LOTR: Rings Of Power Star Opens Up About Enduring Racist Backlash

The actor discusses the psychological toll, hacking attempts, and death threats he faced during filming.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power actor Ismael Cruz Córdova recently discussed the mental health challenges faced by the cast and crew during the shooting of the Amazon Prime Video series. In an interview on the Just for Variety podcast, Córdova revealed that an on-set therapist was available to provide support following the racist backlash against the show's inclusive and diverse casting.

Córdova, who was filming Season 2 in the UK at the time of the interview, expressed gratitude for the therapist's presence. "You need support when this happens because the voices are so loud and they’re coming at you from so many places," Córdova said.

The decision to bring a therapist on board was made when production resumed after the pandemic-induced pause. Córdova's character, Arondir, is the first person of color to portray an elf in the LOTR universe. "[The backlash] hurt," Córdova said. "It had a psychological and mental health impact. That's something that I'm very, very open about so that people understand that what they do and say online really hurts people."

Córdova shared that his phone, PayPal, and bank accounts were all hacked, he received death threats, and his friends also got menacing messages. Despite the challenges, Córdova remained resilient, expressing a positive outlook by stating, "We're still here," accompanied by a smile.

Córdova also shared his determination to secure a role in the show, even convincing the producers to reconsider their decision when he was initially overlooked. The actor explained that growing up surrounded by rejection fueled his drive to pursue the part, knowing its significance in the realm of fantasy and the opportunity to challenge the historical portrayal of elves as "white and Aryan." As a "mountain boy [who grew up in Puerto Rico]," he wanted to be part of a historic shift in representation.

Later in the interview, Córdova mentioned the possibility of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stating that Marvel Studios had contacted him for various projects. Although he narrowly missed the chance to play Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which went to Will Poulter, Córdova expressed his admiration for Poulter's performance and his belief that rejections lead him closer to the role he truly desires. He revealed his dream Marvel project to be Hector Ayala, also known as White Tiger, due to his affinity for characters who rise above adversity.

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