EXCLUSIVE: Arrow's Rick Gonzalez on His Role as Wild Dog, How He Uses His Fame for Good & Who Inspires Him

@rickgonzalez/Instagram

Rick Gonzalez is a superhero on and off the screen! The hunky actor, who stars on the CW's hit show Arrow as Wild Dog, understands that with fame comes power and a responsibility to do good. Like many celebrities in Hollywood,  Gonzalez has been involved in raising awareness about the catastrophe in Puerto Rico.

We caught up with the heartthrob, who gave us some insight on how he mentally and physically prepared to play a superhero, his outlook on being a Latino actor, and more.

MORE: Becky G Becomes First Latina Superhero to Be Featured on Film With 'Power Rangers'

On a superpower he would want:

I would want the ability to teleport because I don’t like to fly. If I could just teleport wherever I need to be would be awesome! I could be close to my family whenever I wanted, so that would be great.

On how he physically prepared to be Wild Dog:

I watched previous seasons and in watching the show I saw how important the physicality is to make the characters come to life. All of the cast is in great shape and it really brings a lot of realism to the believability of the characters when you see them doing the stunts and just play their role... So that meant really a lot of preparation getting in the gym and just getting physically in shape to a place that makes the character believable.

On how he mentally prepared to be Wild Dog:

When I was preparing for the character Wild Dog I did all of my research.  This guy is sort of a hot head. Someone you would consider a loner and a rebellious person but also has a military background with experience and knowledgeable in weapons and hand-to-hand combat. He’s confident in his own strength and thinks he can handle things on his own... Preparing to be this character for me meant getting to the grassroots of who he is… Yeah, he’s a bit of hot head but at the core of his heart is a father and that’s the place [the core identity] where I try to get, in any character I play.

On being a Latino Actor in Hollywood:

I haven’t judged the work that I’ve done - I don’t look at it as 'I’m being typecast.' I honestly look at it as an opportunity to work and make a human come to life. I try to get to the heart of who this character is, regardless of what he does or even how bad of a person people might judge him to be. I can’t come from that place. I have to come from who is he at the core and what he’s about. I want to bring the humanity of this character. I don’t look back at my career and say, 'oh man I’ve only played these guys.' No, those are real people that I’ve played so I really try to look from that perspective.

On being a Latino Superhero:

There is a lot of us [Latino Superheroes] that are popping up and I think it’s great! It just makes sense for DC and Marvel to embrace all cultures on this planet because it solidifies the truth of the world they’re creating. I give kudos to CW and Warner Brothers for wanting to bring inclusion and widen the horizon of diversity, because in the real world it’s impossible to walk down the street and only see one race. That’s just not believable. So I think that this is something that we need to start discussing and just embracing that there are people of all walks of life in everything and anything. 

On who he looks up to:

I look up to people like Obama. He represents a beautiful person who cares about others and excels at trying to do the right thing at all times. That’s someone that I can admire, someone that wants to always strive to do the right thing. I respect that so much.  I think that he’s an awesome human being and we were lucky to have him for 8 years.

On using his influence for good:

My approach to this entire catastrophe is continuing to keep the word out. I think it’s very powerful and moving that the media has been real in showing how terrible and dire the situation is in Puerto Rico. That narrative is always good and prevalent in the media. The more everyone continues to talk about it is a way for Puerto Rico to get the aid and relief that it needs. I think we all realize that not enough is being done so this is our way to say, 'we’re not going to allow this to get swept under the rug,' because that’s exactly what we don’t want. For me, it’s important to stay connected to these charities. Getting the word out there and encouraging people to donate whatever they can. As long as we’re all uniting to help, then we’re doing a lot.