New York, NY – Marlene Forte’s Hollywood career is not the traditional acting tale.
The Cuba American actress took to the big screen in her late 20s after landing several guest roles and didn’t get representation until she was 30. Now she starts the year featured in Marlon Wayans' latest film, “A Haunted House,” a parody of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.
This is not the first time she gets to work with one of the Wayans brothers, veterans in show business. She had a recurring role in their successful show “My Wife and Kids” and has been in other hit series such as “Bones,” “Nip/Tuck,” “The Mentalist” and “Castle.”
Other films under Forte’s belt include the 2009 flick “Star Trek" and “Our Song,” with Kerry Washington.
Being a working Latina actress in Hollywood did not come easy to Forte.
Her previous jobs included being a video store owner and waiting tables for seven years. When attempting acting roles, most agents told her that she needed to change her birth name (Ana Marlene Forte Machado) because she would have trouble finding parts other than the typical Hispanic stereotypes (cleaning lady, loud mother, undocumented immigrant) she refused.
“I don’t mind playing those roles as long as they’re fully dimensioned human beings,” Forte said, adding that being typecast should not be something Latinos should fear.
“Latinos are the fabric of this country,” she said, noting that nowadays Latinos are being represented on the big and small screen as lawyers, judges, doctors.
Forte, who has also appeared in hit shows such as “Law and Order” and “New York Undercover,” believes that when it comes to film and TV, it is like “painting with different brushes.”
“When you’re on theater, you need to use a big brush, but when you’re on TV, you need to paint using a small brush,” she explained.
Forte’s next big project includes a role in TNT’s “Dallas” and on Tyler Perry’s “Single Moms Club,” where she plays the mother of Latin heartthrob William Levy.
Forte worked with Tyler Perry a couple years ago in his show “House of Payne,” and admits that the prolific filmmaker has been great for his community “whether you like his Madea movies or not.”
“You have to learn how to do it all,” said Forte. “Learn how the business works. It is not a horse race. It’s called show business. There’s a business to it.”