He’s not a household name yet but it won’t be long before that changes. Tuesday, millions will get to see San Diego’s newest rising star shine again on the small screen. David Fernandez, 35, is an antagonist, in season three of FX’s highly rated primetime drama, Justified. We can’t give too much away about his part for contract reasons but tune in. You won’t be disappointed. “My job is to give life to a character, so I spend a lot of time studying my roles and envisioning myself as the person,” says Fernandez. http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/justified/aboutTheShow.php
When the cue in television or independent films comes to Fernandez and it’s time for lights, camera and action, he can become vicious and vulnerable (Sons of Anarchy), manipulating and menacing (Barrio Tales, 2011) or cunning and cruel (Confession of a Gangster, 2010). Fernandez is by any definition new to the Hollywood game of career chess. Fernandez can even drop or use his thick Hispanic accent on cue. “To get into the circle is one of the hardest things to do but it depends on you and your team getting to the next level,” says Fernandez. “Sometimes people don’t capitalize on what they have.” His most recent role as a hit-man in (Sons of Anarchy, 2011) put Fernandez in the game, officially. “It was the biggest blessing but I felt I landed that role at the audition," he says.
So how does a former San Diego educator who spent years helping children learn to embrace their potential become an actor? “I just looked at my life and started thinking about what would make me the happiest and I’d get paid to do it?” From the very beginning of his plan in 2008, Fernandez understood he’d have to pay a price for his transition. To sharpen his acting skills, he took classes at a local college and auditioned constantly, a road some actors cringe at navigating. Why? A lot of people have problems with rejection. “My approach is to focus on giving the best performance at every audition and not so much focus on the outcome. If I put in the work, I’ll get the role I’m supposed to get,” he says.
Separating show and business is a career tightrope Fernandez walks with his personal roadmap of confidence. He knows getting in the circle is the first step, progressing and evolving outside blurred typecast lines takes time and effort. “Sometimes you’re not chosen for a role because you are too short, too tall, your voice is too soft, or your hair isn’t long enough,” says Fernandez. “I don’t take it personally. It’s part of the business.”
He’s working script by script and role by role to take his career to the next level, sharing the big screen with heavy-hitters in the highly anticipated, End of Watch. In the gritty crime drama, Fernandez is an antagonist, which is about all he can share, since the movie is still in production. In addition to his role in the End of Watch (2013), which stars heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal, Fernandez is writing his own film. The untitled feature is about the complexities of fatherhood and rebuilding a fractured father-son bond. “When people are sleeping, I’m working,” says Fernandez.
In between working, auditioning, researching and writing, Fernandez still takes time to pause for a worthy cause, the next generation. Through his San Diego non-profit, Fernandez mentors a group of high achieving children. “I love kids and I love to mentor them about being positive,” says Fernandez. His non-profit treats 60 to 80 students to a summer camp with activities structured building the child’s self-esteem in a safe environment. With a heart for children, a desire to make his dream come true by hard work and sacrifice, Fernandez embodies what it means to act up, the right way.