Namor the Submariner actor Tenoch Huerta couldn’t swim before joining Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
During an interview with Life and Style (translated by Gizmodo), the 41-year-old actor revealed that he didn’t know how to swim before he landed the role of Namor in Blck Panther: Wakanda Forever. It's a skill he might just need as the leader of Atlantis.
“They asked me if I knew how to swim,” he said. “I replied that I had never drowned and went back to my managers.” The thing is, Huerta had no idea how to swim – but he wasn’t telling Marvel that. “Of course, I didn't say anything then, because they weren't going to give me the role. We had to explain to them through my lawyer in the United States that this is how we Mexicans are. We never say no.”
Eventually, Huerta arrived in Atlanta ready to film without water wings – a course of swimming lessons later, and Namor the Submariner was here. I seems Marvel was willing to work with Huerta on a lot more than just his swimming:
“In the film, there is a Mesoamerican inspiration, based on the research of a team made up of people from different professional fields,” explained Huerta. “They consider you a collaborator and have always been very open to my comments and proposals to improve the character. I can say that they listened to 90 percent of my notes and proposals, in addition to the fact that from the beginning I made it clear to them what my convictions and my struggles were off the screen.”
Huerta is currently penning a book about racism at the center of the Mexican film industry. Although he’s been lucky enough to find meaty roles himself, he also feels he should use his position to enact change – a revolutionary when it comes to dark-skinned Mexicans in cinema.
“In the comics, Namor is anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist,” he said, referring to Namor as a progressive revolutionary. In many ways, Huerta and the MCU’s Namor sound very alike… just not when it comes to swimming.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.