When an injury ended his dreams of playing soccer on a professional level, Cristo Fernández decided to tackle his other dreams: filmmaking and acting. Little did he know that the perfect opportunity would come along in which he could combine all his talents -- portraying Ted Lasso fan favorite Dani Rojas. "I never imagined when I dreamed of being a soccer player that it would come back to me in this way, but I was always open thanks to my friends and family who pushed me to study and find something else," he says in this edition of Multicultural TV Talk. "I learned discipline and hard work from the sport, being an athlete, and using it in my new dreams as an actor and filmmaker. Now here I am doing the two things I love the most in my life."
Cristo reveals that his good-spirited, soccer-fanatic character was initially written to be Icelandic, but the role was then changed when he was cast and much of his own story was incorporated into the character as he developed throughout the seasons. "Dani being such a positive guy in season one, no one can stay that positive all that time," he says. "Otherwise, you’re a cartoon. He goes through some dark times and recovers from it, taking care of his mental health. He’s still a positive dude and brings good vibes to the team, but feels more real.
"After working on Ted Lasso, I realized the importance of mental health," he adds. "You need to be good in your head in order to be good in your everyday life. As a young man back in my day when I was playing [football], I wish I had taken more time and care of my mental health. I love the line 'be curious, not judgemental,' so I’ve learned to be more empathetic.
All three seasons of Ted Lasso are available on Apple TV+.
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