Allison Jones was the casting director and the character was set to recur. But honestly, they had me at Allison Jones. [Laughs] Once I received the call-back, I got to meet Greg Daniels and he had me perform one scripted scene and two improv scenes. It was a very relaxed and fun audition room with tons of freedom to do whatever I wanted.

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DA: For any of our readers still unfamiliar with the show, can you give us a brief rundown of “Space Force”?
HD: “Space Force” is a workplace comedy starring Steve Carell and John Malkovich who are tasked with creating the sixth branch of the military: Space Force. It’s a hilarious roller coaster ride of a show that has so many unexpected twists and turns. Spoiler alert: We may or may not be returning to the moon…

DA: You play as a “Space Force” recruit Julio Díaz – José, who is quite an interesting character. Can you tell us more about this character of yours?
HD: Sure. I play Julio Díaz – José, a new member of the Space Force, who’s always dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but faces many challenges since English is his second language. This makes for some funny moments of miscommunication between Julio and General Naird (played by Steve Carell).

DA: Did you go through any special preparations before filming “Space Force?”
HD: Yes, we had to do some wire training with a stunt crew because, spoiler alert, in the show we go to space and have scenes where we are completely weightless. Wire training was a new and fun experience for me. I learned how to appear weightless and walk in low gravity.

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DA: Is there anything you can share with us about what the future holds for your character?
HD: Well, in the show I finally accomplish my dream of becoming an astronaut and I get sent to the moon on a rocket ship. Once there, we are tasked with creating a lunar base but encounter many unexpected challenges. Without saying too much, the season ends on a major cliff-hanger. I just hope my character makes it back to earth safely.

DA: What, would you say, is the number-one reason to watch “Space Force”?
HD: Besides being Steve Carell’s comeback, this is also the first time Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, the co-creator of “The Office,” are joining forces again since “The Office” ended. Anyone who loves “The Office” will appreciate the style of comedy and incredible talent these two bring to the small screen. Not to mention, there are some “The Office” easter eggs, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

DA: In this series, you’ve worked alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names like Steve Carrell and John Malkovich. How has it been like working with them?
HD: To be 100-percent honest, I was extremely nervous and slightly intimidated my first day on set with these Hollywood legends. But they are the nicest people you’ll ever meet! Immediately Carell and Malkovich sparked up conversations with the cast, telling us about their love for theatre, living in France, fun memories from the beginning of their careers and that really put me at ease and laid the foundation for a fun experience.

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DA: Other than meeting those two, what would you say is the best part of working with the cast and crew of “Space Force”?
HD: The best thing about working with a cast of comedians is that there’s never a dull moment. Between takes, Ben Schwartz, who plays F. Tony, will host mini improv scenes with us and it’s a really fun way to pass time.

DA: And because of “Space Force,” more and more people are starting to recognize you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
HD: I grew up in Rosemead, California, about 15 minutes east of Los Angeles. I am the second oldest out of five children, and I’m very fortunate to have a family that’s always supported my ambitions. When I’m not working, I really enjoy spending time with my family and going on fun outdoor adventures like hiking, camping, fishing, etc.

DA: How did you start acting in the first place?
HD: I began acting when I was nine years old after starring in a school play. I really enjoyed the thrill of performing in front of a live audience and I told my parents I wanted to be an actor. My first real role was in a Disney XD Skateboarding commercial, and I’ll never forget walking out of the audition crying because I thought I did horrible. The next day, they called me to tell me I booked it and to this day I still haven’t seen the commercial.

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DA: If we’re not mistaken, besides acting, you also work on real estate. Can you tell us a bit about that?
HD: Besides acting, I work as a Mortgage Loan Officer. I help my clients purchase and refinance homes. It’s a commission-based career that requires a lot of people skills. Although there’s no camera involved, it’s very similar to acting because you meet with clients face to face. It’s a live interaction, and you’re trying your best to incline them to work with you.

DA: It’s safe to say that real estate and acting are two very completely different things. How do you balance those two aspects of your life?
HD: I work in real estate roughly nine months out of the year. The other three months I’m filming. I usually stop prospecting for new real estate clients a month before I start filming to ensure that I can dedicate all my attention to acting when filming begins.

DA: What is it that drives you or motivates you in pursuing your passion for acting?
HD: One of my biggest fears is being an old man on my death bed reflecting on my life and having a ton of regret. There’s so much more this life has to offer besides a 9-to-5 job, and I would be letting myself down if I gave up on my dreams. That’s what keeps me motivated.

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DA: Do you have someone that you look up to?
HD: One of my Idols is Dave Chappelle. He’s a very insightful comedian and has a very unique way of relaying his ideals to his audience through comedy. I would love the opportunity to work with him one day.

DA: Last but not least, taking all of your talents into account, what would be your dream creative project?
HD: My dream creative project would be an autobiographical film about my upbringing and my life after I’ve achieved a substantial level of success. I would like to show all aspects of my life outlining the struggles and the entirety of the journey. Something that would be relatable to your average person. I want to inspire the next generation to chase their dreams and not sell themselves short.

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