LRM: Benjamin's Character Che, is what Lowriders consider the Veterano who grew up in the neighborhood or Barrio. I believe you picked up the true essence of this character very well. I know you elaborated in a few interviews, on who this tough guy really was, but what I really appreciate is the way you caught it. It was the real deal, it was the whole package...he was a tough guy, but at the same time he matured as a human being at the end of the movie. It was a good feeling to see this on the big screen instead of the negative stereotype.
Benjamin Bratt: I am so glad you got that complexity. As you already mentioned, what we know of in terms of Hollywood fare, when it has any kind of story that's Latino centric, it is typically done stereo typical or in one dimensional form. It doesn't really capture the sophistication and complexity of what really exists within our communities. Of course we understand our communities are different from place to place, and yet, always at the center of them is what unifies us all is the heart that exists. The passion for life, the pride and the culture. So that was an important part of and aspect for Peter and I to capture that essence by creating a character like Che, my brother created someone recognizable in that he is brown to the bone, he is puro macho, and on some level, rigid and immoveable, but at the same time, he's got heart. He's got most obviously, love for his community, his culture, and of course for his boy. As that regards to the Lowrider culture, he's a veteran to the core, it was important to us as we learned, in researching for the film, that Lowrider culture in general gets a bad rap in being gang affiliated. We discovered by not only talking to the real life Che, but other Lowrider Car Clubs in the Bay area that this very much has evolved into a family affair. First of all, the Lowrider phenomenon emerged out of the Mexican-American experience in the 1940's. It was almost a political counterpoint of what wealthy white boys were doing with jacking up their cars and going fast. Dropping it low and going slow was the opposite counterpoint to that. Now Lowriding is seen as an original American art form and you now have a Lowrider on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum. So we wanted to capture that aspect of the beauty, the cultural pride, and the fellow ship that really evolved out of the Lowrider culture now a days.
LRM: I believe you got it and I am glad to see the awareness of this motorsport stem from tradition, culture, and art. It is now more evident as Lowrider Art Shows are being produced at the Mesa and Phoenix Art Museums. America is finally recognizing this as true art. The public has seen firsthand Lowrider art going from the back streets to the Main Streets. Now that you have introduced the Lowrider culture in a different or positive light, do you feel we will better be accepted throughout America?
Peter Bratt: I think that perception is changing. Again, we grew up with a lot of guys who were Lowriders, who eventfully became veteranos, but I didn't take my first Lowrider ride till I was in my early Thirties. Like the real life Che, I've known him since we were kids. Even though he's had his difficulties and struggles, what I've always admired about him most was his dignity that he gives to the Lowrider culture.
LRM: As a Lowrider myself, I saw the small details that you inserted in the movie like the ceremonial ironing of the cruising apparel, the Brim and shoes. In the garage, the posters, old magazines, even hopping sticks and of course the car club plaque being flown on the ride ready for the Boulevard. Were these small details from your memories?