Like quite a few members of the cast and crew of “Stargirl”, Maximiliano Hernández brings a rich and varied background in the entertainment field to the production. Stage experience as well as screen work, both big and small, have led to his being cast as Mr. Robineau, high school teacher and faculty advisor to Leo and Kevin. The casting of Hernández as a supportive authority figure carries on a trend he has clearly favored throughout his career.
As a first generation Honduran-American growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970’s and 80’s, Hernández likely wouldn’t have found a great many positive latino role models on television or in the movies at the time. He has stated in the past that he sees himself as part of a tradition of actors like Jose Ferrer and Ricardo Montalban who helped define distinctive ethnic characters to be looked up to. In 2012 he told showbizcafe.com that he “…. decided to only choose roles that give a positive aspect to Latinos in Hollywood.” He has taken time off from acting to ensure that the parts he takes avoid one-dimensional racial stereotypes, to serve as role model both to the industry and to his own son Diego.
The widely-circulated story of his decision to join the high school theatre program – stemming from a desire to avoid after-school punishment – may be true, but it also sparked a love of acting that carried forward into a full career. After graduating Bishop Ford High School in 1991, he applied to the City College of New York’s Leonard Davis Center For The Performing Arts, but withdrew before graduating. Off-Broadway stage work continued throughout the 90’s, including avant-garde works such as “Rockland County No Vaudeville” and “Peanut” with the Axis Theatre Company, and journeyman work at theater companies in lower Manhattan.
By the early 2000’s he was supplementing his earnings with small movie roles and guest appearances on various series under the “Law & Order” banner, a character-acting staple. After moving to Los Angeles, he began to be cast in guest roles on a variety of TV series, as well as small movie roles. Something in his looks or demeanor must have struck casting agents as stern and assertive, for he began to be cast in a variety of law enforcement and bureaucratic parts, playing a police officer or detective in such varied projects as “Law & Order: Trial by Jury”, “Imperial Dreams”, “Ringer”, “The Walking Dead” and “Hand of God”. He has also received notoriety as government field agents both as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jasper Sitwell in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and as F.B.I. Agent Chris Amador in “The Americans”. For many of these law enforcement roles, it did not end well for his character, resulting in his abrupt exit from roles in long-running series and high-profile movies. Hernández has been diplomatic when interviewed about these story decisions, which can happen frequently to character actor parts in the industry.
Hernández comes to ”Stargirl” as a homecoming in a variety of ways. As Agent Sitwell both for Marvel Entertainment and ABC television, he returns to The Walt Disney Company, which owns both divisions. Both the Marvel movie “Thor” and the drug-trafficking action movie “Sicario”, in which he plays yet another policeman, had filming locations in – that’s right, New Mexico. This is also for Hernández a return to working with a leading cast of young adult actors, as he did in 2009’s “Hotel for Dogs” for Nickelodeon Movies, in the part of Officer Mike. He is currently fitting in the filming of “Stargirl” during breaks for two current television series, playing Doc Rios in the navy drama “The Last Ship”, and District Attorney Antonio Montez in the second season of “Mr. Mercedes”.
This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=UgzOpVcVhQsXroNZY-N4AaABAg