Directed by Alberto Arvelo and written by Timothy J. Sexton, The Liberator introduces us to Simon Bolivar, the military and political leader who played a key role in Latin America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire in the 1800s. Bolivar was said to have fought over 100 battles in South America and ridden over 70,000 miles on horseback. But while his military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great, he and his army were liberators instead of conquerors.
Playing Simon Bolivar in The Liberator is Edgar Ramirez, who is best known for his roles in Carlos, Domino, The Bourne Ultimatum and Zero Dark Thirty. We watch as Ramirez takes Bolivar from being the son in a rich family to becoming a man who finds a renewed sense of purpose when he joins the growing colonial revolt against the Spanish crown.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down for an exclusive interview with Ramirez while he was in Los Angeles, California promoting the film. He spoke of how he came to know about Bolivar, the challenges he faced in portraying him, and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
When was the first time that you became aware of who Simon Bolivar was?
Edgar Ramirez: Since I was a kid. I can’t remember exactly the moment. Bolivar’s legacy has always been a part of the Venezuelan/Latin American imagery, especially in the countries that he liberated or he helped to liberate. He’s been a very prominent figure. There are avenues with his name, schools which had a subject about his life, his picture has been in all schools and official offices, and there’s a square in every Venezuelan/Latin American town and villages with his name on it. The main square will be called Bolivar square or Plaza Bolivar. So yeah, he’s pretty much been around.
Every country has that one person that the people need to know about.
Edgar Ramirez: Yeah, it’s like (George) Washington here. He’s on the money, and Bolivar’s face is also on Venezuelan money. He’s a very present figure.
What was the biggest challenge for you in playing Simon Bolivar?
Edgar Ramirez: Well precisely, to deal with the omnipresence of Bolivar because the omnipresence normally has the consequence of the result of making characters become inter-dimensional in a way. That was the main challenge, to try to discover the human essence that might have assisted behind the myth and not let the historic weight, and my own personal expectations and my friends’ expectations and my country’s expectations to get in the way of pulling off a multilayered performance and trying to be a multilayered character.