The second oldest of twelve children Robert's love for story and storytelling was significantly impacted from the beautiful and often times wild adventures of a large Catholic family. This passion grew as he found himself making his way to Hollwood and at the same time (after a short detour in his faith) experiencing a complete reversion back to the church. This love for acting and new found love of Catholicism came to a head when he was cast as Jesus Christ in the upcoming feature film about Eucharistic miracles called; 'The New Manna' .
Several years ago Robert moved out to LA to pursue his dream of being actor and a storyteller. It was around that time that he started to have a reversion back to the church as well. He recalls coming out to LA with the grandiose confidence that many actors have…the dream of “making it big”. Well as you can imagine the years progressed and his career did not. Sure, he had the occasional commercial or small guest role, but nothing substantial. The interesting thing was that as his career stayed dormant, his faith was exploding. He couldn’t get enough of learning about it, studying it, and reading scripture. His heart was on fire, and his priorities began to shift from Saturday night fun with the boys to waking up early for Sunday Mass. At this time he also moved out of his overly expensive apartment that he thought he needed to be "cool" and into a small studio in a quiet neighborhood in Reseda. He was “living lean” as he liked to called it and loved it. As his faith deepened and he continued to journey toward Our Lord he became very aware that the business he was in, the industry that he was pursuing didn't always take to kindly to faithful Catholics and it came to a very clear realization that as he lived out his faith in all facets of his life he would run the risk of never seeing those dreams become reality.
There was a small one mile route through this quiet neighborhood that he would walk daily and pray his rosary. As he reached the end of each decade of the rosary he would asked Our Lady for her grace and prayers for a particular intention and when he came to the last decade he would always petition; ‘Oh, Blessed Mother I give you my heart, place it at the foot of your Son so He may do with it that which pleases Him most…whatever He wants my Lady, His will not mine” But right before he finished and put his rosary away he was softly whisper; “But my mother in His mercy may He allow me one great story to tell” The years would pass, his daily rosary-route and same familiar cry to Our Lady would remain, but his career would continue to stall.
Then the time of Covid hit our shores and while everything was shutting down, people were scared, and churches were empty, his faith and trust in Jesus was growing. It was around that time that he was in search of a parish in which he could call home and after many prayers God led him to a small church in the town of San Fernando called St. Vitus. Now, The Holy Spirit had really been at work because it was there that he ran into an old familiar face, someone whom I had not seen in a long time, his friend Angelo. It wasn’t, but maybe a week after being there Angelo told him that he was preparing to direct a movie on Eucharistic Miracles called ‘The New Manna.’ Angelo had known that Robert was an actor and at the time he told him that he would absolutely have a role for him “something small” maybe a Roman soldier or something a long those lines. Robert was ecstatic, and told him; “Whatever you want, I’d love to be a part of it, anything I can do to help.” To be of service. So, as Angelo began the pre-production phase, bit by bit he would include Robert in some of the daily operations with the film. As it progress Robert began speaking with him pretty regularly about it, bouncing ideas off each other and helping out wherever he could. Soon they came to casting and one of the biggest issues they faced was who to cast for Christ? Of all the other actors and characters in the film Angelo did not care as much if they weren’t practicing Catholics or Christians, as long as they could act, and were true to the material and respected it, but the role of Jesus was different. He wanted an actor who could act, but just as importantly someone who knew and lived the Catholic faith. A few actors had come to mind and one very popular one was at the top of the list. After talking back and forth with this well known actor Angelo came to the realization it didn’t make sense to cast him. Principle photography was approaching and they still had no Jesus and after a few more weeks and many more unsuccessful casting choices they still couldn’t find anyone who fit. Then on a early spring, Sunday afternoon as Robert was getting his post-mass coffee he received a Facetime from Angelo. While he spoke Robert could tell something important was on his mind, something he had been pondering for a while. He was talking about who should play Jesus, and as he was speaking he would hint at certain traits and characteristics he was looking for and suddenly sensing what he was saying through his eyes Robert stopped him. With his heart beating out of his chest he said to him; ‘Brother are you asking me to play Christ, right now?” Angelo paused for a moment and with small smile running out the corner of his mouth he said; “Yes brother, I think you can do it.” Robert was in disbelief so many thoughts pouring in at once, and a overwhelming sense of unworthiness came over me. He never looked at himself and saw Christ. But Angelo did.
After they hung up, Robert immediately facetimed his father to tell him. His father picked up the phone and with a complete sense of awe he said to him; “They want me to play Jesus dad, Angelo just offered it to me” And with the same soft smile his dad said; “Yeah, it should be you.” “But dad I don’t see Him in me, I feel so unworthy.” Then his dad looked at him as any good father does and asked; “Do you pray every day?” “Yeah, I pray everyday”. “And you try to live clean, you stay away from sin, you live a chaste life?” “Yeah, yeah I do.” “You go to confession when you need and you’re attending Mass and receiving Him in Holy Communion often? “Yeah, yeah I am.” “Then he chose you, my son, He wants you to play Him, now with all your heart go and do it.”
Everything in my life, all the goodness, all the beauty that anyone sees in me is direct result of greatest love story know to man…Christ’s life, suffering, pain, and glorious resurrection. My heart was open, and He did the rest and He continued to gift me on that project. I was given a producer credit and wrote several scenes for the movie and most recently I was asked to help produce another Catholic film, and I am in the works on several others.
I believe in story and storytelling and that beauty can change the world.and whether it be on the big screen or in a room full of people I believe that it can do more than just entertain, but transcend the aesthetic pleasure of the human eye, and inspires the audience on the path toward objective truth, into seeking the higher good. A story that pulls out of us our best self! So then maybe one day, this form of Beauty may have the power to transform the next dreamer to cry out to Our Lord; “ Allow me one great story.” and like myself, He may just give him His.