Benjamin Bratt has had a busy summer – two movies and a documentary on Latino Americans – but you won’t know it because he doesn’t physically appear on screen.
The 49-year-old Peruvian-American actor voiced the role of Eduardo and El Macho in the summer hit “Despicable Me 2” and narrates on the PBS documentary “Latino Americans,” which chronicles the 500-year history of Latinos in the United States.
Now the former “Private Practice” star is reprising his voice role of Manny in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” out in theaters Friday.
“He is a man of few words, but a jack of all trades,” Bratt told Fox News Latino of his character Manny. “We learn that he is a veterinarian, a race car driver, a doctor – he is many different things.”
“(Manny) is the personification of the calm in the eye of the storm,” he added.
The original movie, “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs,” told the story of inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), who created a machine that turned water into food. While seemingly ingenious, the machine eventually caused mayhem like cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornados.
Bratt said the movie picks right after the first one ended. “What they are faced with now is that the food has come sentient," he explained.
“Whatever (fans) fell in love with in the first one is there,” Bratt said. “The premise of the first one was Flint Lockwood creating this invention. Now the food has feelings. It thinks for itself.”
Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed the machine – but he soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals.
“They have to pick up the world, especially in Swallow Falls where he lives,” Bratt said.
The food-animals, or “foodimals,” are hybrid food and animal combinations that include the bananostrich, a yellow banana with ostrich legs added, and the cheespider, a cheeseburger turned into a French fries-leggeded spider.
Bratt’s favorite, though, is the tacodile – a taco turned river carnivore.
“I’m a fan of tacos,” he said with a chuckle.
He said he and co-star Anna Farris were recently talking about the “foodimals” and they came up with one of their own: the corndor – a condor made out of corn.
“His body would be made out of corn husks and kernels,” Bratt said. “If he was hungry he could eat from himself.”
The actor said if he could create another “foodimal” it would be something that honored his mother and her Peruvian heritage. He thought a ceviche could work, but then that would be an animal used to make food to make an animal.
“That gets deep,” Bratt said.
The actor also took time to chat about the PBS documentary “Latino Americans.” Bratt called the six-part series a “game changer,” that shows what is the history of Latino Americans in the United States.
“There was a lot that I didn’t know because I was never taught it,” Bratt said of the documentary out of DVD next week. “Latino presence in the country been here since before the country was formed, but we never really learned about it. … This is a culturally important historical document.”
He said Latino culture has become as mainstream as any other, but that it continues to be marginalized.
“It’s still shocking to me that Latino actors – and I mean male Latino actors – that still can’t really green light a studio,” Bratt said, adding that he is very grateful of the career he has had as an actor of Latino descent. “It’s not a statement of ingratitude.”
He said it is starting to slowly change, but it will come a time when Latinos can “take our stories mainstream.”