Film & TV

Bumblebee Star Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is Just Getting Started

Since falling in love with film at age 16, the emerging actor has been on a steady, fruitful grind.
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Photograph by Robin Harper

In order to see where Jorge Lendeborg Jr., of Love, Simon and Spiderman: Homecoming fame, fell in love with acting, you couldn’t go back to his first school play, or to the first time he ever read a script. You’d have to go to the movie theatre. “I love acting, but more than anything else, I love movies, what movies can do in two hours,” Lendeborg says. “I fell in love with movies as soon as I moved to the United States. I came here, I didn’t know English, and I saw a couple cartoons, that helped me. But movies, I don’t know, I would see so many— you know hispanic people, we’d put on Scarface when I was 9 and it’s all good.”

Lendeborg was born in the Dominican Republic and is now based in LA. After setting his sights on film and visual storytelling, he did one high school play before heading off to find an agent at 16, now, at 22-years-old, his career is beginning to come together—fitting, with film being one of his first real cultural gateways to American life. “It taught me so much about America. Scarface taught me, ‘hey, in America, anything is possible,’” he says. The undercurrent pulling all of his favorite films at the time, such as Rocky, are a strong protagonist: someone who wins in spite of the forces working against them.

Self-taught from books on iconic acting teachers, like Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, his work is still largely passion-driven. “Like I said, I love acting, but I love quality work,” he said. “I have to really believe in what I’m doing. I have to believe not only that it’s great for the acting, but there will be a connection on some level.”

Currently, Lendeborg stars in the new Transformers off-shoot, Bumblebee, opposite Hailee Steinfeld. While Bumblee and Spiderman: Homecoming are both of the blockbuster action-hero genre, he knows he has the capacity to take on others. “In Spiderman, even though it was [an action film], I’m very indie-level comedy in my delivery there.”

“I want to get into more character-driven work, more serious material as well,” Lendeborg continues. It’s warranted: his performances are always nuanced and convincing. In his next role, Critical Thinking, directed by John Leguizamo, the actor stars among a band of black and Latino kids who become national chess champions. “Those Scarfaces, and these people, we’re showing them in a different light with this film,” he says, citing the importance of representation in Hollywood. “I am Latino, right? I’m a brown kid, right? I’m a minority. I’m an Afro-Latino kid. Every time I get a job, I’m doing it. I’m here to be successful, and I’m here to work. I know who I am, I know what I look like, and all I really do is make a point to work with the best people that I can.”

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