Ismael Cruz Córdova is a Puerto Rican actor who currently plays the role of Arondir in the 2022 series ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.’
The 35-year-old actor was born and raised in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, and a 2003 movie titled ‘Stray Bullet’ was his debut film. After that, Córdova has worked on various projects as a television, film and stage actor.
Him playing the character of Arondir is a big deal because he now happens to be the first Black elf among all of the adaptation of English writer J. R. R. Tolkien’s works that were released so far.
Córdova’s Arondir portrayal has taken his acting career to new heights, however, he has also been experiencing some setbacks that come with it. ‘The Rings of Power’ has been receiving some backlash from racist fans, and according to the actor, some of them are even sending discriminating messages through his DMs.
“‘You cannot be an elf because you’re not a white, period.’ This is verbatim quotes that I’m still receiving in my DMs,” he shared in an interview with Teen Vogue.
“Oh, the DMs, if we’re talking about it… I don’t like to pull the focus to them because I have a lot of things to say, and I’ve had a great career and a life and many achievements that I’d rather spend my time talking to you about, but I guess we have to because in spite of this kind of rhetoric that I’ve faced, I’ve tried to be cast in as many diverse roles as possible to disrupt this very kind of thinking and bigotry. I receive extremely hateful comments and hate speech, harassment, bullying of sorts.”
The actor then opened up about his thoughts on diversity and how it still baffles him that some people don’t want the marginalized community to be seen.
“Things I cannot and will not quote in interviews. DMs, tweets, links, comments across every platform in which I stay very much sipping my tea while I’m reading them. [Laughs.]
‘Cause I pursued this role ferociously because of this very reason. I believe that people of color, Black people, Afro Latinos and so on, people of varying genders, anything, any marginalized community has the right to see themselves and imagine themselves. I always say, if you can see it, you can imagine it. And if you can imagine it, you can create it. And this is pivotal for people’s empowerment and the opposite is disenfranchisement and disempowerment, like the people are disempowered. So, I’ve had to insert myself in these positions of visibility in order to try and help this collective psychology that we… Somehow people don’t want us to be seen. I don’t understand… You know, I don’t understand that. I’ve lived it, I’ve studied it, I’ve went to college and did my minor, I did politics and all these things, and I’ve studied quite a lot of sociology, anthropology, I still don’t understand what exactly it is,” he stated.
While talking about the topic, Córdova got a bit emotional expressing,
“It is healing to see yourself. It’s healing that we’re here. I wanna say that I’m extremely… I’m getting emotional, Stitch (Interviewer).
I wanna say that I’m very proud, very honored, and I feel extremely responsible to be the face of us at the moment in this little corner of what I can achieve and that I don’t take that lightly. I fought for this role and I’ve been fighting for decades now to get to this place for us. I knew that we, you know, as a crowd of faceless people, I might not get to meet all of them, but it has been my drive, us, these moments, these conversations, the private times that people are gonna have watching the show, and just being giddy. I’m so grateful that we stuck around and I’m so grateful that I’m being supported in so many ways and that we’re more and we’re stronger, and you know that… The sample in Beyonce’s song [“Alien Superstar”] that we do things a different way. We love a different way.”
Moreover, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with the first two episodes being released on September 1. Episode 3 is also scheduled to be released on September 9.