Despite character, this actor is no pig Manny Perez isn't anything like the crazed killer he plays in La Soga.
In the gruesomely intense drama (the title is Spanish for the rope used to tie up pigs for slaughter), the 41-year-old stars as a government assassin tracking down drug-dealing deportees. He also wrote the script and co-produced the movie.
"I'm the nicest guy you ever wanna meet," says Perez, in Miami for the film's Wednesday night premiere at the Gusman Theatre. "[But] we live in a world that's violent. That's what filmmaking should be. If you're going to make a film, make a statement."
But Perez's justice-seeking character isn't the Latino Terminator. Nicknamed "La Soga," Luisito has an ulterior motive: finding the people responsible for killing his father in front of him years ago.
"In the beginning, he's a monster -- you hate him," says Perez, who was born in rural Santiago, Dominican Republic, where most of the film was shot. "At the end, you see he has a heart. It's how a man loses his innocence and through revenge, finds his soul."
You can't exactly say no animals were harmed in the making of this movie, which features vicious cockfights and more than a few visceral moments of a pig meeting its demise.
Perez, who now lives in New York City, witnessed a little oinker get butchered as a child and hasn't eaten the meat since.
"That moment traumatized me," says the actor, who played a drug dealer in El Cantante with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. "People who see this film may feel the same way. We were in tears shooting this thing."
Bacon lovers, consider yourself warned.
"Pigs are very smart," he says. "You look at their eyes and feel like you're looking at a human."