This story is part of , our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.
Actor Demián Bichir describes himself as a big fan and user of technology, telling me how he’s turned to YouTube videos to learn everything from how to cook new recipes to watching lessons on playing guitar and piano. And he’s in awe of video conferencing tech — which he remembers first seeing in — that lets him see his daughter as they talk with each other while thousands of miles apart.
But he also says we need to watch out for the bad guys and make sure the tech being developed now is “good for everybody.” I ask him who the bad guys are.
“The guys who profit from it and don’t care about anybody else, you know what I mean?” Bichir says in an interview for CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast series. “They don’t care what the impact socially represents, and they don’t take the responsibility seriously.”
It’s an interesting observation given that in Godzilla vs. Kong, being released this week in theaters and on HBO Max, Bichir plays the billionaire founder and CEO of a tech company with a vision for how the world should handle the world’s Titans, which leads to an “epic clash” between the king of the apes and the nuclear-empowered sea monster. It’s the fourth film in Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse fictional franchise, and CNET’s Jennifer Bisset, in her no spoilers review, says it “delivers everything you’d expect,” if “you’re watching to see Godzilla and Kong fight it out until at least one city topples to the ground.”
Bichir also stays away from spoilers, saying only that his character, Apex Corp. CEO Walter Simmons, has “very, very interesting plans” on what saving the world means. “You will see what money can do sometimes, because money can be great but it can also be a burden. It’s great if you know what to do with it — and it could be good or bad.”
And he admits that he’s personally more of a fan of Kong than Godzilla.
For Bichir, the monster mashup caps a year in which he’s done a lot of pivoting in terms of the roles he’s chosen. In Godzilla vs. Kong, he was part of a big-budget, splashy action film where the main characters are computer-generated. It was the first time he had “to play most of your work versus a green screen. It’s just imagining the beasts — imagining this and imagining that — because that’s not really happening right there.”
Contrast that with George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky (released on Netflix in December), a quiet, slow-paced drama in which he’s an astronaut heading back to Earth with a small crew, made up of people from different cultures and backgrounds, who learn that a catastrophe has wiped out most of the world’s population. “One thing that we all need to understand is that we’re all in this together,” he says about the message of the movie, which wrapped up production in February 2020 just as the world was heading into coronavirus lockdown.
“The Midnight Sky is a perfect representation of who we are,” he adds. “We are that small spaceship with five crew members only. That’s Planet Earth. That’s humanity. And we depend on each other, and we have to cover each other’s backs. There’s no place for selfishness.”
It’s a message that also drew him to Land, which stars and was directed by Robin Wright. It’s about a woman coping with personal tragedy, who leaves the world behind and moves into a rustic cabin in the wilderness, only to find she can’t make it there on her own. Bichir plays a mountain man who saves her and teaches her how to survive.
“In Land, these two human beings meet and they’re entirely different — from different backgrounds, different languages, different everything. They don’t care about that. They don’t need to know anything about each other. They just know that they’re the same species and they need each other.”
Bichir and I also talked about his cooking — he’s a self-described foodie — and about his obsessions, which includes soccer (“football you play with your feet,” he says with a laugh).
You can listen to my conversation with Bichir on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can also subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.