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For The Umbrella Academy’s family of dysfunctional superheroes, their stories go much further than saving the world.
For star David Castañeda, who plays the complicated knife-fighting vigilante Diego Hargreeves in the family, he had to figure out his place in the world before he and his siblings Vanya (Ellen Page), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Luther (Tom Hopper) and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) could save it.
“Diego was very much a guy with a chip on his shoulder but was very oblivious of it because he had one way of thinking. And the relationship between every single sibling that Diego had to me was so special,” Castañeda tells The Hollywood Reporter during the latest episode of In Studio.
The actor adds, “[Diego] doesn’t know what else to do. He’s a kid in a man’s body. Diego sees his siblings and they have these amazing powers and they’re not using them for the good, or at least what they got programmed to do by Reginald Hargreeves. Diego doesn’t know anything different. It’s not so much of trying to help you because you need to be helped. It’s ‘I’m going to help you so you see me and give me validation.'”
In the series, the one person Diego is able to open up to is his mother, who is also a robot. Says Castañeda about what their dynamic reveals about his character: “He doesn’t know what love is. He doesn’t know how to interpret it.”
While the role for Castañeda has been a breakout, it’s also one that required weeks of training to master the show’s fight choreography, as well as his character’s powers and knife abilities.
Castañeda has always had an interest in boxing and martial arts at a recreational level. “Six weeks prior to shooting, I started training,” he says. “When I got to Toronto, they set me up with Tommy Chang, the fight coordinator, and throughout the seven months, on my days off, I’d go to the Dojo and fight with Olympians. These 19-year-old men and women — I would get my ass whooped by every single one of them.”
As fans of the series patiently wait for a season-two renewal, Castañeda does have an idea for where he wants to see his character go next, telling THR, “One of the best things about the show is how the characters arc, and it takes its time to see people grow out of the traumas that they have. I’d like to see where Diego goes. He’s able to cope with a lot more things, but now he lost his mom, he lost Patch. He could either go completely insane off of it or he might just be a kid.”
The Umbrella Academy season one is now streaming on Netflix. Next up, fans of Castañeda can see the actor alongside Billy Crystal in the upcoming film Standing Up, Falling Down.
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