Canadian-born actor Raphael Alejandro began his career doing commercials before landing his first recurring TV role at the age of 5 as Roland, on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. The talented 12-year-old’s film credits include Badge of Honor, Kindergarten Cop 2, and How to Be a Latin Lover. However, if you are a fan of the Disney Channel, you probably came to know Raphael through his character Matteo Silva, a cautious kid who is learning to face his fears while at Camp Kikiwaka on Bunk’d.
In Raphael’s latest motion picture we will see him in the role of Zaqueu. He will join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE, a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon set to release July 2021.
We were thrilled to chat with Raphael about Bunk’d, Jungle Cruise, fashion and how he has been staying positive in quarantine.
PCM: Hi Raphael, thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
Raphael: It’s my pleasure! Thank you for interviewing me!
Congratulations on your new role in Disney’s Jungle Cruise. We love Disney World’s Jungle Cruise attraction so we are so excited to see the movie in 2021! What was your favourite thing about being involved in this film? Working with Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Paul Giamatti was one of my favourite things about being involved in this film. Also, I really enjoyed filming in Hawaii and Atlanta.
How did you prepare for the role of Zaqueu?
I prepared for the role of Zaqueu pretty much the same way I prepare for all my roles. I read the lines, think about what kind of characteristics Zaqueu has and how he is going to react in the scenes. Then I memorize and practice my lines with my sister, Dalila Bela, or my brother, Bruce Salomon, who are actors as well because they can give a different opinion that will help me with my interpretation of the character. I also try to find a character from a movie or TV show that has similar characteristics as the role I’m playing so I can have a point of reference. And the rest is just letting it go and having fun.
Most of our readers will probably recognize you from your character Matteo on Bunk’d. How are you most similar and dissimilar from the character you play in the Disney show? Matteo and I are similar because we like to learn, especially about Science. Matteo is also a germ freak, and I have to confess that I’m a bit of a germ freak as well. Another similarity we have is that we are both big talkers and like to share facts with the people around us. One of the differences we have is that he is afraid of trying new adventures, but I’m not. I’m kind of a daredevil and a thrill seeker.
What is the most challenging part about portraying Matteo? Well, I think that I’m a pretty coordinated person, not like Matteo, so for me, portraying someone uncoordinated like him was a very big challenge.
You’ve been acting for a long time and you’ve portrayed many characters! What has been one of your favourite roles so far, why? It’s very difficult for me to choose a favourite role. I love to act and every role I perform imposes a different challenge. With every role, I grow as an actor and I learn something new about myself and about the world.
As a fashion-focused magazine, we have to ask… How would you describe your personal style? My personal style is modern with a retro twist. Leather jackets or the other extreme – suits – are my jam, but with either one, I love to wear Air Jordans.
What has been your favourite red carpet look?
That is difficult to choose. I love all my red carpets looks. But one of my favourite looks is when I went to the Kim Possible premiere. I wore a velvet navy jacket on top of navy t-shirt from Spider-Man PS4 that blended with my jacket, and light blue motto jeans. But what I think completed the outfit perfectly was my red Jordan Legacy 312.
We love that red carpet look!
Being stuck at home, what movies, TV shows and/or books have you been enjoying? Anything you recommend? During this quarantine, I’ve been watching The Green Book, Malcolm in The Middle, The Usual Suspects and Recess. I like reading biographies, so I read about Isaac Newton, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein among others. One book that I recommend reading is “A Long Walk to Water” written by Linda Sue Park. A movie that I recommend watching is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Finally, what is one thing you are doing to stay positive during these unusual times? Trying to keep myself busy with fun hobbies and activities, it’s what I am doing to stay positive during these unusual times. I play board games with my family, I like to take my dog for a walk, I play video games and I read books to pass the time. I also like to take big breaths to re-energize when I’m feeling a little tired.
We can’t wait to see Raphael Alejandro in Jungle Cruise next summer! In the meantime catch up with the young actor on Bunk’d or Instagram.