Actor Wilmer Valderrama, best known as Fez on Fox television’s “That ’70s Show,” says he needed a special swagger to become Hollywood’s first Latino superhero, but he insists it’s all in the suit.
The 25-year-old Miami native recently wrapped production on the independent film “El Muerto,” based on a graphic novel by Javier Hernandez, and he appeared in costume this week at the comic book convention Comic-con to preview a trailer for the movie.
“They really wanted to up the hunk factor, so they came up with these amazing pants,” Valderrama said, referring to the costume’s tight-fitting black leather pants. “Wearing that suit really changed my walk.”
Valderrama demonstrated a lean, lithe, shadowy movement far from his portrayal of Fez, the adorably goofy foreign exchange student he has played on “That ’70s Show” since its debut in 1998.
“El Muerto,” which co-stars Joel David Moore, Tony Plana and Angie Cepeda, is a production of the independent Los Angeles film company Dream Entertainment and is expected in theaters later this year.
Valderrama plays a young man in East Los Angeles who is abducted by Aztec gods when his car crashes on the way to a festival celebrating the Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos).
Transformed into El Muerto, the Aztec Zombie, he struggles with the world between life and death, using his supernatural powers to protect his loved ones from evil.
“Our goal was to make a beautiful drama of this awesome world that Javier created,” Valderrama said. “It’s the first movie based on a graphic novel about Latinos set in East L.A.”
Inspired by ‘8 Mile’Valderrama said he also was involved in developing a reality television show with MTV, tentatively called “Yo Mama,” inspired by rapper Eminem’s 2002 movie “8 Mile.”
“It’s street kids going against each other on ‘yo’ mama’ jokes,” he said. “I’m hosting and creating the show.”
Other projects include an upcoming film, “The Darwin Awards,” with Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder, and Valderrama plans to return to “That ’70s Show” for an eighth and presumed final season of the show.
He said producers plan to revive the use of dream sequences in the final episodes and may introduce Fez’s parents to reveal the answer to one of the show’s long-standing mysteries -- his character’s exact country of origin.
“We are going to leave with a bang, we are going to get in as much trouble as possible,” Valderrama promised.
Fez is a part not far from his own experience. Valderrama was born in Miami but moved to Venezuela when he was three years old. When his family returned to the United States when he was 13, he did not speak a word of English.
As well as his comic role in “That ’70s Show,” Valderrama is a regular in U.S. gossip columns as a ladies man, with past girlfriends including Lindsay Lohan and Mandy Moore.